In addition to being the lead guitarist for legendary British art rock legends Supertramp since the mid '80s (very quietly I might add), Carl Verheyen has consistently been a much in-demand session player, soundtrack composer, and guitar magazine award winner throughout his lengthy career, as well as having a pretty prolific solo career and the recognition for greatness among his peers. With all that being said, Essential Blues is his latest solo effort, and sees the guitarist diving into the blues for an exciting set of originals and some covers. Along with Spock's Beard alumni Nick D'Virgilio on drums, bassist Dave Martin, and Jim Cox on keyboards, Essential Blues is a classy album filled with expert musicianship, strong vocals, and a vintage vibe.
Though Verheyen is a guy that can basically play it all, he seems right at home here with the blues, and his tasty licks alongside Cox's smoky organ tones on the instrumental "Dodging the Blues" are simply marvelous. Vocal pieces such as "I Take What I Want" and "Someday After Awhile" have a rootsy feel and allow for plenty of six string pyrotechnics, while "Stardust Blues" has a decidedly old school feel, Verheyen's sultry vocals perfectly complementing some gut wrenching lead guitar work. He even throws in a little jazz on the breakneck "I May Be Wrong, But I Won't Be Wrong Always/Closing Time Jazz" (chops of doom folks!) and launches into a killer rendition of the Fleetwood Mac classic "Oh Well", a version that should certainly make Peter Green proud. The gorgeous slow blues of "Hard Times" closes out the album in fine fashion, and another example of some serious guitar mastery.
No doubt one of music's best kept secrets, Carl Verheyen is sure to open himself up to plenty of new listeners with Essential Blues. If you haven't yet discovered this guitar legend, now's the time.
See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!
1) I Take What I Want
2) Someday After Awhile
3) Stealing Gasoline
4) Dodging the Blues
5) Good Morning Judge
6) You Don't Love Me
7) Stardust Blues
8) I May Be Wrong, But I Won't Be Wrong Always/Closing Time Jazz
9) Oh Well
10) Hard Times