Duke Levine

Nobody's Home

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Upon seeing that guitarist Duke Levine opens the instrumental Nobody's Home with a tune titled "Attack of the Mutant Guitars," one might assume that he is a Steve Vai/Joe Satriani type of instrumentalist -- "Attack of the Mutant Guitars" sounds like the sort of title that you would get from a forceful, hard-and-heavy guitar virtuoso like Vai or Satriani. Levine, like those fellow guitarists, is a rock instrumentalist, but that's where the similarity ends. While guitarists from the Vai/Satriani school of instrumental rock are hard rockers, Nobody's Home is not hard rock or heavy metal. Rather, Levine favors a more rootsy and down-home style of instrumental rock that owes a lot to the blues and '60s soul as well as country. There is a definite country twang in Levine's guitar playing, and it is especially strong on "Longhorn," "Remington Ride," and the rockabilly-minded "Shacklehands." Obviously, he is well aware of Chet Atkins and Merle Travis (two of country's greatest guitarists). But if Levine is a country-rock instrumentalist part of the time, he is also a convincing blues-rocker -- and he gets in some memorable slide work on his version of Woody Guthrie's "Vigilante Man." Meanwhile, Levine shows an awareness of the Meters and instrumental Southern soul on the Louisiana-friendly "Swamp Thing." And why shouldn't Levine have a wide variety of influences to draw on? There is no reason why someone who has been influenced by Travis and Atkins cannot also be influenced by the Meters and Booker T. & the MG's. All of Levine's influences serve him well on this enjoyable and fairly diverse CD.

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