High Strung
(MR Music)


When he’s not playing guitar in Arlen Roth’s 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 Rae’s blend of rock guitar instrumentals sound clearly inspired by players like Roth and others like Mark Knopfler and the late, great Danny Gatton, there’s plenty of his own original twangy guitar sounds in play on the entertaining sound of High Strung.

MWE3.COM speaks with Matt Rae about High Strung.

MWE3: What kind of sound were you going for on the High Strung CD?

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 tone.

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".


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