Born and bred in Montreal, guitarist Tino Izzo may be the best guitarist you've never heard of. That may be due to never touring or being on a label best known for new age when his music crosses all borders, from flamenco to jazz to rock. Or maybe it's the generic artwork on his albums throughout the 1990s. Now making a push towards the mainstream, Izzo's wildly eclectic Nostalgia Trails introduces listeners to key tracks from three previous releases (two put out under the pseudonym One), plus a few new tracks, including a crazed, trip-hop-flavored, densely percussive steel guitar jam of the Beatles' normally staid "And I Love Her." The stylistic mix is apparent from the first few tracks. The crisp, Spanish-flavored plucking over pitter-patter percussion on "Bogota Nights" shows off Izzo's sweeping lovelorn side, while the sizzling, steel string-driven rock instrumental ballad "The New Adventures of Johnny Guitar" will bring Neal Schon's great Higher Octave work to mind. "The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe" is a slight rhythmic downer after these aforementioned songs, a simple, folksy ballad that showcases Izzo's best talent: composing. The title track finds a Methenyesque lead acoustic line flowing smoothly over a harmony track full of Irish pennywhistle and Hammond B-3. Sometimes his titles are deceiving; "Samba Del Viento" seems to promise a lively Latin romp but instead is a mournful ballad with a steel guitar, dripping tears down upon a moody synth atmosphere.
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AllMusic Review by Jonathan Widran