For those of you that may be new to guitar instrumental music, which is hard for me to fathom; Chris Brooks’ music may be the type of music you have heard in video games, movie soundtracks, 80s TV shows and cartoons, and workout videos. I try not to use the term “Beer Commercial Music” because some guitar instrumental can be such. But this is a more intelligent, and uplifting type of music. It’s the kind of music that makes you take an extra lap or four around the track, or keeps you going on a late night project after you have lost all steam and motivation. To me personally, it is deeper than that. There is a certain touch you have to have with guitar, and being able to play like you mean it. I could say he “plays with feel,” but that could make you think you are in for a snooze fest. This isn’t something you will want to play sitting by a fire in your snuggie sipping on hot cocoa, but it’s not going to leave you feeling like a nervous wreck either. You might even have the whole house picked up and vacuumed before you realize it. I’m about to start a more intense exercise routine and you bet I’ll be there twice as fast with this music going.
This is the kind of stuff Bill & Ted were supposed to make. Some of the greatest music ever that will create peace on earth through rock and roll and sweet guitar licks. This is the kind of stuff that makes other guitarists stop and listen no matter how good they are.
A lot of people have listened through a lot of guitar instrumental albums over the years, and will know what I am talking about, but the review part of this may seem like “alien speak” to some, so don’t try to understand it until you get through all the “who’s that?” lol.
Here are my thoughts on the music:
There are so many influences that come out of this. I think Chris kind of just became every artist I have ever liked to accomplish what is on this album, it’s pretty amazing. There’s a little bit of Steve Morse, Steve Vai, Richie Kotzen, Greg Howe, Jason Becker, Guthrie Govan, Paul Gilbert, Shawn Lane, Bret Garsed (guest solos on “”In and out of Dreams”), and Rick Graham (who also guest solos on “Feeding the Myth,” and what do you know it but those of you who missed out of the Mike Varney Project get another chance to experience this unearthly fusion ride one more time thanks to Chris and Rick’s love for fusion guitar music). “Hammer’s Heart” could very well be the track that puts you in the mood for holding someone tight (all guys lose me at this point lol). It is the kind of song I would have played at my wedding and danced close to my bride, occasionally air guitaring some parts behind her back. You can tell there’s some emotions going on. That’s what I love about guitar, is you can really put your feelings into it sometimes and make something beautiful. “Hammer’s Heart” is that 80s power ballad solo you wish would go on and on and you finally get your wish! I loved a little known project by a bass guitarist named Randy Coven called CPR (initals of all the band members). It has these really fun quirky lines and harmonies that almost seemed like notes for a vocalist, but since there wasn’t a vocalist things could be extremely exaggerated (although Bobby McFerrin could have pulled it off I think). “Transfiguration” seems to have that vibe that I loved in CPR, and also a touch of that Mike Varney Project type fusion that is like elevator music on crack (or Frank Gambale! lol –love him too just sayin’) …I cannot, absolutely cannot fail to mention “Open Doors!” A tribute to Joey Tafolla’s “Violation” from the album “Infra Blue” that was pretty much one of my favorite songs from all of the Shrapnel albums during the guitar instrumental explosion of the late 80s/early 90s. In my short lived career as a truck driver I made a playlist of songs that kept me inspired, uplifted, and made driving enjoyable and the ones that made the cut and I could live with every night over and over for a few years had to be special and Joey’s tune was one of those great songs. It was not designed to show guitarists how much better Joey was, but as a way to say “while you are all trying to play that scale faster than the other guy, some of us are making music again” and that’s what it’s all about. There is a lot of “Morse” moments because of the band working together so well with Chris, but moreover he kept his mind on making music and knew when to shred and when to harmonize, build, changeup, let loose, and come back down. It’s hard to lose interest in this album for me. It’s like my playlist. I’ve always been happy with a few tracks to add to my playlist. I even started buying two or three tracks from albums. It’s been the norm. But this…this album is a must have. The samples just can’t do it justice. You have to take the ride! …and HOLY LEGATO!!!!!!!!
Smooth stuff Chris!!!
On a personal note:
A lot of you know, or will know I also have a soft spot for people that have to struggle and Chris has been through more than a few struggles not only with just getting this album out to begin with (without a major label which is a good thing in the long run but I remember when Chris was looking for support with the costs and I thought “this is insane, it’s Chris Brooks! What happened to music?”), but it seems like there have been more hospital visits and health concerns popping up than appearances and signings and that just really makes me want to try and do as much as possible to let him know not only is this album a success, but he’s a success as a human being. I don’t think I have seen an artist who is more human, shares his thoughts and responds to fans. I almost feel at some point there was no longer a fan/celeb response and that he’s become a friend that I just haven’t been able to visit. I really do hope you all get a chance to get to know him and that you give this music a chance. Let all of your husbands, friends, and family know about Chris. Visit his web page and find his music on iTunes or Amazon (personally I like Amazon and it’s a little cheaper but the convenience of ITunes may be your thing). There’s also a good track preview and linkage to CD Baby on his page.
Chris has offered to give help us give away two digital downloads and one signed copy of his new album, “The Axis Of All Things.”
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If you are already a fan, or have had some things suddenly slow you down in your own career, leave an uplifting comment for Chris personally and I will be sure he sees them.
*Highlighting used for visual effect, you are not in a Google search archive!