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Lyle Workman

Uncommon Measures

Review by Gary Hill

This instrumental album is one focused largely on guitar. Lyle Workman's guitar, though, is accompanied by an orchestra. This is symphonic prog that works extremely well. There is a wide range, and it leans toward fusion at times. I really like this album a lot.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2021  Volume 3. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2021.

Track by Track Review
North Star
This comes in with a cool mainstream rock vibe. The cut features some pretty impressive guitar work and some great progressive rock shifts and changes. There are some great contrasting movements and the symphonic elements really push it all over the top. I can hear some hints of things like Yes in this song. Some of the later guitar sounds make me think of Trevor Rabin to a large degree.
All the Colors of the World
The opening portions of this remind me just vaguely of Holst's "Mars." This is a mellower cut that has a lot of drama and some jazzy stylings along with classical. The number moves well beyond its origins. It turns to a more energetic and moving progression later. The guitar work on this gets into some pretty crazed zones at times. I love the section later that is essentially built around the orchestral parts augmenting the guitar solo. The acoustic guitar soloing that follows that is also noteworthy.
Noble Savage
The symphonic prog concepts at the start of this are fast-paced and soaring. This is a complex number that again makes me think of Yes to some degree. It shifts out into some pure fusion jamming beyond the opening movement. The changes continue as the track drives forward.
Arc of Life
Coming in mellow and reflective, this gets into some seriously classical zones as it works outward. It eventually shifts toward more rock based stuff, continuing the prog rock traditions in style. This is the epic of the set at almost ten-and-a-half minutes of music. That time is put to good use with all kinds of different themes and movements. This is a symphonic prog tour-de-force that has some hints of fusion at points. The symphonic bombast gets so powerful at times along this road.
Imaginary World
Rocking guitar starts the cut, but horns bring a jazzy kind of groove with them as they enter. This thing is up-tempo and pretty fun. It's probably more jazz and fusion than it is anything else.
Unsung Hero
I love the powerhouse jazz jamming on thsi tune. The cut soars into more symphonic classical zones, but retains a fusion concept at its heart when it does. There is some scorching hot guitar work screaming over the top of this later.
Labyrinth of Love
This shorter piece is more straightforward. It is essentially a mellow guitar solo with augmentation from the orchestral instrumentation. It's a nice change of pace.
Rise and Shine
More driving energy is on the menu here. This tune has some particularly noteworthy acoustic guitar soloing, and it builds outward with a lot of style and groove. It's another with plenty of fusion built into it.
Our Friendship
While in some ways this song is mellower, the electric guitar soloing over the top soars in a more rocking way. The sedate symphonic elements make a good contrast. Those dominate parts of the piece, too. This creates a nice grounding effect to end the album.
 
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