Category Archives: Guitarist

Guitar players only, the exclusive club of instrumentalists

Carl Verheyen: Essential Blues

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Another brand new CD for all guitarists comes from Carl Verheyen. It’s called “Essential Blues” and is obviously a Blues album.

Blues is especially for us guitar players a genre which we like to listen to and also include in our playing. I think the guitar is the blues instrument par excellence.

Carl Verheyen plays what I would call intelligent blues, like Robben Ford or Eric Clapton do. Carl is one of the big names in the LA studio scene, he is member of the rock group “Supertramp” since 1985 and he has basically played everything possible (TV shows, movies, recording and performing with rock and pop superstars in the last 30 years).

But he has this love with the blues and this album is like a kaleidoscope of contemporary blues. We find songs from Peter Green, Alvin Lee, Ray Charles, Willie Cobbs and also originals from Carl Verheyen plus one traditional, all arranged differently in style and sound.

There are songs very straight played like “I Take What I Want”  or “Stealing Gasoline”, some blues-rock in “Oh Well” or slow blues tunes like “Someday After A While”.

“Dodging The Blues” is a slow moll instrumental blues composed by Carl with an amazing guitar sound (reminds me a little bit of Pink Floyd).

My favorite song of the album is the Alvin Lee tune “I May Be Wrong” played with very jazzy intro.

The album closes with the Ray Charles song “Hard Times” with just guitar, bass, tambourine and vocals, also very beautiful.

The album was recorded live in three days in February 2017 and according to Carl, the “self inflicted parameters were: I would play just 2 guitars, 2 amps, do no overdubs and everything must be played and sung live in the room with bass, drums and keyboards. “. The result of these three days is a great spontaneous album, very compact but also very precise. A perfect example that it is all about the music itself, or as Carl said: I abandoned all the self doubt and just “went for it.”

Carl plays typically a Fender Stratocaster (this guitar is also the star on the CD cover) which has this sometimes a little bit thin but very distinctive sound.

As said, this is blues guitar album, it shows the different styles of blues that exist today all played in perfection. Obviously Carl Verheyen gets a chance to play great guitar solos but also Jim Cox on keyboards (piano and organ) shines as a soloist. This album gets a clear recommendation from me.

The other good news is that he will be in Europe in October and November this year, he visits Poland, Germany and the Netherlands. Details can be found on Carl’s website:

https://www.carlverheyen.com/tour-dates/

Carl also produced a nice video during the recording of the album:

CD of the Month: The Ed Bickert Trio – Out of the Past

The CD of the month (which means it’s the CD that is running all the time in my car) is at the moment from Canadian guitar player Ed Bickert. Pretty unknown to me until I accidentally stumbled over a video of him on Youtube.  I found the following  video when I looked for Jazz guitarists playing a Telecaster.

I thought this is real cool stuff and so I started to listen and to read about Ed Bickert. His style and approach to play is quite unique but very melodious and harmonic and I think there is never any wrong or strange note in his playing.

I found the album “Out of the Past” and since several weeks this music is my inspiration and companion. The CD has never dropped out of the CD player in my car. The sound of the guitar is soft and mellow but the harmonic ideas are immense. The album was originally released in 1976 (at a time where e.g. Pat Martino released his album Joyous Lake, an album that really captures the spirit of that period) and it feels like it is fallen from a total different era into the 70′s.

The music is cool and relaxed, very soft and full of harmony, but the band has a grip, you just don’t feel it right away.  Bassist Don Thompson and drummer Terry Clarke are like a perfect match for Ed and it feels like they know each other very well. I’ve read that “this group had worked together extensively backing visiting American jazz soloists in Toronto clubs”.

Personal favorites of the CD are
- Soft Winds: With a great 4×4 part with guitar and drums
- Deep in a Dream: A great and beautiful ballad
- Skating in Central Park: Another perfect ballad

If you like the CD and Ed’s style of playing then please look around on the internet. Even if he never became famous like Pat Martino or Jim Hall, he has a great and loyal fan base especially in Canada where he is really admired, and he found another fan in Switzerland.