For lovers of superb instrumental music, the debut by the California Guitar Trio, Yamanashi Blues, is one of the best of the '90s. Recorded strictly on amplified acoustic guitars (supplied by Bert Lams, Hideyo Moriya, and Paul Richards), the band touches upon a wide variety of musical genres, as they cover easily identifiable classical, surf, pop, and jazz tunes, with a few originals mixed in as well. Interestingly, all the songs on Yamanashi Blues were recorded in Bert Lams' living room. Great versions of '60s surf standards like "Walk Don't Run," "Pipeline," and "Sleepwalk" are included, as well as a few J.S. Bach pieces ("Prelude In C Minor," "Chromatic Fugue In D Minor," and others). The originals fit in perfectly with the cover material, such as Lams' "Carnival," Richards' "Blockhead," and Moriya's "Kan-non Power." Unlike most other instrumental albums, the California Guitar Trio stresses the importance of songwriting over instrumental technicality.
AllMusic Review by Greg Prato