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Album Review: Doom Crew Inc. by Black Label Society

Black Label Society is back with album 11, aptly titled Doom Crew Inc. “Set You Free” opens the album with a sorrowful acoustic guitar that abruptly ends with Zakk Wylde’s signature chugging guitar riffs. “Set You Free” is one of the more radio friendly tracks on this record, but still packs a punch. “Destroy & Conquer” is a hellish blues metal track one could easily hear in a biker bar. The opening riff is a bit generic, but the slowed down doom riff during the song’s midsection and twin guitar leads save the song. “Forever And A Day” is an introspective ballad that shows Zakk’s soft side and is one of my favorite tracks on Doom Crew Inc. The chorus is beautifully haunting and the guitar solo heightens the feeling of loss. “End of Days” is eerily reminiscent of Alice In Chains, but is certainly not an imitation. The heavy, somber guitar riff hovers over the song like a dark cloud. Still, the dual guitars of Wylde and Dario Lorina are the track’s centerpiece as they transition from soft phrasing to sweeping arpeggios. The spirit of Black Sabbath overlooks the plodding “Gospel Of Lies.” The volcanic, foreboding opening riff sounds like something Tony Iommi wrote. The heavy blues jam during the bridge again showcases Wylde and Lorina fusing blues with shred to great effect. “Farewell Ballad” is a fitting closing. The downcast lyrics and weepy guitar evoke the reluctance of saying goodbye to a loved one. However, there is a feeling of acceptance as we realize that we have reached the end.

Doom Crew Inc. has great production. Zakk produced this album at his home studio, the Black Vatican. Each instrument is audible and the vocals sound fine. The guitars are the focal point of any Black Label Society album and they are loud and clear on this album. There is little to critique production wise.

Ultimately, BLS fans will enjoy Doom Crew Inc. The album is diverse offering cohesive blend of doom laden metal, sad ballads and blues tinged hard rock. Perhaps the one sticking point is the album’s 63 minute length. However, that is eclipsed by the band’s musicianship and the monolithic riffs of Wydle and Lorina. Doom Crew Inc. is a dedication to the band’s road crew and fans, and the band pull out all the stops on this one.

Check out the band’s offical website for news and tour dates


Live Photos: Eric Johnson in Atlanta March 11, 2020

On March 11, Eric Johnson played his “A Night with Eric Johnson Tour

At the Center Stage Theater in Atlanta.  TAM Photographer Chuck Holloway

was on hand to capture the evening.  For more tour dates, visit the Eric Johnson


Eric Johnson – The Center Stage – 2020


Interview: Paul Gilbert on ‘I Can Destroy’

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I had the honor of speaking on June 22 with Paul Gilbert, the guitarist for the bands Mr. Big and Racer X, as well as a highly respected and acclaimed solo musician.  He’s certainly one of my favorites.  You might recall that his newest solo album, I Can Destroy, just saw its United States release on May 27.  If that doesn’t ring a bell, head over and check out our review of it.  He sat down with me to discuss that album, along with a slew of other points such as how his writing process has changed since his first solo release, becoming a father, as well as giving consideration to the idea of working with former Racer X bandmate, Bruce Bouillet.  So come on in, grab a seat, and listen.


Buy I Can Destroy at: iTunes | Amazon | GooglePlay

For more on Paul Gilbert, visit:
Official Website
Rock Guitar School
Great Guitar Escape 3.0

CD Review: ‘I Can Destroy’ by Paul Gilbert

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Paul Gilbert is back!  Okay, so that makes it sound like he’s been gone, which isn’t fair in the slightest.  He’s certainly been getting around the last few years – releasing solo material; new music with Mr. Big; as well as hosting his highly acclaimed Rock Guitar school at ArtistWorks.  Yet, despite all this, he’s been severely absent in writing a lyric-based, Gilbert-fronted album as of late.   His recent solo endeavors have been either instrumental, half-lyrical and half instrumental, half covers, or Paul has taken a back seat on the microphone – as was the case of the truly stellar album, United States, featuring Freddie Nelson.  In fact, not since 2005’s Space Ship One have we gotten a truly 100 percent Paul Gilbert release.  And, my friends, there’s nothing quite like it!

