Carl Verheyen,
" Trading 8's "

Non-Dysfunctional Guitar Artistry, (05/27/09)

Blues wax 8
Reader rating 8

The title of Carl Verheyen's latest disk refers to alternating or trading eight-bar phrases with another soloist while improvising. These trading partners include heavyweights such as Joe Bonamassa, Rick Vito, Scott Henderson, Steve Morse, Robben Ford, Jim Cox, and Albert Lee.

Guest guitar albums often sound dysfunctional. Not this one. Each contributing musician delivers clever and tasty licks that complement the nine of ten tunes authored by Verheyen, the one cover being George Harrison's "Taxman." Check out Joe Bonamassa and Verheyen tearing it up on the opening "Highway 27." "Taxman" follows which is another great romp with veteran fusion guitarist Scott Henderson where we also hear Verheyen's fine vocal, giving new meaning to this Beatles classic. Robben Ford melds perfectly with Verheyen on the very lengthy and bluesy "New Years Day." But Verheyen saves the best for last on "Eastern Steppes," a gorgeous and trippy well thought out tune. Carl and his regular touring mate's drummer Walfredo Reyes Jr. (ex of Santana) and bassist Dave Marotta (Mark-Almond Band) provide exquisite telepathic accompaniment for Verheyen's exploratory guitar improvisations. Additional kudos go to Jim Cox (B3) and Naomi Star's haunting vocals.

Carl Verheyen is a master guitar player and musician, not only does he play well, but he also has excellent timing, great tone, and an outstanding feel for his instrument. This recording is a must for those who appreciate quality music. Trading 8s is sheer guitar artistry at its best.

Bob Putignano: