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Non-Prog CD Reviews

TD Clark

Next Big Adventure

Review by Greg Olma

I had the pleasure of seeing TD Clark live opening up for Michael Schenker back in 2001. When I heard about this CD through a coworker, I thought to myself, “will it be as good as I remember it?” You see, I find it hard to listen to most guitar instrumental CDs. It’s not that they are bad but it is hard to keep my attention for 45 minutes without some lyrics to wrap my mind around. The thing that makes this record different is that it is full of songs. These are not just guitar solos with some riffs thrown in to give it the impression of songs. I am not a guitar player so there has to be more than just a great solo for me to return back to it for repeated plays. Michael Schenker knew just how to do it. “Into The Arena” and “Captain Nemo” are just 2 examples of song first/guitar solo second. Joe Satriani has created a legion of fans by doing it also. You can now add TD Clark to that list. This record is full of a variety of guitar styles and sounds but most of all, each piece of music is treated like a song with lyrics. Now the guitar may be “singing” those lyrics but, either way, there is a song structure that the general public can listen to. Sure, I would recommend this CD to all the gear-head guitar player but more importantly, I would recommend it to anyone who likes a variety of guitar music. This CD can be purchased at Clark's site or the site of his label.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2006 Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Seat 26D (Strap Yourself In)
As the title would suggest, this song has you feeling like you are taking off in a plane. The structure is very song-like yet it still is a guitar shred fest.
El Ave
This is a very Satriani sounding track that contains a lot of lead work as opposed to riffing.
Sevilla
Although there is a lot of lead work on this tune, its underlying sound is a Spanish style acoustic guitar. Even the lead guitar parts retain some of that Spanish style. As the piece moves along, it does get more rock sounding.
From The Top Of The Tour Eiffel
This song reminds me of Steve Vai’s “For The Love Of God.” It is not a shredding guitar song but more of an emotional guitar track. Each note means something and is given the room to breath.
Laundry In Madrid
Giving the listener a bit of a breather, this is a nice little acoustic track that goes off on tangents but keeps returning back to the main theme.
Play That Funky Music
I would not call this a cover version because it is too different. It is more of a remake. Cover songs are usually played like the original. Remakes are new interpretations of the original. This is a great remake. The guitar “sings” the lyrics and the playing should keep those shred fans happy.
Timanfaya
This is one of the more metal songs on the disc. It has an Yngwie Malmsteen vibe about it and it’s good but nothing as special as the tracks before it.
On The Canals Of Brugge
There is an acoustic guitar that holds down the rhythm on this mellow cut. The lead guitar playing is more of that emotional playing like on “From The Top Of The Tour Eiffel.” It is on these songs that TD shines.
Party In The ‘Dam
Although this is another metal tune, it is better than “Timanfaya.” It is a fast paced shred-fest of a rocker but yet TD Clark keeps it interesting.
Mohamed’s Daughter
The Joe Satriani comparison has to be applied to this tune. It is a mellower song and although the end section is bit too long, it is still one of the better tracks on offer here.
Shreddabilly
This is a shredding guitar piece with some country flavor thrown in. Now you know what they mean when they say “truth in advertising”. Just read the title and you know what you’re getting. 
Café Around The World
Of the acoustic tracks, this is the best one. It has a Euro feel about it which helps give this whole CD an international aura.
Bedtime For Ana
Coming in at just under 3 minutes, this simple yet effective tune reminds me of a lullaby. I can picture a Father playing this song by his child’s crib. That is one of the nice things about the songs on this CD. They are very visual.
Next Big Adventure
This track comes on like a punch in the face. It is a monster shred-fest that has a Euro-metal sound to it. He should have ended the record on this one.
Canon In D
Even though this acoustic track is upbeat, it is too long. Of all the tunes on offer, this is my least favorite.
 
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