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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Provogue Records artist: Matt Schofield - Far As I Can See - New Release Review

I just received the newest release (February 18, 2014), Far As I Can See, from Matt Schofield and I really like it! First I'll start out by saying that this is not a pure "blues" release but blues based and fresh. Opening with From Far Away has more of a contemporary jazzy feel along the lines of Robben Ford. Schofield is an excellent singer and he spends no time at all showing what all the clamor is about with his guitar playing. Clean Break is a really slick shuffle track with solid organ contributions from Jonny Henderson. Schofield really swings this track with crisp articulated guitar runs and Jordan John is tight on drums. Getaway is a funky progressively timed track with cool bass work from Carl Stanbridge. Schofield really jumps on this track with some of the cleanest guitar riffs I've heard on a record in a long time. Excellent. One track that is bound to be a common denominator for everyone is Albert King's Breaking Up Somebody's Home. Schofield does an excellent interpretation of this classic with super vocals and scorching hot blues riffs. The anchors at bass and drums (Stanbridge and John) give Schofield freedom to give the track a lot of vocal soul and the guitar soloing would make Albert smile. Vocal backing adds just the right amount of warmth. The Day You Left is a rolling slow blues with soulful vocals contrasted against the tension of the timing of the rhythm of the bottom. Schofield adds his solos in open field here. The work is masterful and exciting. Chord progressions on the chorus give it a sophisticated feel showing a multidimensional writer/player. Again organ work by Henderson is just right. Another really super track. Oakville Shuffle is a very fleet instrumental track. With a blues bottom and jazz components this track gives the players the opportunity to really let it out. Henderson puts up a really solid key solo and Schofield shows his jazz chops. Still strongly influenced by blues this track is nothing less than superb! Hindsight has a lot of funk and even some extremely sweet sax work from James Morton. With a bit of that southern flare, Schofield shows that he's really been listening. His guitar work on this track is super and work by both Stanbridge and John is right on the money. I this track doesn't make you hop around in your seat...check your may be dead! Everything starts off with a slower deliberate pace but erupts into a full blues shuffle with all hands blazing. Shifting gears a few times as smooth as a Porsche with paddle shifters, Schofield really shines on this track. The Neville Brothers Yellow Moon is up next and Schofield may even give it a bit more Latin than the original. Spanish guitar riffs on electric guitar is a really nice touch and splashes of street drumming really gives it a special kick. Schofield makes it really hard to review his release when every track is spectacular... I mean how many different ways can you say... this is terrific! Tell Me Some Lies ventures into two-step territory with rockin piano work from Henderson bringing that Jerry Lee Lewis flavor to a primarily vocal track with a Texas guitar twist. Final track, Red Dragon, is a Hendrix influenced blues ballad. Signature Jimi riffs are blended into an almost Roy Buchanan like blues dirge giving Schofield the opportunity to really throw his gloves down. If you like wide open guitar... this is your ticket.

 I have to say this is one of the most exciting guitar releases I have heard in a long time. It has components of a lot of different styles of music blended together and executed in a spontaneous yet meticulous manner. I highly recommend this for anyone who loves guitar music. There has to be something here that will push you buttons... if not everything!

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