Jim Matheos — Away with Words
(Metal Blade 3984-14275-2, 1999, CD)
by Sean McFee, Published 2000-10-01
This is, to the best of my knowledge, the first solo outing for Matheos, who is the guitarist and chief songwriter for progressive metal act Fates Warning. The style of that band is completely eschewed here in favor of a more contemplative, reflective work. Matheos sticks mainly to acoustic guitar, with much of the flavor coming from the violin work of Charlie Bisharat. Also helping out are Matheos' band-mate Mark Zonder on drums, as well as Michael Manring on bass. The music is completely instrumental, rarely aggressive, and sometimes beautiful. The back of the album recommends filing under "New Age/Jazz," which strikes me as a wholly inappropriate classification. I've heard little New Age with the intricate but subtle 6+4 pattern of "Mumbo Jumbo," for example. "Tongue Tied," on the other hand, sounds like good ol' hoe-down music, and one must fight the urge to punctuate the breaks with a hearty "Yee-ha!" Those who are attracted to quality instrumental work but who dislike the metal style would do well to check this out. It's definitely something best appreciated with repeated listening (in fact, on first listen I was relatively unmoved), as the hidden gems become more apparent. Jim Matheos deserves more respect in the progressive rock world, and this album might help get him some.
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more