hes not playing guitar in Arlen Roths band or teaching
students of the guitar, CT-based Matt Rae is busy plugging away with
his growing solo career. Rae hits a new level of guitar expertise
with his third album, the 2007 CD release of High Strung. Rocking
guitar instrumentals played with both high energy and musical acumen,
High Strung finds Rae in the studio backed up by a solid group
of side players. Although Raes blend of rock guitar instrumentals
sound clearly inspired by players like Roth and others like Mark Knopfler
and the late, great Danny Gatton, theres plenty of his own original
twangy guitar sounds in play on the entertaining sound of High
MWE3.COM speaks with Matt Rae about High Strung.
MWE3: What kind of sound were you going for on the High Strung
MR: On High Strung I really wanted to get the listener to get
an idea of what my band sounds like live. We used less overdubs
and did not use a click track for several of the songs. I was going
for a more spontaneous and intense sound.
MWE3: Tell us about the guitars you used on the CD?
MR: I usually play my main guitar which is an original 63 Esquire
but on High Strung I used two new guitars as well. Bill Crook
(Brad Paisley's guitar builder) made me a custom Tele with a one piece
maple neck. He copied the measurements of my Esquire neck so
it feels very comfortable for me. The Crook has a brighter, punchier
tone and it inspired me to write new songs which would be great for
its sound. The other new guitar which I used on High Strung
is an Engel hollow body made by Rob Engel. Rob also matched the
measurements of my Esquire for comfort. The Engel guitar inspired
me to write jazzier, bluesy songs and has a big fat hollow sounding
MWE3: Who did you record with High Strung album with?
MR: Paul Opalach, who produced my first two CD's, also produced High
Strung. Stu Stahr played drums and Mark Bridgman played
bass on all three CD's but I hired some other musicians to play on
High Strung. Mike Marble played drum on some tracks and Billy
Bileca played upright bass on "Small Brown dog". www.mattrae.com