Featuring 6 GRAMMY winning guitarists, and former Rock stars (Greg Hawkes from The
CARS and Laurence Juber from Paul McCartney and WINGS) plus legendary players
from around the world , Tommy Emmanuel and Nick Charles from Australia , Eltjo
Haselhoff from the Netherlands and International Guitar Champion Doug Smith!
Various Artists, "This Guitar's in Love with You," Solid Air Records 2014
This latest addition to Solid Air Records' composer-themed guitar anthologies is one of the strongest in the series.
The contributing artists exhibit strong empathy with the music of Burt Bacharach, no doubt due to their exposure to
his and lyricist Hal David's hits when they saturated the radio in the 1960s and Seventies. The disc begins with
"Casino Royale" by Mark Hanson and Doug Smith, first popularized by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. Wayne Johnson
follows with a bossa nova take on "The Look of Love", played on nylon string and double-tracked, with light percussion
added. Johnson phrases the melody beautifully and adds some nice improvised lines. David Cullen plays "Do You Know
The Way to San Jose?" on nylon string as well, recalling Dionne Warwick's recording, adding a number of guitaristic
elements, such as artificial harmonics. Tommy Emmanuel's "(They Long to Be) Close to You" is a natural highlight,
incorporating effective dissonances and a nod to stride piano, while still evoking The Carpenter's iconic
performance. "(There's) Always Something There to Remind Me" receives a beautiful Mexican-influenced interpretation
by Mike Dowling. Laurence Juber's two numbers, "Alfie" and "This Guy's In Love With You" are masterful. His jazzy
DADGAD chord voicings grace "Alfie", while "This Guy'" retains the romantic feel of Herb Alpert's blockbuster 1969
hit, yet at the same time unmistakably LJ. Other artists include uke master Greg Hawkes, Al Petteway, Eltjo Haselhoff,
Nick Charles, Arlen Roth, and solos by Mark Hanson and Doug Smith, each adding variety and quality to the album.
Hanson and Smith team up again to close the disc with a reprise of "What the World Needs Now Is Love", played with
exceptional skill and taste. This disc deserves the same level of critical attention received earlier by Solid Air's
Pink Guitar tribute to Henry Mancini (which won a Grammy) and will surely be loved by guitarists and nonmusicians
With a catalog that boasts such top-drawer acoustic pickers as
Laurence Juber, Tommy Emmanuel, Ed Gerhard, and Pat Donahue, Solid Air
hit on a format of having a dozen or so guitarists contributing tracks
to a central theme. These have included the music of Leiber and Stoller,
Cole Porter, Elvis, and Henry Mancini, which won a Grammy. It might
smack of gimmickry if the quality weren't so high and the individual arrangements so interesting.
By Frank Kocher, February 2015
Solid Air Records has been recording music by a
collection of talented acoustic guitarists, with discs by nationally
known artists as well as theme projects like music by Elvis, Cole
Porter, and Leiber and Stoller, played by a group that includes local
aces Jim Earp and Wayne Johnson. This Guitar's In Love With You is the latest, a generous 16-track offering that focuses on tasty
arrangements of Burt Bacharach standards, finger-picked on wooden
Johnson plays The Look of Love on nylon strings, with a light,
lyrical jazz approach that feels perfect for one of Bacharach's
best-ever compositions. Earp's song is Raindrops Keep Falling on My
Head? and it has the vibe of the slack-key tuning style heard on his Aloha Guitar CD, maintaining a steady bass line, chords, and melody simultaneously.
Other highlights on the disc include a rousing, picked rendition of Promises Promises by Doug Smith, and former Cars keyboardist Greg
Hawkes on ukulele playing What's New Pussycat?
Other artists on hand also include Laurence Juber, who plays both Alfie and This Guy's in Love with You, Arlen Roth Wishin' and
Hopin' , Australia's Nick Charles I Say a Little Prayer, and Tommy
Emmanuel They Long to Be) Close to You. Throughout, the technical
proficiency is off the charts, and since the music is all the same
well-known pop, the music here plays like the work on one artist (who
would likely be the world's best finger-picking guitarist). For lovers
of guitar, it is a can't-miss.
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