I hope no one pinches me and wakes me up, for I surely must be dreaming. After having been a big music fan of the 60s and 70s, the mainstream and I lost touch with one another beginning with disco and on through the 80s, 90s, and hundreds. During those years, I pretty much lived on a steady diet of offshore blues/rock and rock bands and an occasional US indy artist or two. While I am in awe of the great talent as displayed by all the current crop of pre-Gillette Foamy using guitar phenoms, their lack of experience leaves their music a bit too shallow for my personal taste, but also gives me great hope for the future. Recently, however, I have been noticing more and more new bands arriving on the scene armed with a new brand of music which seems to have bridged the gap between what was, and what is to come.
I noticed this first with the California based band Stone and most recently with the tremendous recording from New York’s Jesse Evans and the Crash. I hope that this current invasion of bands such as this will revolutionize mainstream rock music, as did the legendary one from the UK in the early 60s.
My latest find in this genre (which I simply categorize as “American Rock”) comes by way of California artist Alastair Greene and his debut release “A Little Wiser”. While this recording is predominantly rock, it contains considerable blues and classic rock flavorings, though I would be doing the recording a disservice to call it exclusively a blues/rock CD. It is a most enjoyable recording which covers a lot of musical territory and styles. Greene is a multi faceted guitarist, solid vocalist, and exceptional song writer. Within the body of this work, you will find elements of blues, blues/rock, southern rock, alternative, and it includes impressive work both with and without amplifiers. Greene’s guitar work is ferociously aggressive, distorted, and wah-wah loaded at times but gentle as the new fallen snow at others. Greene is primarily and solidly supported on the recording by Jack Kennedy on bass and Tom Lackner on drums, who are just about as good a rhythm section as you will hope to hear.
The set opens with a very Walter Trout like rendition of Muddy Waters’ “Ramblin’ Mind”, followed by a smoldering and hard rocking Greene original “Get My Wings”. The title track is next, and gives the listener some idea of the diversity of talent that Mr. Greene possesses, as the song opens with a simple acoustic guitar, which gives way quickly to a very evil sounding, Jeff Healey like electric slide, with the entire song having a bit of Black Crow flavoring to it. More variety of style follows, with an almost Leo Kottke type of acoustic instrumental “Chico”. One of my two favorite tracks on the set, “Other Side of the World” is next, which initially sounds like a Southern rock anthem, but gives way later to Greene’s powerful distortion rich guitar. This one has spent a lot of time in my player, along with my favorite track Greene’s almost bluegrass arrangement of “The Long Way Home”, which oddly enough is an acoustic song which features Alastair Greene on acoustic guitar, National Steel, banjo, mandolin, bass, and drums. In a recording so rich with powerful electric guitar, I would have never guessed that my personal favorite would be a song like this but it is truly outstanding. Besides, there are plenty of other tunes, in particular Greene’s cover of Albert King’s “Love Too Strong, loaded with nuclear guitar just for you fret freaks.
The CD is available from the Alastair Greene web site at www.agsongs.com. If you like guitar driven classic rock, blues/rock, or just plain excellent rock music in general, you are going to want a copy of this one. This comes with my patented “you really ought to buy this one even if you own more CDs than your wife likes now” seal of approval.

The Band:
Alastair Greene – variety of guitars, mandolin, banjo, bass, drums, vocals
Tom Lackner – drums
Jack Kennedy – bass

Tracks:
1. Ramblin’ Mind
2. Get My Wings
3. A Little Wiser
4. Chico
5. Other Side Of The World
6. Off The Edge
7. The Long Way Home
8. Love Too Strong
9. I Know You Love Me
10. Sing Me The Song
11. 3 Bullets

2001 Riastola Music

© Bluesrockers 2002

Reviewer

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