The guitar pioneer and Mr. Big co-founder PAUL GILBERT will release his fifteenth solo studio album titled “Behold Electric Guitar” on May 17th via Mascot Label Group/Music Theories Recordings.
Gilbert was voted fourth-best Greatest Guitar Shredder of All Time in GuitarOne magazine’s top ten.
For the new album, Gilbert is associated with Joe Satriani’s illustrious producer and engineer, John Cuniberti. Seated alongside him in the studio were Brian Foxworth (drums) and Asher Fulero (keyboards). New Orleans bass legend, Roland Guerin has also came on board for the recording project. The album was not completed without unexpected drama.
After laying down sensational grooves on three songs, drummer Brian Foxworth collapsed from exhaustion in the studio. The paramedics were called, fortunately, Brian finally recovered completely. But the music could not wait, so drummers Reinhardt Melz (from Portland) and Bill Ray (from Seattle) were hastily recruited to complete the job.
Paul’s invention of the “Slide Magnet” mod for guitar, has enabled radical, red-hot sounds. “I had my repair guy in Portland install a super strong magnet in the lower horn of my guitar...” he explains. “The magnet holds a chromed steel slide in place, so I can grab the slide and put it back at lightning speed. That way I can use the slide when I need it, and get back to my regular playing in a split second...”
“It’s fantastic to be able to use this new part of my “voice” while I’m playing live.”
We had a listen:
The progressive & perhaps Dream Theater-ish jam “Havin’ It” has beamy vibrato, muscular back-boning and jazzy formulations… this is like jamming-out the truth; with sparkling technical complexity and a very groovy bass.
“I Own A Building” arrives like a murderous fighting shark, but becomes as friendly as a syrup kitten. That’s when the elongated, butterfat and coffee-creme notes delight the most, in a displayed unfurling. Each silvered note is articulated as if uttered by a singer (Paul transforms lyrics into guitar melodies — hence the curious song-titles.) On this number the effect of this unique compositional style gives the guitar a coloratura contralto voice of its own.
The über-expressive “Sir You Need To Calm Down” might sound like an instruction given by a high-school pupil, and possesses a freaky bop jazziness to begin with. But the agreeable Steve Miller-esque hook will soon attract the listener into the song. The vibe’s not mind-expanding on this one, though it’s not less technical than other songs, it just feels slightly more contented.
The simply keyed riff on “Let That Battery Die” settles the nerves before each note of expressive guitar juicily explores, perhaps, the symmetry between viability and expiration.
There are fabulous rhythms in “Blues For Rabbit” and some sparkling guitar-play. And there’s punch and vigor in “I Love My Lawnmower” [words never used by any man, any Saturday, ever, proving that rhythmic syncopation is more valuable than perception… ) This is fluent and fun.
Funkish & whimsical “A Herd of Turtles” is a splash of scattered sands with a crash of waves. You will love the poetry (recited by Paul in Liverpudlian accent) if you are a Graeme Edge fan.
For virtuous guitar-solos par excellence this is enormously enjoyable. And the magic — some of it jazzy — is not disconcerting nor impenetrable. In fact, the songs here are hospitable, accessible and downright fun.
Words: @neilmach 2019 ©