Repost from SoundVapors.com - see the original Interview/Review here
Slim Gambill – Fake Jazz & Theme Songs – Holy moly, this is becoming one of my favorite albums released this year. Ten songs on this instrumental opus (outside of Over Getting Over You – which we will get to later on), none of which allows you to lose interest. There’s so much going on musically here, that it has taken me a half dozen listens to really feel like I’ve been able to take it all in – but I’m sure I’ll pick up on little nuances here and there that I didn’t previously catch.
Sometimes when I preview an album for review I’ll pick out the highlights and direct people to listen to those tracks. In this case I’m tempted to just say “here” and hand you the CD because, to me, all of these songs are a highlight. But since I’m putting out an article, let’s talk about songs.
The album begins with Last Time Thing. Creamy guitar tone, bright horn section, stellar piano & organ play, melodic bass lines and a drum sound that is almost like a dream to these ears. Folks, this is the way drums are supposed to sound. I literally want to call up the mixing engineer and ask him how he mixed that snare so I can steal his method going forward. That’s how much I love the drum sound on this record. You can probably just attach this first part to every song, as the article goes on. They all have these great qualities.
The next song, Levitations, is one that Slim described to me as one of the real jazz songs on the record. Again, there’s so much to take in, especially on a song like this, but pay close attention to the bass guitar. My fingers were sore after listening to this one. I told Gambill during our conversation that I could almost envision this song in the movie “Quiz Show”. The thing just swings, man.
Let’s get into one of my favorite songs on the album. Like I said, I like them all but 5,4,3,2,1 is something special. Maybe it’s the time signature. Maybe it’s the movement in the song. Maybe it’s Slim’s milky Hendrix-tone or maybe it’s having Jeff Coffin (Dave Matthews Band) playing saxophone on it. I was fortunate enough to see the band play this song live and seeing Gambill absolutely slay the solo gave me an even greater appreciation for the song.
Yacht Rock alert! The next song is one that I’ve been playing nonstop since I got the record. Over Getting Over You features Candace Devine on vocals. Even though Yacht Rock is generally late 70’s and early 80’s type stuff – this song will fit nicely on my own YR playlist next summer when I’m enjoying a cocktail by the water and watching the sun go down (I almost hate myself too, for writing it). Devine’s voice is so special on this song, I went straight to her own album, Here We Are just to get more of it. It’s powerful and controlled at the same time. She has one of these special vocal tones I continually talk about. It’s something that many singers wish they had. In that same space is the dynamic guitar solo by Gambill. It’s probably my favorite solo on the entire album and that is saying something, since his play is off the charts throughout.
While I know that all of the songs on the album are special to him, here are three songs that might have an even more special place in Gambill’s heart. Gambill explains to me during our conversation, “There are two tunes that I wrote for my kids and then there’s one for my wife. Those ones probably mean the most to me. There’s Lyla Marie, there’s Silly Time and then there’s 62 Victory Blvd. So I love those tunes.”
Each one of those songs has it’s own personality and feel to them. Silly Time is such a happy song I can almost see Rick Moranis dancing along to it in a beach montage from My Blue Heaven. 62 Victory Blvd just feels like home. It’s a warm, sunny song that feels like an adventure. Maybe the adventure of the search and capture? Either way it’s another great piece of music, only this time we get a terrific acoustic guitar to fill the speakers. Finally, Lyla Marie grabbed me right away. Two things jumped out at me. One was the guitar sound. I immediately thought to myself that this was possibly an old Deluxe Reverb amplifier I was hearing. (which was confirmed by Gambill during our conversation) Second, was that I thought, of all the songs on the record, this was the one I felt like could’ve had vocals over the top of it. I’m thinking Kim Wilson/Fabulous Thunderbirds type vocals.
Let’s bring this one home with three additional great songs. Again – all musically different than one another and special in their own way. Cop Show once again features Jeff Coffin and Gambill had a cool explanation of the Coffin’s intro this one. Gambill says, “That was the last one on the list, he blazed through everything so fast I was kind of like I’m not sure on Cop Show what you’ll do but, but then I was like just do that Careless Whisper/Lethal Weapon/David Sanborn. We’ll ‘verb it out and just come up with a couple of things that’ll go on top of it. And so he came up with that melody. So the intro stuff is just him playing.”
Also Shuffle features Kenneth Crouch a super talented piano player that has played with some legendary artists like Eric Clapton, Lenny Kravitz and Lauryn Hill. His presence on this track is felt almost immediately. His fingers moves quickly over the piano keys. It’s a pure joy to listen to this caliber musician, do what he does. Truly amazing.
The album closes with the appearance of two other notable guitar players. Isaac Hanson (that Hanson) and Chris Nix (Jonathan Davis of Korn). The concept of 4 Guitars Having A Conversation Over Cocktails was explained to me, perfectly. Gambill says, “As the title suggests, I wanted to have a bunch of guitar players that are just in conversation, like when there’s multiple people. You kind of talk over each sometimes and cut each other off. I think it turned out great!” So do I and if you listen to it with that in mind, it makes complete sense.
The album is a keeper for me and I’m already ready to hear more from him. If you’re ready to hear more, you can click on one of the links below to your favorite place to listen to podcasts and hear our entire interview. We get pretty deep into the production of the album and talk about Lady Antebellum as well. Another topic of conversation was T.V. Theme Songs. We talk about his favorites and how they inspired him. The title is a dead giveaway – but they clearly had an effect on him. And I’m glad they did.
By Tommy Martin. You can follow Tommy on Twitter.