Paul Gilbert is
simply something else. Unlike it's predecessor, this latest offering is an
almost entirely instrumental album, the only exception being the title track at
the end of the album. Taking a step in a different direction, this album has got
a lot of covers. From Elton John to James Brown to K.D Lang. The all important
phrasing is exemplified so well here, because where there would normally be
vocals Paul replaces words with notes that hit band on where they are on the
originals. I can think of no finer example of this than 'Goodbye Yellow Brick
Road', and I would LOVE to see him go on stage with Elton John and add his own
shredding contribution between verses.
There are two reasons musicians stay revered within their field. One is because
of what they have accomplished regardless as to whether or not they manage
retain their talent, and many do not. The other is because they have achieved a
lot and are still just as good now as they were then. There are countless
examples of the former, but the latter is unfortunately rarer to come across.
Paul Gilbert, as any thinking person will know, falls into the second category.
Though well known for his speed, Pauls strength is his phrasing - making the
lead guitar sit so perfectly over the music no matter what technique he is
using. It is a naive, ignorant person that considers Paul a master simply
because of his speed. There's so much more to his playing and this album is a
great example of that. It's not all about how fast you can alternate pick a
string skipping arpeggio - not that any of his albums are.
The opening track, one of Pauls own, is appropriately entitled 'Working For The
Weekend' and it has a classic montage feel to it. From the catchy riff to the
simple addition of Paul shouting 'Hey!', this sounds like it could be the
soundtrack to the build up for a race or something a fighter pilot would have on
instead of mission control.
To sum up, on this album Paul demonstrates that in paying homage to some of his
favourite singers, he has an ability to mix his own style with that of the
artist he is covering in fresh, interesting ways that stay true to his own form
as well as that of the original songs. This is how all covers should be - stay
true to the original but be original and distinctive yourself. Like Testament
did when they covered Iron Maidens 'Powerslave'.
This is a thoroughly enjoyable album. I look forward to him touring it. Find out
Also, Mr Big are touring Europe this Autumn. It may be the last to feature Pat
Torpey following his unfortunate diagnosis of Parkinsons disease. Go see it.