(Original release date: December 17, 2008)

Eastcoast Boogie

I wrote this tune while working at Eastcoast Music Mall in Connecticut in the early 90’s. I used to play the riff while demonstrating guitars (especially strats) for customers. Some of the co-workers suggested I make it into a song, which I eventually did. I first used it a few years later during my time with Wishbone Ash. Andy Powell liked the riff a lot, so we used it as part of our acoustic ‘unplugged’ set. You catch concert footage of us on Youtube playing it live in London.

However, this is the original version I wrote with my old faithful Fender ‘The Strat’. Each solo utilizes a different pickup through a different amp (Vox, Marshall, Fender). Along with Andy are several influences, including one of rocks’ legendary strat-masters, Steve Gaines from Lynyrd Skynyrd. [Fender The Strat]

The Bulldog Blues

A bluesy Stevie Ray Vaughn based riff, mixed with some Rush. In fact, Rush was one of my favorite groups in the late 70’s, early 80’s. I was amazed at how full they sounded for just three guys – Alex Lifeson’s guitar filled the room. My brother Jim got me into that type of guitar rig by using a stereo chorus pedal to split the signal into two amps, which creates a huge sound. The name comes from the Celestion ‘Blue Bulldog’ speakers in my Vox amps. [Fender The Strat]

Courageous Cat (Licensed from Telefeatures, LLC.)

The beginning and ending parts of this tune is the theme from the Courageous Cat & Minute Mouse cartoon, which was popular in the States during the early 60’s. I played this live with my last band Blast Room and substituted all of the horn parts with guitar. We used it as our opening theme for each show and the audience loved it. I mainly went for a Brian Setzer (Stray Cats) rockabilly/swing feel on this cut. The trippy part is inspired from later-day Beatles & Zeppelin records. The guitar echoes form harmonies – similar to Brian May (Queen). [Gibson Les Paul Classic]   

Wrapped in Bronze

A combo of many different acoustic styles put together. Usually, a certain instrument will inspire me to write something on it that fits its character. I recently bought a Martin HD-28 and this was the first new tune to come from it. [Martin HD-28]

Flight

The juxtaposition of keyboards and guitar on this one creates a very cool progressive-rock vibe. Along with piano, I broke out the Moog Taurus bass pedals and some Mellotron in the middle section for that classic ‘wall of sound’. The solo in that part is played on my ’67 Fender lap steel guitar, similar to David Gilmore (Pink Floyd) and Steve Howe (Yes). Yes is one of my all-time favorite groups and a major influence overall. Of the dozens of my guitar influences, all of who are great players, I learned the most from listening to Howe. His versatility and unusual technique is what really caught my ear.

Ed Lange does some nice off-time drum work at the end – difficult to do in 13/8 time signature! [Gibson ES-345, Fender Lap-steel]

Say What You Will

Hendrix, Zeppelin (two big influences), along with the earliest sounds of Yes (with guitar great Peter Banks & keyboardist Tony Kaye) combining guitar and Hammond B3 riffs together. Speaking of Hammond, I used to snag Keith Emerson riffs off of ELP records and play them on guitar. I’m also using a Leslie effect on the second half of my first solo, which gives it that wobbling sound. Many guitarists used it back in the 70’s, including Jimmy Page and Peter Frampton. [Fender The Strat]

Roraima

A very ethereal sounding classical piece named after an ancient, mystical place where time moves much slower. Inspirations on this one include Bach, and Spanish-style guitar. [Alvarez MC-90]

Cruise Control

Cool, mellow jazz – with a twist. Riff influences from fusion players like Allan Holdsworth and session great Nick Moroch. I wrote this on my Gibson ES-345, which can go from a smooth warm tone, to a ballsy rock sound with the flick of a switch. This tune also features Pete Bennett playing a great bass solo – no it’s not a fretless. [Gibson ES-345]

Mofo

Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, and Jeff Beck were all inspirations on this cut. The lead guitar part works as a vocal would in a verse with harmonies answering in between. Without a doubt, I had to use a screaming Les Paul on this track – just old school, kick-ass rock & roll. [Gibson Les Paul Classic]

Dissonance

The opening riff is a re-worked excerpt from an old music book I used as a kid while taking piano lessons from my Mom. It’s come back all these years later as a sort of haunting blues idea with The Beatles, Clapton, Hendrix and some Allman Brothers in the mix. [Fender The Strat, 1974 Fender Stratocaster]

Telekinesis

Country-style pickin’ with a twangy Telecaster tone. This hybrid technique uses the pick for the bass strings and available fingers for the treble strings. It allows me to alternate quickly between fingerpicking and strumming. Although it sounds just like a Tele, it’s actually my 1980 Fender The Strat. Despite its weight (10lbs.), this short-lived model is one of the best sounding, best made, most versatile guitars that Fender ever produced. [Fender The Strat]

Dance Of The Poltergeist

Inspired, in part, by the movie Poltergeist, a bit of Ted Nugent, Eric Johnson and some Wishbone amongst others, this is yet another eclectic tune with lots of stuff mixed in. I’ve always been into taking totally different ideas, throwing them together and seeing what happens. It wouldn’t be complete without the AC/DC ending! [Fender The Strat]

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