In taking a stylistic turn
by releasing an album of
instrumental songs, Landreth
lets his guitar playing
be a substitute for the
rich lyrical content that has been a hallmark
of his previous albums—ten if you’re counting.
Taking a cue from the jazz world, Landreth
embarks on a venture that takes his music into
the more abstract domain, where it’s left to the
melody and harmony to convey the mood, emotion, and vibe. As always, the centerpiece
is Landreth’s mind-boggling slide playing, but some unexpected twists await—
such as the steel drums that infuse “Forgotten Story” (played by Robert Greenridge)
and the string parts (played by members of Lafayette, Louisiana’s Acadiana Symphony
Orchestra), that add interesting texture to several of the tunes. Fundamentally, however,
Elemental Journey is an amazing guitar record that wows your senses at every turn.
From the opening track, “Gaia Tribe,” in which Landreth takes a brief respite to let Joe
Satriani unleash a scorching solo to the high-velocity “Reckless Beauty” to the pairing
of Landreth and Eric Johnson for some inspired and toneful interplay on “Passionola,”
this is a thoroughly captivating album and a testament to the enduring power of
instrumental guitar music. Landfall.
Farther On Up the Road: The Chrysalis Years 1977-1983
This three-CD set presents the six albums that Trower made as he
transitioned away from the more Hendrixy sound that his successful
solo career had been based on to the funkier and more R&B flavored
tunes first heard on the 1977 release, In City Dreams. This is
followed by Caravan to Midnight from 1978 and Victims of the Fury
from 1979, the latter signaling Trower’s decision to call an end to the R&B experiment
and veer back toward his original sound (also featured here is a rare B-side tune called
“One in a Million”). From this point, the Trower saga takes another dramatic turn as
Jack Bruce steps in on bass and vocals for the albums B.L.T. and Truce (from 1981 and
1982 respectively), with the second release standing out as quite a showcase for Bruce’s
songwriting. Completing the circle is the somewhat overlooked Back It Up from 1983—
Trower’s final release on Chrysalis, and a kickass album that harks to some of Trower’s
best early moments and features James Dewar on bass and vocals. EMI.
All the Years Combine: The DVD Collection
For the hardest of hardcore Deadheads comes this 14 DVD collection
that includes 12 concert films, all the “bonus” footage
from the previous live DVDs, and another bonus disc that contains
five previously unreleased performances, the 1992 documentary
Backstage Pass, and a new interview with Dead archivist
David Lemieux. You also get a 40-page booklet featuring rare photos and liner notes
by Blair Jackson. It goes without saying that you need to be clinically close to the Dead
to fully appreciate the 38 hours of footage presented here, but for those who meet the
criteria, there’s simply nothing like it. Shout! Factory.
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