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Slow down as you approach the gate, and have your change ready....
Artist: California Guitar Trio
Label: Inside Out Records
The California Guitar Trio is made up of Bert Lams, Hideyo Moriya, and Paul Richards. Produced by Tony Levin (King Crimson, Peter Gabriel), and consisting of more original tunes than previous releases, Whitewater showcases the musical ability of the three artists – no vocals, no drums, nothing but three guitars (other than Levin’s fretless bass on “Mee-Woo”).
On instrumental albums, one generally expects the players to stretch, to try new things, and to impress the listener with their ability. Whitewater takes a different approach, in that the songs here are more like instrumental soundtracks, designed to portray a scene, rather than just jams for their own sake. In fact, my office-mate at one point commented, “I feel like I’m in my doctor’s office”.
“Led Foot” contains some acoustic shredding (not as oxymoronic as it may sound), and pays tribute to the group Led Zeppelin, as it indicated by its title. “Prelude Circulation BWV 988” is adapted from a Bach lute piece.
The standout is the album’s closing piece, “Ghost Riders on the Storm”, which seamlessly merges the Johnny Cash standard “Ghost Riders in the Sky” with The Doors’ “Riders on the Storm”. At first glance, it seems like an unlikely combination, but Lams, Moriya, and Richards marry the two songs in such a way that take the idea from being a punchline to a work of art.
Brian A. Smith