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Brian Tarquin

Brian Tarquin Project - Vegas Blue

Review by Gary Hill

You can always count on Brian Tarquin to put together some strong projects, This is no exception. More often than not you can count on those projects to include a lot of interesting guests. Again, that's the case here. Musically his projects are perhaps a little less simple to pin down. You can always count on some great guitar work, but beyond that some variety comes to bear. This one leans toward progressive rock pretty heavily. I'd probably land it under that heading anyway, but when you add the fact that a number of the musicians here are prog artists, that becomes an even more obvious choice. However you slice this, though, it's a strong release.

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Track by Track Review
Distant Light (featuring Steve Morse & Hal Lindes)
Coming in rather symphonic and dramatic, this works out with a great prog texture and sound. It shifts toward harder rocking sounds as it moves forward. It gets into some rather AOR zones. Yet, the symphonic elements remain as a driving force throughout. Steve Morse provides one of the guitar solos on this number. The instrumental is a driving and dynamic cut. There is a drop back later in the piece, but they make their way back out of it from there.
Lights of Las Vegas (featuring Phil Naro & Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal)
This thing is screaming hot. It's a real metal meets prog powerhouse with an AOR edge. I love the vocals (Phil Naro) on this thing. The tune has such powerful instrumental work, too. There is a drop back to a mellower, more melodic movement, but it fires out into a furious section from there that makes me think of Dream Theater just a bit. There is a drop back to just vocals at the end. Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal provides the last guitar solo on this number.
Demonic (featuring Trey Gunn)
The riff that opens this thing really makes me think of Black Sabbath quite a bit. As the vocals join I'm reminded of Black Label Society. While there are proggy angles to this, it's one track I wouldn't consider to be prog. That said, it's a real powerhouse, and the fact that Trey Gunn provides bass brings it more into a prog heading.
Tomorrow's Another Day (featuring Phil Naro)
More of an AOR balladic cut, there are still prog angles present here. There are parts of this that feel a bit like the kind of thing Billy Sherwood writes. There are definitely some Beatles-like moments. There is a smoking hot guitar solo, too.
Vegas Blue
Coming in with some echoey, fusion-like music, this drifts out from there with a lot of style and charm. I'm reminded in some ways of Robin Trower's music, and particularly the Bridge of Sighs album. As highly as I regard that set, it's high praise from me. This is a killer instrumental that includes some expressive guitar soloing.
Evil In Men's Hearts (featuring Tony Carey)
Another instrumental, this is a high-energy and rather crazed jam that has a lot of jazz built into it. It also has some potent guitar soloing. That said, there are some soaring keyboard showcased bits (courtesy of Tony Carey), as well. I also love the saxophone solo on this tune.
Forgiveness (featuring Phil Naro)
A melodic cut, this has more of a mainstream rock vibe to it. I dig the vocals on the piece quite a bit. The guitar solo on this has a real blues rock meets guitar hero vibe to it.
Know Me (featuring Phil Naro)
Hard rocking, while also decidedly proggy, this works to more of a mainstream pop rock vibe for the entrance of the vocal.
Hallowed Ground (featuring Trey Gunn)
There is a killer metallic edge and heaviness to this number. Trey Gunn is providing bass on this piece. There is a decidedly fusion-like element to this instrumental. It gets into some more serious prog zones as it works through, too. The guitar soloing is on fire at times. The whole tune just has a cool rubbery kind of groove to it.
Run for Cover (featuring Phil Naro & The Flyin' Ryan Bros)
A bouncy energy drives this rocker. It has so much charm and style. The vocal hooks rock, too.
Distant Light (Vocal Reprise) (featuring Phil Naro, Steve Morse & Hal Lindes)
Symphonic prog based, this thing is a powerhouse number that works really well. It's proggy, but also heavy. As you might guess, this is a rework of the opening number.
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