Steve Howe

Homebrew

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AllMusic Review by

Homebrew is a unique album from Steve Howe in that it's composed of rough first drafts and acoustical attempts at songs that went on to become quite famous. While some of the songs here were adopted by GTR and Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe, many of the others stem from Howe's past solo albums, making Homebrew a splendid collection of his work. For example, "Sketches in the Sun" was released on GTR's first album and was also played by Asia during their 1983 tour. Many of the songs on Homebrew were recorded using an eight-track recorder, with a few of them in mono, but this takes nothing away from the undefiled beauty that develops from Howe's playing. The natural imagery gathered throughout "Rare Birds" by way of three types of keyboards and a single guitar is breathtaking. The same type of atmosphere is embarked upon during "Barren Land," as musical impressions of primitive man and his vast world are woven together with smooth guitar and delicate keyboards. Howe plays a multitude of stringed instruments throughout the album, including steel and synth guitars, bass guitars, and mandolin, adding fresh differentiation to all of the tracks. Howe's days with Yes resonate on every song, but it's his touch of fragile fingering and his soft, enticing riffs that fill this set with absolute splendor.

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