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Designs In Music
(Soundstage 15)

It’s hard to believe it’s been almost ten years since the last U.S. release from the multitalented Ben Vaughn. Following his 1997 album, Rambler 65 Vaughn traveled west and earned a reputation as a well respected television music composer. Although he’s worked as a producer for American music icons like Arthur Alexander and rockers Ween, Vaughn’s head and heart have always been into classic ‘50s / ‘60s composers like Henry Mancini, Hank Marvin, Paul Mauriat and the 101 Strings. With the release of his 2006 CD, Designs In Music Vaughn more than lives up to his reputation as one of the most eclectic and adventurous guitarist / composers in American today. Turn off the lights and put this CD on—the music is so retro cool, you won’t know what decade it is! Commenting on the album, Vaughn adds, “It feels like a contemporary record to me. It’s obviously a tribute to various styles but it’s not a precious pristine recreation of something from 1962.” Vaughn will amaze his followers and turn heads around with an album he describes as “an instrumental record that brought together everything I learned from scoring films and TV.”



Rites Of Passage

Based in Sweden, guitar icon Coste Apetrea is one of the finest guitarists in the world. The founding guitarist in the early ‘70s Swedish art-rock group Samla Mammas Manna, Coste has done all sorts of guitar based rock over the years—from mind boggling fusion to acoustic new age and rock. Some may say his zenith was recording with Samla in the mid ‘70s and his early ‘80s work with Jukka Tolonen, yet on his 2006 CD for the Finland-based Lion label, Coste still proves he’s got lots of fire in those fingertips. From electrifying jazz to bizarre off the wall instrumental sounds, Samla style, Coste’s latest will blow you away.



Martian Lust
(Lost Grove Arts)

Although he was born in Wisconsin, guitar legend Toulouse Engelhardt grew up in Southern California and was greatly influenced by both the So-Cal surf sound of Dick Dale and the Northern California acoustic guitar sound of John Fahey and Leo Kottke. In fact, back in the mid to late ‘60s, Toulouse was a member of the ‘Takoma Seven’, recording fingerstyle guitar alongside those legends on the Takoma label. Interestingly his 2005 14 track CD on Lost Grove Arts features a range of minimalist / surf-rock sounds performed on electric guitar. An eclectic collection of restrained surf inspired instrumentals, Martian Lust—subtitled The Toulouse Engelhardt “Mosrite Guitar” Compilation (1976-2003)—features Toulouse in splendid form, weaving a bizarre mix of Americana on his shimmering electric Mosrite guitar. The sound of acoustic blues and ragtime are woven into his strange and beautiful surf-rock sound. Imagine Leo Kottke jamming with The Ventures and you come close to the unique guitar atmospheres in play on Martian Lust.


(Galuminum Foil)

An up and coming guitarist who’s really doing something new with the instrumental electric guitar sound, Chris Mahoney released his Rebirth album in 2006. According to the guitarist, ‘this is the record I’ve been wanting to make for a long time.’ Mahoney has opened shows for artists as diverse as Al DiMeola and Blue Oyster Cult. Combining rock, techno and industrial strength fusion, Mahoney is breaking down walls for the guitar. Assisted by Chris Cubeta (drums / bass) and Jerry Tereilliger (drums), Mahoney's hard rockin’ sound will blow your roof off.


Just A Kid Havin' Fun

Fans of ‘70s funk fusion, sit up and take notice of guitarist Jimmy Mac. Backed up by a range of skillful players, Mac sounds inspired by a number guitar and musical greats like Jimi Hendrix, Andy Summers of The Police, Southern rockers Lynyrd Skynyrd, jazz horn icon Charlie Parker and Jeff Beck, especially Beck’s groundbreaking guitar work with The Yardbirds. Mac also cites the big beat of Prince and Sly Stone as main influences while also playing off modern genres like British bass / drum grooves. Just A Kid Havin’ Fun is a classic CD of modern funk jazz and fusion guitar sounds.


Photon Life

One guitar shredder who’s making some inroads with a novel do it your self-style intensity is Alaska-based Chris McGraw. Very much influenced by players like Satriani, there’s a also a Fripp based meditative quality about McGraw’s guitar playing. A young player born in ’82, McGraw demonstrates an amazing grasp on an enormous legacy of instrumental guitar playing. There’s a touch of Euro style minimalism that’s more instrumental alt-rock than surf or jazz bent and overall there’s some promising ground being broken here. Excellent cover/art packaging.

Attention Artists and Record Companies: Have your CD reviewed in and 20th Century Guitar. Send to P.O. Box 630249, Little Neck, N.Y. 11363-0249

Attention Artists and Record Companies: Have your CD reviewed by Send to: CD Reviews Editor Robert Silverstein, P.O. Box 630249, Little Neck, N.Y. 11363-0249