STEREO ACTION MUSIC
We all know who Rich Gilbert is and if we don’t we can look him up, so what do you need me for? Anyway, on this release, he does it all, or virtually all, all by himself, and the results are impressive. “#1 Hit Record” sounds to my jaded ears like the soundtrack to a Quentin Tarantino Western on speed, and not like a #1 hit record at all! It’s a spectacular piece of mind-melting, careering instrumental goodness all the same. “Castellena’s Last Ride” is another wild and winsome instrumental romp with tons o’ steel guitars and a through-line as inevitable as a mobster’s dirt nap. “Mystic Valley Parkway” is a mysterioso mood piece with shimmery guitars and a jazzy slow-dance vibe. Other highlights include the aggressively rocking rave-up “The Fatal Wedding,” which sounds for all the world as though it should be adorning the soundtrack of an unusually hip monster movie. Plus, there’s “The Parade of Forgotten Beauty,” which, to my ever-more-senescent ears, sounds vaguely like Genesis, what with the grandiose guitar pomp on full display (and dig the backwards percussion!); and the lonesome country-and-western-meets-new age melodic wave of “Black Saturday”; the downright trippy C&W tinged “Sayonara” with its clip-cloppy rhythm; “That’ll Work” with Billy Contreras on fiddle, which reminds me of western swing; more notably, of Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks grown somehow too big for their britches (sorry, but I call ’em as I see ’em). There’s some nice steel guitar there, Mr. Gilbert. (And where in hell did you get that clangorous guitar solo in the middle eight?) As for the rest, well, there’s “Run Swinger Run”: prog-rock meets monster movie music? “Trouble Makers”: steel guitars vs. industrial synth? “The Holy City”: Shimmery circus music meets brazen showboating rock in a disorienting Alice-In-Wonderland odyssey of sound? I mean, wow. Overall, Stereo Action Music is a tricky album full of kooky variations on a theme–and very easy to love. Bravissimo. (Francis DiMenno)
The Noise Dec 1, 2016
SON OF S.A.M.
This is a pleasant followup to the prolific Mr. Gilbert’s previous collection of one-man guitar and percussion instrumentals, Stereo Action Music. Some of the pieces here are showcases for guitar extravaganzas, notably “Invitation to Die,” with its palpable air of excitement, and, also notably, the guitar-keening and clangorous “Shut the Box.” Other compositions are more cinematic in nature, like OMD strained through Sergio Leone with superadded steel guitars.These instrumentals evoke epic journeys across wide-open spaces; for instance, the opening track “101 Strings,” and, also notably, the deterministic twang and clangor underscored by muffled percussion of “Say Hello to Wolfgang.” Still other compositions are almost purely ambient, like the sedate “Weltanshauung”; the moody “Lost But Never Found”; and the lulling, pacific melodicism of “The Balcony People.” And then there are the songs in which percussive and other effects dominate: for instance, the discombobulating “Check Yourself”, with its insistent and nagging leitmotifs; also, the winning and lovely “Wyoming and Nairobi,” with its straggly keyboards, insistent drone, and keening harmonica, all of which resolve into a blast of powerful discordant guitar and some gorgeous pedal steel. “Drop Out” is a genuinely disorienting piece, with its mindful guitar scrawl and funereal organ underpinning. The snippet “Indian Groovebox” is both ambiant and exotic, with its leitmotif of sampled ethereal voices played on keyboard. The sedate closing track, “April Fool Day” is kind of like a joke on all of us: its easygoing pedal steel ambiance is evocative of a CSN&Y outing such as “Teach Your Children.” You keep expecting it to resolve into something else, only it doesn’t. Surprise! This collection proves (as if we need any proof) that Rich Gilbert is not only a great guitar player, but also a pretty ingenious composer as well. (Francis DiMenno)
Emergingindiebands.com Dec 12, 2016
The US instrumental-weave-rock creator The Legendary Rich Gilbert revealed the LP Son Of S.A.M. on the 7th. The album which threads through the room in a collection of twelve tracks lasting for approximately fifty minutes of quizzical monologues sets the audience minds racing to capture the Savannah and one is minded of an aural contextualisation of an anthology of the works of J. D. Salinger as the lamenting reverberating guitar lays against an intemperate drum machine that insists time is pressing and demands of the Employer must be met.
La Repubblicas D Magazine Jan 2017
Nels Cline: Lovers (Blue Note)
The Legendary Rich Gilbert: Son of S.A.M. (Holy Wreckords)
Two contemporary guitar heroes with lots of character and inspiration.
Nels Cline because was a part of Wilco, he has made his “dream record” after 25 years of working on it.
18 tracks move up, perfectly rearranged and orchestrated by Michael Leonhart, where Cline flies high with the lyricism
that sets this record apart. Rich Gilbert instead of the cowboy of hyperspace, is the “Man Who Fell to Earth” (from Nashville) and made it in his second album in complete autonomy in two years. Melodic, western and electronic sounds jumps, like If Sergio Leone went to Mars driven by Quentin Tarantino. If Jack White called him during the revived Wanda Jackson tour there is a reason. Two different worlds that leave both and stand apart from the pack. (Marco Fecchio)