Gilbert’s new album, I Can Destroy, was released in Japan December 2015 and will grace the U.S. on Friday, May 27.  Now, before I get started, let me tell you that I’ve been a fan of Paul’s music for over 10 years.  He has been one of my absolute favorites, whether going into a frenzy with Racer X, tinting our minds in Mr. Big, or burning organs in his solo career.  He has this delightful talent of bringing us not only music infused with technicality, but with soul and laughter to boot.  It is with this mindset that I dove into this new release.

The key component to any Paul Gilbert album is, in my opinion, that it’s fun!  Paul has a wonderfully diverse sense of humor, evidenced in the past by songs such as “Boku No Atama” and “I Am Satan;” the former a nonsensical tune sung in Japanese and the latter a tale of finding love in the most unexpected of places.  That same humor is presented immediately to the listener here in “Everybody Use Your Goddamn Turn Signal,” a track that I imagine will surely find a welcome home in commuter traffic in the near future.  Then there’s the tongue-in-cheek “I’m Not The One (Who Wants To Be With You),” which takes a stab at Gilbert’s Mr. Big hit, “To Be With You.”  And while neither last, nor least, there is “Blues Just Saving My Life,” in which seemingly everyone, past and present, is attempting to kill our dear hero.  And it is surely suitable that Blues are the saving grace here, as this album is quite heavily invested in that sound.

I just want to touch on a few of my stand-out tracks.  Firstly, two members of Gilbert’s band at present are the previously mentioned Freddie Nelson, as well as another vocalist and guitar player, Tony Spinner.  Both of these men lend their wonderful vocal chords to quite a few tracks, such as “Knocking On A Locked Door,” complementing Gilbert’s own singing and keeping the album fresh to the ears.  Then there’s “I Will Be Remembered,” which I feel should include a parenthetical (The Villian’s Song), telling the tale of a man who loves and leaves tears in his wake.  But truly topping my favorites off this album is the title track, “I Can Destroy,” a throwback if I’ve ever heard one to Gilbert’s days in Racer X, with a bombastic drum intro, duel guitar motif’s, and fret-burning solos.  When he says, “…and this guitar is built to play,” he isn’t kidding in the least!

So coming back once more to that key component: is the album fun?  Spoiler alert, the answer is yes!  While not boiling over with upbeat tunes, and even slowing down on occasion with poignant tracks like “Love We Had,” there is still an overwhelmingly joyous feeling that flows from the songs on this album.  And while this release isn’t as over the top as some of Paul’s previous releases in terms of goofiness, there’s a consistent smirking quality that is apparent on many of the tracks presented here.  So don’t expect to find another Alligator Farm or Burning Organ; he’s been there, done that.  What you can expect, however, is a great collection of songs featuring some wicked musicianship and lots of guitar action.  I Can Destroy is honestly my favorite Paul Gilbert release in some time.  Go grab a copy, but make sure to use your turn signal.

Buy I Can Destroy at: iTunes | Amazon | GooglePlay
Guitar Escape 3.0 Guitar Camp (July 25-29, 2016): Learn More Here

For more on Paul Gilbert, visit:
Official Website
Rock Guitar School


CD Review: ‘Suicide Society’ by Annihilator

Annihilator founder and guitarist Jeff Waters has made it to album no. 15 with Suicide Society. Not only is this the band’s 15th release, it is also to first album since 1997 where Waters handles lead vocals. This is not a plus or a negative, as Annihilator is known for stellar guitar work and off the wall thrash rather than vocals. The title track is a bleak commentary about the state of the world. Waters channels his inner Dave Mustaine as this track could be on a Megadeth record. The main riff is simple and grooves along before Waters rips a wild solo over a trashing tempo. Things speed up quickly on “My Revenge” with its meat hook riff and pulsating drums. This is old school thrash done right, with a melodic break in the middle. “Snap” slows things down with a swinging beat and eerie bassline. The urgent chorus and heavy guitar makes this a standout track. The manic “Narcotic Avenue” fits the song title as it deals with drug addiction and its effect on a person. The song twists and turns with off beat time signatures and distorted guitar effects.

