Paul Gilbert / Freddie Nelson

United States

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While most of the guitarists that belonged to the '80s "shred" movement seemed to put instrumental virtuosity first (over writing memorable and hummable songs), there were a few exceptions -- notably Paul Gilbert. Of course, Gilbert can light up a fretboard with his chop-heavy technique when he so desires, but as evidenced with his work as part of Mr. Big, he can also pen an acoustic ditty or power ballad that will make housewives worldwide sing along. On his 2009 release, United States, Gilbert teams up with singer Freddie Nelson, for a set of rockin' tunes that leans heavy on the melodic side of things. Running the gamut from songs that would sound perfectly sung by a contestant on the now defunct Rockstar TV series ("Bad Times Good"), Mr. Big-style rock ("Pulsar"), synth-heavy new wave ("Girl from Omaha"), and Todd Rundgren-esque power pop ("I'm Not Addicted"), United States shows once more the many styles that the chameleon-like Gilbert can adapt to.

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