On this release, the Hellecasters -- an amazing and highly skilled trio of guitarists -- take their third break in a decade from their regular projects to produce a CD of unpredictable and energetic instrumental music. The three core members are John Jorgenson, Jerry Donahue, and Will Ray. Jorgenson, a three-time Guitarist of the Year as voted by the Academy of Country Music, has worked with Bob Seger, Bonnie Raitt, Bob Dylan, the Byrds, Roy Orbison, John Prine, Michael Nesmith, and Elton John. Still, do not expect Top 40 riffs from Jorgenson on this recording. He wrote and plays all instruments on the bold-stroked progressive rock piece "As We Know It." His chops come through clearly on the first multi-bar solo on the hyper but cocktail-hip "Dieteris Lounge" (on which he plays vibes and wrote). Donahue also came from country music and is widely respected in the field -- he worked with George Harrison, Elton John, Robert Plant, Fairport Convention, and Roy Orbison. Donahue's forte is supernatural string-bending that even won the vocal praise of Danny Gatton. Ray can put Tom Jones, Steve Earle, Joe Walsh, Thomas Dolby and Solomon Burke on his resume. Ray equips himself with B-Benders and ring slides on both hands for an unusual and fluid melody line that snakes out of his original piece, "Mr. Natural." Most fans of serious fretwork will not be disappointed with this album.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Tom Schulte