American guitar virtuoso PAUL GILBERT (Mr. Big, Racer X, solo) has announced the title and some details for his 13th solo studio album. Cleverly titled Stone Pushing Uphill Man, the record features several original tracks alongside a rich assortment of cover songs. WHD (Victor) Entertainment released Gilbert’s latest opus on June 25, 2014 in Japan. An instructional DVD, as well as a deluxe edition of the regular album, are also planned for release by WHD Entertainment in Japan.
According to Gilbert, “Stone Pushing Uphill Man is the first big step to truly find my voice on the guitar. I wanted the inspiration of my favorite singers for such a big challenge, so I chose a lot of cover songs. I think the listeners will be amazed at what I’ve been able to do with the guitar. Besides the melodies, I’ve also created most of the production with guitars. If the song needed to have keyboards or strings… I found a way to make it happen with the guitar.”
Gilbert’s latest archetypal character is Stone Pushing Uphill Man. This is a nod to the Greek myth of Sisyphus, the craftiest of all men, a former king accused of chronic deceit. As punishment, Sisyphus was sentenced to roll a boulder uphill, only to have the boulder fall downhill again, for all of eternity. Gilbert explains that “…this seems like a very frustrating fate. But there is a philosopher, Albert Camus, who wrote, “One must imagine Sisyphus happy.” I agree. I am happy. And the reason is … I love my “stone”. My “stone” is many things. One of them is music. I have played guitar for many years. But recently, I have realized that I am not satisfied with much of what I have done. This felt like my stone rolling down the mountain. But I am happy. The stone is mine. I love pushing it back up. It takes effort. But I am in control. I have a goal. I can do it. It feels great. And when I get to the top, I don’t mind that it rolls back down again. Because by that time, I have spent enough time with that stone. And I’m ready for a new one. This album is my newest stone … and it rocks!”
Co-produced and assisted by “a young metal fan from Sweden”, Gilbert intimated “With the Stone Pushing Uphill Man album, I decided that I am ready to bring my guitar to the center of the stage and let it sing. To do this, I wanted to use the inspiration of my favorite singers. Paul McCartney, Steven Tyler, Elton John, James Brown, Sting, k.d lang … These are the voices that I wish I had. With my guitar, I can reach their notes. The challenge is to match their emotion and expression. This is my goal as a guitar player.”
Continuing his tradition of working with best-in-class skinsmen, Gilbert enlisted, among others, both Mike Portnoy (Transatlantic, The Winery Dogs, ex-Dream Theater) and Kenny Aronoff (Elton John, Joe Satriani, Alice Cooper, Johnny Cash) to drum on the record, both to sculpt cover songs like “Working for the Weekend” (Loverboy), “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road” (The Beatles), “Wash Me Clean” (k.d lang), and color new originals like the title track, and “Shock Absorber”.
Other cover songs to be featured on the album include “I Got the Feeling” (James Brown), “Murder By Numbers” (The Police), “Back in the Saddle” (Aerosmith), “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” (Elton John), and “My Girl” (Eric Carmen).
An excited Gilbert relates “On Stone Pushing Uphill Man, I have worked hard to invent new ways to play the guitar and to get it to sing, scream, and rock like it never has before. And of course, when the time is right, I still throw in plenty of the shred style that I am known for. My favorite just might be the Loverboy track. It’s really fun to play that melody. The song rocks, and Mike Portnoy goes crazy on it! And the title track of course … Wait until you hear this album!”
Release dates update: The album will be released in the USA on August 5, 2014 through Shrapnel Records. It can be (pre)ordered from Amazon. In Europe, it will be released on August 11, 2014 through Music Theories Recordings (a sub-label of Mascot Records). On Sept. 15, 2014, a vinyl edition, limited to 1000 copies, will be released, also on Music Theories.
The track listing for the Japanese release version of the album, with original artists for cover songs indicated, is:
Working For The Weekend (Loverboy)
Back In The Saddle (Aerosmith)
I Got The Feelin’ (James Brown)
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (Elton John)
Why Don’t We Do It In The Road (The Beatles)
Purple Without All The Red
Murder By Numbers (The Police)
My Girl (Eric Carmen)
Wash Me Clean (kd lang)
Stone Pushing Uphill Man
Drummer credits for the record are as follows.
Working For the Weekend
Why Don’t We Do It in the Road
Stone Pushing Uphill Man
Purple Without All the Red
I Got the Feelin’
Murder By Numbers
Back in the Saddle
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
No drummer credit is indicated for “Wash Me Clean”. The recording line-up of (other) musicians is unknown at this time.
Most of the songs are instrumental. Gilbert is “singing with his guitar”: the songs have had the lead vocal line replaced with a lead guitar line which follows the vocal melody. One song, “Stone Pushing Uphill Man”, contains vocals.