Suicide Society’s production is very crunchy. Although Annihilator is a guitar oriented band, the bass and drums also share center stage. The effects are minimal, as the group prioritizes musicianship over mood. This works, as all four members are accomplished musicians and the songwriting is solid. There is a slight sense of cheesiness though, as the album has an 80s feel to it. However, there is nothing outdated about Suicide Society.

Die-hard Annihilator fans will enjoy the record. It has the thrash and top notch guitar work the band has been noted for since 1984. Suicide Society is also a great starting point for those unfamiliar with Annihilator. The songs are heavy and the musicianship is tight. The world may be on the brink of collapse, but Annihilator is going on strong.

For news and tour dates check out the band’s website:


Interview with Carter Gravatt from Carbon Leaf

All photos courtesy of Elmo Thamm.

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I had the great pleasure of sitting and speaking with Carter Gravatt of the Richmond, VA. band Carbon Leaf on the April 19. Aside from playing acoustic and electric guitar in the band, Carter also mans the mandolin, violin, banjo, bouzouki, lap steel, cello, and a number of other instruments (he’s in the market for a nyckelharpa). After we knocked out the usual topics such as Game Of Thrones banter, we were able to get into the meat and potatoes of the band and their newest PledgeMusic project, Love, Loss, Hope, Repeat‘s revamping. We also took the time to discuss the making of their last release, Indian Summer Revisited, and a ton of other musician-specific questions, as well as some random oddities. For the full hour and a half audio interview, check out the provided Youtube video (opening it up in its own window provides a Table Of Contents to skip to specific topics). Below, however, is a transcription of some of the highlights, with a focus on the band and their current project!

What’s been going on with you and the band for the last four months?

January we had a little bit of downtime. We usually have a little bit of time off at the first of the year. We had the Rock Boat and we also had been working on a record project which has just now come to light. We were re-recording Love, Loss, Hope, Repeat. So we were starting that earlier in the year. Then we had shows throughout March – some stuff in February – and April we’ve had, for the most part, off. It’s kind of a vacation as we get ready for this Summer. Terry is mixing and working on the record and I’m fixing stuff – shipping instruments away to get fixed – and getting ready for the Summer to start it all over.

On how Carbon Leaf makes setlists:

We’ll show up at a venue and go in and take a look, especially if it’s a place we haven’t played before, and decide what kind of show it’s going to be. Is it going to be a rock show? Is it going to be an acoustic show? Will it be something in between? Once we do that then Barry will make the setlist and he’ll go through the setlist with me and decide what kind of instruments he wants on what songs. And hopefully I can play it!

So is that something you decide on the day of the show?

Yeah, absolutely! Every day is a little bit different. On any tour there will be a core of songs that we want to play or that we’ll fall into a groove with, where everybody is on the same page and playing it well. But we’ll take a look at the last time we were out on the road and what we played. Barry has a list of all the shows, all the venues, all the setlists, and we’ll look and see what we played last time we were in town and the time before that. Then we’ll go through and try to come up with a good list of songs and have the core things that people want to hear, but still have some stuff that we haven’t played, have some new stuff, and try to make a pretty creative list out of it. But yeah, that all happens once we get to the venue.

As you said at the beginning, Love, Loss, Hope, Re-Repeat?  Something like that?

Repeat Repeat, or something like that. I’m not sure we’ve settled on anything, haha! Repeat Again?

You guys recently just came off of doing Indian Summer Revisited last year and touring behind that. And now you’re working on Love, Loss, Hope, Repeat’s sequel, so to speak, but this one you said is going to be less faithful to the original songs. You’re going to mess around with it some more?

