Jim Weider

August 19, 2005

While prog rock and neo-Baroque shred are still highly abundant these days, quality straight-ahead instrumental rock seems to be in shorter supply. With Percolator, though, Jim Weider—the Telecaster devotee and sideman par excellence—seems on a mission to breath new life into the genre pioneered by Jeff Beck and other singer-less rockers. Sure, there are welcome traces of outside musical styles on Weider’s new disc—a sprig of fusion here, a snippet of hip-hop there, a mandatory funk breakdown over yonder—but the fat-crackin’ snare drum, all-engulfing B-3 swells, warm glow-bottle guitar tones, compelling riffs, and other timeless elements of straight-up rock refuse to be diluted by any eclecticisms from the outside. The compositions are rich, layered, and complex, and the mix is superb. Weider, who is perhaps best known for being Robbie Robertson’s replacement in the re-launch of the Band, never succumbs to the temptation every instrumental rocker faces—the near-irresistible urge to weigh songs down with indulgent overdubbing. Sure, a couple of vamps drift dangerously close to the soothing, but fully un-rocking territory we call smooth jazz (let’s face it—a rock record can only be so edgy without a singer up front spittin’ from the gut) but, in general, this disc kicks. You’ll be proud to bump Percolator (which features guest virtuosos such as Sid McGinnis, John Medeski, Rodney Holmes, and Tony Levin) through your favorite pair of woofers. jimweider.com.

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