September 11, 2009

Roger FilgateFilgate was a member of Wishbone Ash during the mid and late ’90s, and more recently recorded and performed with Chubby Checker. This album features a dozen tracks of instrumental guitar-o-licious goodness, enhanced by Filgate’s impressive array of vintage axes and amps. This isn’t groundbreaking music by any means, and stylistically the album dishes up a smorgasbord rather than concentrating on a particular cuisine—but Filgate’s superb playing and seemingly limitless supply of classic tones make each song a truly tasty treat. In the liner notes, Filgate says his biggest influence was Steve Howe, which makes sense given his multifaceted approach. For example, there’s the SRV-tinged “The Bulldog Blues” that veers off into prog-like orchestral bombast midway; the genuinely prog “Flight” with its Mellotrons, 13/8 time signature, and Howe-like echoed lap-steel; the pretty solo acoustic steel-string “Wrapped in Bronze” and semi-classical nylon-string “Roraima”; the borderline smooth jazz “Cruise Control”; the Beck-ish “Dissonance”; the countrified “Telekinesis”; and the Nugent-meets-AC/DC “Dance of the Poltergeist.” Besides the exemplary guitar playing, what saves this collection from simply being an insufferable hodgepodge is the way in which Filgate constantly mixes things up and keeps you guessing. You can tell that he had more fun than a kid in a candy factory making this record, and that enthusiasm and joyousness are effectively conveyed to the listener. EraSend.

—Barry Cleveland

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