Shadow of My Former Self
Just when you thought it was safe to lay down the tennis racket and step away from the mirror some idiot comes along and writes new guitar instrumentals. Hello. I've played in several bands over the years which have featured rock, blues, country and close harmony vocal music. In many respects the songs on this album reflect that. My first love was the music of The Shadows - an English instrumental group from the 50's. My passion for the melody, energy, emotion and humour that their music embraced is still with me. Other artists who have influenced me greatly are Elvis Presley, Mark Knopfler, Albert Lee and John Farrar to name but a few. All the songs on the album are original - there are no covers. They are heavily melodic with arrangements that have a few twists, turns and surprises. Within them can be heard the rock, blues and country influences that are now a permanent part of my musical mindset. I sincerely hope you enjoy it. Review: The opening track ( Who's Stolen My Steam Shovel?') is a mid-pacer with some intriguing twists and turns in the melody which keep the listener interested. 'Chillin', on the other hand, is a dreamy number with a guitar sound which in places is reminscent of Rhet Stoller's Ember Lane album. The jaunty 'I Want To Tell You I Love You' is another change of pace and mood, melodically interesting with little quirky touches in the backing. The variety continues with an acoustic track - the title seems quite enigmatic until you think of a track on the Shadows' Jigsaw album. As before, the playing is first rate. The CD title track is a clear homage to one of Malcolm's musical influences, but it is not derivative in any way. Malcolm has a knack of turning out fine melodic numbers and this is no exception. The first few bars suggest that Emmas Dream is another slow moody piece, but the tempo suddenly picks and we're away at a reasonable pace on another melodically interesting piece which has a solo Hank or 80's Shadows feel in places. Just when you think you have it sussed, Malcolm throws in another little phrase or change of guitar tone to keep you alert. 'Rake Up. Hoe Down ' on the other hand is exactly what you'd expect , a country romp with some mighty fine pickin' which sets up the next track, the dramatic 'Horseshoe Bend'. The penultimate number delivers, being a pseudo-classical extravaganza. Loved it, and Malcolm's playing is shown off to good effect here. The album closes with another mid-paced composition which again shows the influence of The Shadows, but it's still very much his own work. A fine self-produced album. Only rarely do the drum sounds slightly artificial but, given the strength of the melodies and the excellent playing, that really is nit-picking. Ten varied original compositions, well played with good strong arrangements, make this an excellent and highly listenable addition to the home-grown CD's around. Don't miss it! George Geddes for Pipeline Magazine.