Thursday, June 20, 2002 @ 10:53 AM
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Most probably recall the name Andy Timmons for his stint with glam/metal sensations Danger Danger a decade ago. Upon seeing a full scale solo record here -- with no less than sixteen tracks, and not one "Naughty Naughty" remake in the bunch -- I was a bit thrown before learning the facts.
Timmons' guitar work in fact transcends any of his earlier bands' platinum selling successes. Forged upon technical ambition and a desire to survive, Timmons' six string life began and flourished as a session musician working with the likes of Paula Abdul, Paul Stanley, and Joe Satriani among others. Yes, a rock guitarist to be sure, but an accessibly capable performer as evidenced by a stirring mix of instrumentals and one newly recorded vocal track tribute to George Harrison, "Slips Away," which concludes the collection.
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The sixteen songs cover the first two mid-nineties solo releases from Timmons under the heading Ear X-Tacy. His influences range far and wide from classic seventies, ("Super '70s”), rock to delta-style blues ("Falling Down"), to the let 'er rip fret burning of "Beautiful Strange" and "Electric Gypsy." Rarely do solo artists, instrumentalists no less, come along that attract my attention enough to stay tuned all the way through -- big name rock band guitarists who've gone on to inspire as soloists, like a Montrose, whose “Speed Of Sound" late eighties' instrumental I would measure up to this in many respects -- Timmons' managed to keep me seated for thirteen of the tracks before I succumbed to the lower back stress attributed to my ergonomically-challenged desk chair… but I did return to finish the job, and was equally impressed with the latter four tracks, having of course first returned to the shredding "Groove Or Die," in the best Satriani tradition. In fact when we think of rock/metal guitar players philosophizing through their fretboards, right away you're prone to draw up comparisons to Gods like big Joe, or Vai, who runs the label incidentally, the Malmsteen types; sure enough Timmons proves capable of scaling the quarter-mile in record time as well, but it's the emotion and feel with which he conveys that stands out and makes such a mammoth undertaking interesting enough to listen to.
So from "Groove Or Die" to the subdued Santana-inspired "A Night To Remember," to the thickly layered "Carpe Diem," there's plenty to reach out for on this domestically released first-timer that you don't need to play guitar to appreciate.