eric gillette copyEric Gillette's self-produced debut is anything but an afterthought, despite the album's name....

Eric Gillette
12 tracks / 75:48

Are you taking notes, guitar people? The artist's name is Eric Gillette – you can add his name to your list of guitar heroes. While you're at it, pick up Afterthought, Gillette's fine debut release. Lest you think Gillette is just a fancy guitar-slinger, he also performs the bass, drums and keyboards on Afterthought, as well as having written all of the songs. Four of the twelve tracks include vocals, also performed by Gillette, whose voice is appealing, flexible, and has a wide range that can handle the dramatic highs and lows of prog as well as gentle ballads like "Above the Sky," which closes the album.

Although most of the playing can be credited to Gillette, a few of his friends from the Neal Morse band show up. The extraordinary Adson Sodré (another name for your list) adds a guitar solo on "You're Full of It," Randy George plays bass on the 22 minute epic "Lost," and Bill Hubauer does the synth solo on "Rising." Throughout the album there are great instrumental work-outs and impressive musical twists and turns (like the stunning piano/bass run on "Out of Control") but Afterthought has many fine melodic elements and isn't just about jamming.

Currently, Gillette is multitasking as part of Neal Morse's new band, using his keyboard, guitar, and vocal skills to help realize Morse's complex prog masterpieces on stage. Gillette's music on Afterthought certainly shows some Morse influence (Gillette's vocal phrasing on the "Lead You There" section of "Lost"), and also shares some sonic similarities with the classic pop/prog/jazz group, Focus - but with a harder, heavier foundation. The title track and "Rising" certainly show some heavy metal in Gillette's arsenal, but his music never stays too basic for too long before more sophisticated themes join in the game. The playing is always top-notch. The weakness common to many projects like this is the difficulty in establishing memorable hooks and melodic structures to give particular instrumental tracks an identity, and Gillette generally avoids that but occasionally falls victim to that trend – a minor gripe.

Proving he can pretty much do it all, Eric Gillette's Afterthought is obviously much more than the title would imply – it's a well thought-out, well executed introduction to an artist that can walk in any of several musical directions from here. Gillette shows enough chops to become a guitar-hero, enough commercial viability to go more mainstream, the power to go into a harder, heavier arena sound, and the writing and playing ability to go deeper into prog territory.

Personally? I think I see a new progster in town. You can check it out yourself at iTunes, Amazon, and CD Baby.

Bert Saraco


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