Absolutely! This one is going to be very different. There are a few things about it that I’m really excited about. There’s a tune called “Block Of Wood” on there and it’s actually, unless it’s been edited without my knowledge, actually has all the words in it now. That tune, I was always a little bummed that we sliced out some of the lyrics, because I didn’t feel like it made quite as much sense. But it’s a great song and now I think the full lyrics are in there.

When we made that record originally it was the first time we did a record not at home or in a studio that we could control the amount of time we had to work on it. The label said, “Look, we need the record by this date.” That was also the first time we’d ever had someone tell us when we had to have something done. We were kind of used to taking our time. We had been on the road touring intensely behind Indian Summer ever since it had come out. We hadn’t had the chance to stop and really develop the songs. The songs that we’d started to develop would be the songs that would end up on How The West Was One, so that was kind of where we were and that was our headspace at the time. A lot more ambient, kind of dreamy material. “Texas Stars” was slated for How The West Was One, “Under The Wire”, some of those songs. So they were kind of supposed to be part of a different project that we didn’t have time to work with at the same time.

We were up against the wall and we went to Nashville to record [Love, Loss, Hope, Repeat] with a producer who was really great, but we had the wrong batch of songs for what we needed to put out at the time and we didn’t have time to finish them. A lot of it, to me, I hear that stuff we didn’t get to put on the record and I feel like we finally got to straighten things out and do the versions of the songs that we would have done, had we had time. There are some things about the original recording of the record that I really do like. “Texas Stars”, the version on the original, I really enjoyed. It was a little bit more aggressive than the original treatment of the tune. There are little things, going back and listening to it, there were things that I really liked.  Like “Royal One” was actually, I think, captured in one take. That was Jordan, the drummer, and myself just playing in the studio together. But yeah, there are things I like, but I’m way more excited about finishing up with the new one.

Photo Courtesy of Elmo Thamm

I really do like the record the way it stands, but I know that there are things that you guys have said about it. That it was a very weird time for you all in the studio. 

It really was. It was just a lot of different things coming at once. There was the label saying, “We need the record.” There was the producer saying, “We’re not going to have time to do this record the way they want to do it.” Us finishing up our time at Nashville and not having the time to take it home…we basically like to get started, let things percolate, play some stuff and see how it sounds – see if it’s come around – and work from there.  So we were really out of our comfort zone with that. And during mastering,…Barry threw his back out and was singing literally right up to mastering, sitting across the street on a couch with ice on his back in a hotel room with Terry. But it was really, really rushed.

Do you feel that the new release of this is going to be different simply based on choice, or also because you have people that weren’t there originally, like Jason and Jon, now taking their own personality and putting it on the songs?

There’s some of that and the songs are going to be different.  It’ll be a pretty different sounding record. It’s just one of those things where, when we did Indian Summer Revisited it was nice to have that record as our own again and not be associated with our former label. We had talked about revisiting some of the older stuff, like Echo Echo, a while back.  It was one of those things like, “You know, when we get time…” We have a lot of those. The thought to redo the other two Vanguard records has always been…you know, we’ve always wanted another shot at Love, Loss, Hope, Repeat, and we just said, while we’re doing this let’s go back in a re-record Love, Loss… the way we wanted. Because with Indian Summer Revisited we really wanted to be as truthful to the original as possible, because that’s what we wanted. We wanted to have those songs back, and just to have the record again just to be able to sell to fans. We haven’t sold any of the Vanguard records since they sold out years ago.  It’s just cost ineffective for us. We don’t sell our CDs for more than $10 at a show, so with the amount we had to pay the label for the CDs, shipping, and then venue percentages, and damaged goods, we were basically paying people a few bucks to take the CDs. We thought we should do something about that. But we wanted Indian Summer Revisited to be very close to the original and I think we did a good job of trying not to ruin it for people. I hope we didn’t!  Our hope is not to ruin it for people that liked the original.

To me, the new one sounds fresh, but it’s close enough that I have a hard time telling the two apart.

