Carl Verheyen

Atlas Overload

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This is guitarist/vocalist Carl Verheyen's fifth album as a leader and first for his own label. The guitarist spent a fairly long apprenticeship before going out on his own. Verheyen has appeared as a sideman on albums of such diverse artists as the Bee Gees, Cher, and Dave Grusin. He has also become one of the most sought-after studio guitarists, having played on the soundtracks of more than 200 TV shows. But it was his work as lead guitarist with the British rock group Supertramp that gave a jump-start to his career. Atlas Overload represents a departure from his previous albums, as Verheyen limits the application of electronic wizardry to as few overdubs as possible to reveal the band's sound unvarnished by extraneous gimmickry. One tune on which the judicious use of overdubbing is applied is "Nordenham," where a second set of drums is created for their pulling-out-all-the-stops ending on this tune. Verheyen's playing shows the influence of Robben Ford; that's not surprising since he spent some time with Ford's group as second guitarist. But on this album, Verheyen shows that he has become his own musical master as he runs the gamut from the funky blues "Chinatown" to out-and-out rock with smearing guitars on "Stand Up." In between, Verheyen shows he can turn off the power and be credible as an acoustic guitar player on "Mumba." With bass player Cliff Hugo, his playing here borders on the classical. His Supertramp influence is revealed on "Confident Lie," where the singing and playing have that distinctive British rock sound. One of the most attractive tracks on the album is "Wasted Blues," recalling the blues and R&B tradition from Chuck Berry to Elvis Presley. Verheyen should do more tunes of this sort. Verheyen has earned recognition from his peers, as he received the Best Studio Guitarist award from the readers of Guitar magazine. The high-voltage playing on his latest album should lead to further accolades.

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