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Pierce, Tim - 1995 Guitarland

ARTIST: Pierce, Tim
ALBUM: Guitarland
LABEL: PRA Records
SERIAL: 60301-2
YEAR: 1995


LINEUP: Tim Pierce - electric and acoustic guitars, mandolin, dobro

Guests: Dweezil Zappa - guitars * Kevin Gilbert - acoustic guitar, keyboards, programming * Bob Marlette - keyboards, accordion * Patrick Leonard, Jeffrey C.J. Vanston - keyboards * Brian MacLeod, Denny Fongheiser - drums, percussion * Bobby Huff - percussion * Art Wood - percussion, loops * Nigel Lundemo - percussion, accordion, loops

TRACK LISTING: 01 I Made It So * 02 English Channel * 03 Woman Be True * 04 Guitarland * 05 Western Song * 06 Return To You * 07 One Desire * 08 The Good Fight * 09 Not The Man I Was * 10 Long Road Home

A bit of a legend in guitar circles, is Tim Pierce. Whether it's playing with Rick Springfield, Mark Spiro, Joe Cocker, Cock Robin or Michael Jackson, Tim's been there and done that. After years of being the 'go-to' guy in the studio, Pierce has been able to let off a little bit of steam under his own breath, and record an interesting set of instrumental tunes in the same style as cavalier six-string accomplice Michael Thompson and his 1998 effort 'The World According To M.T'. Signed to Patrick Rains small L.A based label PRA, this album was recorded in 1994 but released in Feb 1995. Not only is Michael Thompson a reference point, but other axe-slingers like Eric Johnson, Craig Chaquico and Neal Schon have also released albums played in a similar vein to the material on 'Guitarland'. A wealth of players turn up to play: most of the Toy Matinee guys are here (Gilbert, Leonard, MacLeod) plus there is some melodic advice provided by Bob Marlette.

The Songs
Getting underway with 'I Made It So', many will be well reminded of Craig Chaquico's solo CD's on the Higher Octave label with this song. 'English Channel' will be well known to followers of Mark Spiro, this is one of his songs after all, though played as an instrumental. The acoustic/electric meandering of 'Woman Be True' lays down some shimmering but smooth guitar lines, but when Pierce soars it is truly exquisite! The title track shuffles along in a semi pop mode - the acoustic strumming offset by the jangly solo lines. One of my fave tunes here is the luscious 'Western Song', it's midwest/cornbelt stuff of the best kind. The accordion backing adds to its authenticity. Taking the funky road with a bit of organ work to keep it real is 'Return To You', while Bob Marlette's melodic hand is the guide on 'One Desire' which features some of his trademark moves. Another superb tune is the Eric Johnson like 'The Good Fight', though the ever-present accordions send it in a different direction altogether. 'Not The Man I Was' exudes anthemic qualities and would sound good as a vocal track if given the opportunity, while the closer 'Long Road Home' takes us for a walk (or at this tempo - more akin to a sprint!) down the old valley road - Tim Pierce style.

In Summary
A quite beautiful array of styles - with no gun slinger skills from his 80's heyday on display - thank goodness. What is presented is something quite unique, melodic and that word used before which I think is appropriate - exquisite. This is a CD for all guitar-heads to wrap their chops around, and to appreciate the style, tone and arrangement-nous of a studio guitar genius. Up to this point (2007), Pierce has not released another solo album since - perhaps it is time again..

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