ANDY TIMMONS - guitar instrumental rock - technically tight tunes - " aka Eclectic Earwig Reviews Music and More for You!"
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Andy Timmons: That Was Then, This Is Now
2002, Favored Nations, FN-2200

This album is a compilation of tracks from Andy Timmons from over the years, as well as some new tracks for this Favored Nations release. Timmons style of playing and music is that of a straight ahead rock format with guitar-intensive instrumentation and advanced technique. Many diverse rock-like themes are covered by Timmons on this album, demonstrating a good grasp and command over a wide variety of rock / blues ideas that he applies his progressive guitar work. I hesitate to stamp this album with the label "progressive", though, because the themes are more straight-ahead rock than what most consider progressive. But, the compositions are strictly instrumental tunes (thankfully!) with definitely progressive guitar work whose clean and well-applied tones are well-produced, a combination that sits well with me on the scales of listening pleasure.

Andy Timmons strikes me as the type of guitarist that one desiring to lay back and relax might want to find playing out in a nightclub on a weekend night, if that one might be so lucky to find somebody this talented playing at a local club. Timmons has a good variety in his repertoire and this makes for an entertaining listen. What I like about Timmons style and approach to his playing and music is that he is always focused on coherent themes and musical ideas, not getting lost in any guitar pyrotechnic noodling that has no purpose other than the technique itself. Also, Timmons is a melody-centric player that has a good ear and feel for his melodies, and that scores big points in my evaluation, as well as being conducive to my personal listening preferences.

There are several noteworthy tracks that stand out on this album. "I Remember Stevie" is a fitting tribute to and in the style of the late, great SRV. Timmons demonstrates his diversity in style and mastery of different techniques in the finger-picking, country jamboree extravaganza, "Farmer Sez" that is reminiscent of Steve Morse's better works of this nature, as well as Morse's coverage of diverse styles. In fact, the similarity in concept to Steve Morse, in general, is a striking one (in a good way), though Timmons has different coverage of technique and subject matter. "Electric Spy" is a well-fealt, soulful tribute to and in the spirit of Jimi Hendrix with a "Little Wing" type sound and feel. "Groove Or Die" has some breath-taking, inspired, neoclassical-like shred work that is reminiscent of a Rhandy Rhoads' feel coupled with the compositional aspects of Vinnie Moore's newer works, as well as his style in general. A coooooool tune for sure!

I'm not sure that I would compare Andy Timmons' playing to world class progressive players, though it may merit this consideration, the reason being that I would rather choose to overlook the mechanics of Timmons' playing in favor of listening to the end-effects of his playing in the big picture of his musical concept. Timmons is a player that bears the listeners' enjoyment of the music in mind, though he probably derives pleasure from his sophisticated and well-fealt playing, as well. This is a difficult balance to strike, and I, for one, appreciate Timmons approach in his music. If you like strictly instrumental music with a straight-ahead rock feel, advanced and aggressive guitar work, melody-laden and theme-centric composition, and coverage of diverse topics, then this album might be worth checking out for you!

1) Super '70s
2) Pink Champagne Sparkle
3) Falling Down
4) Beautiful Stranger
5) Turn Away
6) I Remember Stevie
7) Cry For You
8) Farmer Sez
9) Electric Gypsy
10) It's Getting Better
11) That Was Then, This Is Now
12) Groove Or Die
13) A Night To Remember
14) Carpe Diem
15) Donna Lee
16) Slips Away

~ Christopher Ruel ~ ~

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