And now for something different, and decidedly non-metal, in metal-land! Guitarist Carl Verheyen, of Supertramp fame, released his fantastic solo album, Mustang Run, on August 1. Verheyen has a short tour of the UK lined up to support the release. The 11 tracks (ten instrumental) presented here are a wonderful and gentle introduction to the large, oft-vague genre of ‘fusion’: music that fuses elements of blues, jazz, and rock.
The album has a wildly different sequence then an average rock listener is used to: instead of top-loading the disc with the ‘heaviest’ tunes first and last, Mustang Run alternates a faster tune with a mellower or slower tune. Instead of the customary emotional rollercoaster, listeners are treated to a series of gentle rolling waves.
Dynamic and polite, the sound quality and instrument balance throughout are sublime. Verheyen’s eclectic chords, nimble changes, and tonal experiments, especially during jazzy numbers like “Fusioneers Disease”, remind us that he’s a “guitarist’s guitarist”, respected and elevated among his peers. For listeners looking to unwind after a long day of grating rock music “on 11”, calm tunes like “Julietta and the St. George” or “Last Days of Autumn” present an ear-soothing opportunity to relax. Of note, only the last track, a bonus called “Bloody Well Right”, contains vocals.
Star-studded, the disc features guest performances by Simon Phillips, Chad Wackerman, Jerry Goodman, Bill Evans, Jimmy Johnson, Stu Hamm, and Gregg Bissonette. Unfortunately, (at least my) promotional copy does not have any of this labeled, so it’s impossible to mention where each guest gets their time to shine.
An agile and versatile disc, Mustang Run accomplishes what it sets out to do: present a fusion of disparate genres in a palatable, progressive, avant-garde format.
Julietta and the St. George
Last Days of Autumn
Riding the Bean
Passage to Run
Fourth Door on the Right
Spirit of Julia
* Bloody Well Right (bonus track)