There are little nuances that you don’t really notice are there at all until they’re not there. And then you’re like, “Wait a minute, something’s missing.” We wanted to minimize those, but there were some things we wanted to not be there. We used drum loops a lot on the original, because we had to, and we wanted to completely avoid that when we re-recorded it. And a couple of other little things, but overall I feel like it was a very honest and truthful recreation of that album. And it was kind of interesting to go back and listen to that record, because I haven’t listened to that record in years! And then to learn a lot of the same parts that I would have improvised in the studio the first time and I had to go back and learn them! That was an interesting challenge. And trying to figure out what I would have used to get some of the sounds to be as similar as we could. Of course, the funny part of that was that a guy that was working on the project with us videoed a lot of it and the video showed up about two months after we were done re-recording. It was like, “Man, I really could have used that a couple of months ago.” Because it’s got a video of all the amps I was using, a bunch of pedals and the order I had them set up in, which was really hard to figure out when you’re just listening to things. Cause there were a few things in there, especially in songs like “The Sea” and “Paloma”, where there are a lot of really effect-y guitars that don’t even necessarily sound like a guitar. So trying to figure out all I’d done, and of course this video surfaces after we’re done and it shows me doing half of it…I was like, “I really could have used that a few months ago.”

You buy the IKEA table, you put it together, and then someone shows up with the instructions.

Yeah, yeah! Like, “Huh, so that’s what happens when you put the legs on top.”

You hardly notice!

Yeah, you hardly notice. It does sit on the floor and it’s really weird, but…it was a lot of fun to do that. And Love, Loss, Hope, Repeat and anything else that we redo, will be a departure from the record unlike Indian Summer RevisitedLove, Loss, Hope, Repeat was the opposite, and I look forward to people hearing it! We’ll see what people think.

Photo Courtesy of Elmo Thamm
On a record of new material:

Barry has been writing. We’ve got 300 to 500 pieces of unfinished music that are just waiting to be finished up. It also crossed a lot of different…I don’t want to say genres.

More than one mood?

Oh yeah, tons! And that’s what Barry does. He separates it all out into his own moods. I’m not sure what he’s writing to right now. I know he’s been working on stuff for a while. Usually when he has a batch of songs done, he’ll bring them back to us and we’ll start picking through and figuring out what we’ll do. That’s what we were going to do with Constellation Prize, but when he brought back the batch of songs there was a chunk that had that Irish thing going and a chunk that was what would ultimately become Constellation Prize. We said, “Alright, let’s stop right here and divide this up and make two albums that kind of make sense together, but not intermingle the two.” So then we wrote out the rest of what would be Ghost Dragon Attacks Castle and then wrote out the rest of Constellation Prize. That way we had two different things and not taking a half of each, putting them together, and going, “Wow, this is a really non-cohesive blob of songs.”

You were talking about Barry bringing batches of songs and you guys going through them. Is that normally how the writing process for the band works?  

There are a couple of different ways, but essentially we’ll write the music and then give it to Barry at various stages of “doneness.” Sometimes it’ll be a mandolin piece or a guitar thing, and sometimes it’ll be things that we’ve fleshed out with the whole band and be kind of a finished song. But he’s got all of that and then he’ll pick through and find what he likes and we might start to sketch out some ideas with him. Or he’ll come back to us and say, “I like this and I like this. What I want in here…how about a bridge?” or “Can you take this part out and add in something from this other song?” It’s kind of like Legos! But you know, once things start to move towards becoming a song we’ll maneuver around what he wants to do with it. And some things will be done and he’ll come back with exactly what we gave him and he’ll have written lyrics and it’s done.

