July 1, 2007
The off-the-hook versatility that many A-list session players bring to their own recordings can occasionally get in the way of a unified artistic vision. For all the flash and phenomenal chops, it’s sometimes too easy to get lost between the intermingled rock, fusion, bop, folk, and blues excursions. On his new release, Take One Step, Carl Verheyen masterfully avoids those pitfalls. Sure, there’s flash and phenomenal chops aplenty, but Verheyen’s touch, style, and tone cement the tunes together, from the ethereal cascading harmonics and nouveau-Celtic swing of the opener “Georgia’s Reel” to the lithe, succulent signature riff of the blues-rock instrumental “In the Stream.” Both as a soloist and a tone crafter, Verheyen is a joy to behold on this outing, and the lyrical themes of many of the vocal tunes give the set an added depth beyond the sheer virtuosity of the playing. Thoroughly uplifting stuff.