Editor Boy’s Big Eight(3)

October 25, 2007

Vinny Roth
Fairfax, Virginia
“Ivory Coast”

Roth wins the award for “Most Comments Posted Requesting A Listen,” so I expected something as frenetic and relentless as his career drive. However, I was surprised and captivated by this tranquil and pretty tune. His acoustic and electric tones are pristine and clear—all the better for showcasing his beautiful melodies.

Jimmy Fleming
Bainbridge, Ohio
“Black Widow”

This is a slow burn with some cagey wah work, slinky bends, and economical licks. Everything adds up to a smoky atmosphere that still manages to pulse—albeit like a racehorse on opium. I totally dug the juxtaposition of a dreamy, jammy groove with Fleming’s edgy Paul Kossoff-meets-Link Wray style.

John Martorelli
Chester, Connecticut
“Lucky Stars”

Martorelli reminds me of those bluesy ’70s opening acts that never made it big, but were still good enough to get record deals. His voice is warm and soothing (although a tad pitchy), his licks are sweet (although some bends aren’t nailed), and his songwriting is melodic and clever.

Jared Daigle
Port Allen, Louisiana
“The Instrumental”

Nice misdirection having a cast-off title for a truly exciting, driving, and adventuresome track. Daigle’s tone is meaty and articulate, and his licks are twitchy, spastic, and extremely seductive. He’s also no slouch at conventional soloing, and his arrangement sense is awesome. This sucker moves through several moods and keeps punching.

Chris Mahoney Project
Poughkeepsie, New York

Mahoney has a soaring tone and a wonderful sense of melody. Yet, despite a few electronica-inspired breaks, there’s not much distinctive here—it’s simply good playing. But there are enough wisps of weirdness to suggest Mahoney may come up with something astounding, so keep an ear or two on this guy.

The Red Hotz
Seattle, Washington
“See You”

Vocalist Suze Sims and guitarist Teri Anne Wilson usually mine the trad blues-rock style that ain’t my thing, but something happened on this wistful, Melissa Etheridge-esque track. Sims’ blues bellows turn plaintive, expressive, and honest, and while Wilson doesn’t take a solo, her evocative rhythm work is sublime. Quite a journey!

Adam Grande
Prairie, Alberta
“Bonzai Kitten”

It’s sometimes daunting to assess shredders, as many players uncork similar riffs and tricks. Adam kind of falls midway between conformity and uniqueness, as his varied disciplines (rock, jazz, pop, and country) add some spice to his technically audacious burning. He also has a humorous side, which keeps things interesting.

Fredrik Pihl
“Fret Circus”

This “circus” must be populated by 1,000 tiny cars zipping around ringside, smacking into each other at dizzying speeds, and vomiting hundreds of clowns into the audience with each collision. Yes, this track is that bizarre. Pihl’s masterful technique is as scary as his wacky compositional chops. He frightens me.

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