For instance, the song “She’s Gone” off of Ghost Dragon Attacks Castle. That was done pretty much exactly like the demo. And “Love Rains Down.”  “Ragtime Carnival,” I think, was another one that he just came back with…that’s the most fun ever, actually, is that first time we get together, we’ll sketch out the structure, and we’ll play through it. And to hear what Barry has come up with over what you’ve written is…man, that’s just the best ever.  I love that part. It’s the best part of the creative process for me. Like the first time we played through “The War Was In Color.” I was just standing there with my jaw hanging open, going “Could you…could you say that again?  Could we do that again, just so I can catch all the word again?” Or, I remember the first time we played “What About Everything?” and going “Wow, I think people are going to like that!” Or “One Prairie Outpost”…so many other songs. It’s so much fun. The first time to hear it and to be there.

Because you guys don’t discuss what the subject matter is going to be before Barry brings it back to you, do you?

Uh, sometimes! Sometimes with some of the stuff I’ve written I’ll tell Barry what I’m feeling or what I’d like to hear for a song. And that’s also amazing, to be able to have a little input. And whether or not it works out for that song, he always files that stuff away in his mind and it’s a really amazing thing. Some stuff off How The West Was One was a lot of stuff that I wrote on my own and had ideas for some of it. I’m always impressed when he comes back with words for it, because I sure can’t write them, heh!

It’s like, “You get me, man. You get me.”

“Yeah, man! You understand me. No one else does, but you get me!” Haha! But yeah, man, it’s fun. That’s one of the greatest things, is finishing songs.

Carbon Leaf - RagTimeCarnival_2015Next month, May 15 and 16, you guys have the Ragtime Carnival Campout. You did this last year and you’re doing it again. You’re going to have bands like Ben Daniel’s Band, Mandolin Orange…

Red Wanting Blue is coming. Trigger Hippie. Golly, I can’t remember the line-up now. But yeah, it’s going to be a lot of fun.

This is going to take place at Pocahontas State Park in Chesterfield, Vir. Can you tell us a little bit about where the idea came from, how last year went, and what you guys are planning for this year?

Well, to set it up we used to do a luau and campout…man, it must have been about 10 years ago. We did all the work ourselves.  It was a real ordeal to put it on. It would basically be one day of shows in which you’d camp out and the band would cook you breakfast and then you split the next day. But we just got too overwhelmed once Indian Summer started rolling and just didn’t have the time to put in to make it happen. We wanted to revisit it for a long time and just didn’t have the venue, because the place we were having it closed down. It was an island that was in the middle of the James River, which was great, but it got to the point where you couldn’t put on a show there. So we didn’t have the venue and we didn’t have the time. I guess a promoter approached Barry about two years ago and we had a real good time doing it, and a good turnout. Especially for the first year of doing something like that. I wasn’t completely sure if we were going to do it again and then found out last fall that we were definitely having it again.

The first day, you’ll show up Friday and there’ll be two stages. One is at the bottom of the hill and the other up on top, and it’s a little bit smaller. Slightly more acoustic acts will play up there, but there will always be someone playing. The main stage, someone will play, and then while the changeover is going on the other stage will be going.  Then after the show…I think we’re going to try and do a bonfire this year. We were going to try last year but we had some logistic problems. Then the next day the music will start about lunchtime. I think [Carbon Leaf] will start with an acoustic set on the small stage and then a closing set on the main stage that night. It’ll be all day. There’s great trails; I took my bike last year and rode a bunch. Yeah, great stuff to do and really pretty. The weather was really amazing last year, which makes me think this year will be terrible. You can’t get that lucky all the time! But yeah, I was excited about it last year and I’m really excited about it this year.

You mentioned trail biking. You guys have some interesting Pledge Rewards for the new Love, Loss, Hope, Repeat Pledge Music campaign. 

Haha, yeah!

You can go fishing with Jason, and he’ll even clean your catch for you if you want to keep it; Jon is offering intro boxing/juijitsu lessons.

Juijitsu probably, yeah! He is super big into that stuff!

And you can do a 30 minute guitar lesson with you or Terry, and you have a Mountain Biking reward, where people can go out with you and mountain bike. I’m taking that this is kind of a big hobby for you.

You know, well, I do try to go riding. So, if somebody gets it we’ll go out and get a cup of coffee, drive out to one of my favorite spots, and ride for a couple of hours. Then probably go get some barbeque or go to one of my favorite little dive restaurants and get a late lunch. Then I’ll happily send them on their way, hopefully dusty and dirty, but nothing broken.  Yeah, it’s going to be fun!


For more on Carbon Leaf, visit:
Official Website
Love, Loss, Hope, Repeat, Re-… Campaign

Bonus – What is Carter listening to right now?
Planxty – “Smeceno Horo” from After The Break

CD Review: ‘Caught Between a Truth and a Lie’ by Andy Wood

Knoxville, TN – Guitar guru Andy Wood may be recognized as the multi-talented lead guitarist for Scott Stapp (founding frontman of multi-platinum rockers Creed), but is charging out on his own with a brand new, 24-track (acoustic/electric) double album, entitled Caught Between The Truth and a Lie, out today via HOLMZ Music/Andy Wood Music LLC.

The guitar playing on Caught Between a Truth and a Lie is inspirational, aggressive, and sometimes down right scary. The bluegrass songs have a Django on speed quality bringing a legendary feel to a down home feel. “Goodnight Moon” was a pleasant surprise with its motherly singing and comforting tone. “Alternate Crossing” has a Doyle Dykes kind of feel. “Time” brings to mind a progressive rock and is followed by the grungier sounding “Dust and Ashes” making quite an unusual blend “A Lie,” “Tokyo,” and “Of Elf and Man” are classic shredstrumentals in style of Vai and Malmsteen. “Got a Light” is bursting through with Black Label society, but with John Petrucci adding to the Wylde event. “The Ballad of Ricky and Cal” seems to be following John 5’s footsteps. “Sugar Hill Road” and “The Cowboy Rides Away” are in the bendier style of playing like pedal steel player and countless guitar players.

With one listen to Caught Between a Truth and a Lie, it’s clear that Andy Wood has it all and more.

Ottmar Liebert Played to a Packed Variety Playhouse on June 11

Ottmar Liebert


Born in Cologne, Germany to Chinese-German father and Hungarian mother, Ottmar Liebert began playing guitar at 11, and traveled extensively through Europe and Asia intent on fully absorbing each musical tradition he encountered. After pursuing his Rock and Roll dreams first in his native Germany and then in Boston, he abandoned the frustrations of the East coast and settled in Santa Fe, New Mexico.


Ottmar has said that “flamenco is a music both romantic and dangerous; it is an attitude as much as it is a musical genre.” Therein lies the philosophy that catapulted him to fame at the end of the ’80s with an engaging mix of subdued flamenco guitar and south American percussion, rock, jazz and pop influences. His attitude actually suppresses the more challenging and “dangerous” aspects of flamenco in favor of the romantic – and the stylish. He’s not a technical wizard on the guitar, but he has a feel for the music’s innate sensuality and a gift for creating memorable melodies.  His new CD is entitled three-oh-five.


Jon Gagan, Ottmar Liebert and Chris Steele.

Jon Gagan, Ottmar Liebert and Chris Steele.

Ottmar Liebert plays with focus, intent and bare feet.

Ottmar Liebert plays with focus, intent and bare feet.

The multi-talented Chris Steele.

The multi-talented Chris Steele.

Creative percussion.

Creative percussion.

Ottmar Liebert welcomes the audience and introduces his band.

Ottmar Liebert welcomes the audience and introduces his band.



Jon Gagan on bass.

Ottmar Liebert in "the zone."

Ottmar Liebert in “the zone.”

Jon Gagan.

Jon Gagan.

Ottmar's strategically placed sandals.

Ottmar’s strategically placed sandals.

Romantic and dangerous flamenco.

Romantic and dangerous flamenco.

Chris Steele on cajon.

Chris Steele on cajon.

He’s not a technical wizard on the guitar, but Ottmar  has a feel for the music’s innate sensuality.

He’s not a technical wizard on the guitar, but Ottmar has a feel for the music’s innate sensuality.


For more information about Ottmar Liebert, visit

For more information about Variety Playhouse, visit