Thursday, December 22, 2011

My fave albums of 2011

Here's a paradox for you: The better an album is, the less I listen to it. In making a list of my favorite albums of 2011, I can easily identify the best records of the year by the one's I've listened to the least. They're the albums I most want to savor and so, to make each listen a special experience, I ration how often I listen rather than overdose on them. That's certainly true of my top 10 fave albums of the year, which I've listed below. (Only studio albums released in 2011 qualify for the list which is why great live albums such as Jeff Beck's Rock 'n' Roll Party and Gary Moore's Live at Montreux 2010 didn't make the cut.)

In compiling my wholly subjective list, I must stress that only the top 20 or so albums fit roughly into an order of preference. After that, the rest of the list is haphazardly arranged. After all, it's difficult to truly scale an order of ranking between albums of such disparate genres. Indeed, my list spans genres including indie rock, blues, world music, electronica, progressive rock, metal, folk, and Americana.

I'm sure my list of fave albums has gaps in it. because there are doubtless many great albums that I haven't heard. That's not for lack of trying. I'm constantly seeking out new music by listening to albums sent by publicists, reading music reviews by great music journalists—some of whom I am proud to call my friends—such as The Guardian's Alexis Petridis (@alexispetridis), The Chicago Tribune's Greg Kot (@gregkot), Rolling Stone's Simon Vozick-Levinson (@simonwilliam), Under the Radar's Laura Studarus (@laura_studarus), Laura Ferreiro (@Lauralista), The Wall Street Journal's Jim Fusilli (@wsjrock) and Innerviews' Anil Prasad (@innerviews). I also rely on the great counsel of my old friend and music guru, Simon Gort. (Follow Simon on Twitter at @sgort100.)

For Christmas, my friend Simon gave me Amplifier's rock epic The Octopus and it is a late entry into my list. He also sent me Apparat's The Devil's Walk after I expressed how much I loved a track on it called "Escape." I haven't had time to listen to it, yet, so it's not in my top 50 list. There are many albums released this year that I've only heard parts of, or given a cursory listen on Spotify, and wish I could delve into further, including:

tUnE-yArDs—whokill, Tom Waits—Bad as Me, Bass Communion—Cenotaph, Rival Sons—Pressure and Time, Ryan Adams—Ashes & Fire, Jimmie Vaughan—Plays More Blues, Ballads and Favorites, Ry Cooder—Pull Up Some Dust, Necro Deathmort—Music of Bleak Origin, Eddie Vedder—Ukelele Songs, Steve Cropper—Dedicated, Wye Oak—Civilian.

So much great music, so little time.

Ok, enough preamble.


1. Steven Wilson—Grace for Drowning

Though he is best known as the leader of the British band Porcupine Tree, Steven Wilson’s extracurricular activities include the art-rock group No-Man, the pop-rock band Blackfield, the Krautrock of I.E.M., and the minimalist drone electronica of Bass Communion. On his second solo record, the prolific polymath combines his disparate music personalities to forge a sound uniquely his own. Over the course of the double album, Wilson draws on textural electronica, piano balladry, trip-hop, soundtrack-like soundscapes, doom rock, and eastern-tonality jazz to create eargasmic melodies. The subject matter of the songs ranges from the gravitational collapse of a relationship ("No Part of Me"), to the onset of paranoid depression ("Remainder the Black Dog"), to the story of a home invasion that doesn't end well for a family ("Raider II"). In short, it's an album so dark and ambitious it would give Trent Reznor whiplash. On Grace for Drowning, Wilson reaches musical and emotional planes most artists don't know exist.

2. PJ Harvey—Let England Shake
3. Fleet Foxes—Helplessness Blues
4. Opeth—Heritage
5. St. Vincent—Strange Mercy
6. Kate Bush—50 Words for Snow
7. King Creosote & Jon Hopkins—Diamond Mine
8. Paul Simon—So Beautiful or So What
9. Elbow—Build a Rocket Boys!
10. John Wesley—The Lilypad Suite
11. Radiohead—The King of Limbs
12. TV on the Radio—Nine Types of Light
13. Laura Marling—A Creature I Don't Know
12. Washed Out—Within and Without
13. The Waterboys—An Appointment with Mr. Yeats
14. Low—C'mon
15. Gregg Allman—Low Country Blues
16. The Black Keys—El Camino
17. Joe Bonamassa—Dust Bowl
18. I Break Horses—Hearts 
19. Kate Bush—Director's Cut 
20. Alison Krauss & Union Station—Paper Airplane
21. Tinariwen—Tasili
22. The Civil Wars—Barton Hollow 
23: The Horrors—Skying
24. Peter Gabriel—New Blood
25. Feist—Metals
26. Blackfield—Welcome to My DNA
27. Evanescence—Evanescence 
28. Pajama Club—Pajama Club
29. Lanterns on the Lake—Gracious Tide Take Me Home 
30. Robbie Robertson—How to Become Clairvoyant
31. Foo Fighters—Wasting Light
32. Amplifier—The Octopus 
33. Black Country Communion—Black Country Communion II
34. Liam Finn—FOMO
35. Justin Adams & Juldeh Camara—In Trance
36. R.E.M—Collapse Into Now 
37. Joy Formidable—The Big Roar
38. Eilen Jewell—Queen of the Minor Key
39. City and Color—Little Hell
40. Henrik Freischlader—Still Frame Replay 
41. M83—Hurry Up, We're Dreaming
42. Tim Hecker—Ravedeath 1972
43. Bon Iver—Bon Iver
44. Chickenfoot—Chickenfoot III
45: Joseph Arthur—Graduation Ceremony 
46. John Martyn—Heaven and Earth
47. Joe Bonamassa & Beth Hart—Don't Explain
48. Chris Isaak—Beyond the Sun
49. Iron & Wine—Kiss Each Other Clean
50. Yes—Fly from Here 

A few other thoughts and observations about the year in music...
It started horribly. On February 6, my all-time favorite guitarist Gary Moore died of natural causes in his sleep at the age of 58. I've expressed what a terrible loss this premature death was to the music world elsewhere in my blog. I don't anticipate too many posthumous Gary Moore releases from here on other than the re-releases of several old concert videos on DVD and Blu-Ray. Though Gary was working on a new blues album at the time of his death, he had only created a few demos. A concurrent project he was also demoing was a return to the celtic-rock style he first played on Thin Lizzy's Black Rose (which was re-released this year with a bonus disc of unheard material) and mastered on great albums such as 1987's Wild Frontier and 1989's After the War. Half a year before his passing, Gary played a European tour of music from those albums and the set included three new songs. Fortunately, an album and DVD of the tour, Live at Montreux 2010, captured those superb new songs for posterity and left us with a fitting reminder of Moore's unparalleled diversity of musical styles and his peerless emotional guitar playing.

    This past year, I found myself craving more roots and boogie music. I've been feeding this musical side of me by listening to the likes of Little Feat, Taj Mahal, John Hammond Jr., and Jimmie Vaughan. I've been getting my fill of that sort of music every week by my favorite DJ, Chris "Rock Professor" Prior in South Africa. Download the podcast of his weekly radio show at:

In all, a good year for music for my ears. I hope it's been a good music year for you, too.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Playlist: November

Albums currently in rotation:
  • King Creosote & Jon Hopkins—Diamond Mine (2011)
  • The Civil Wars—Barton Hollow (2011)
  • Caravan—In the Land of Grey and Pink: 40th Anniversay Edition (1971)
  • Rush—Time Machine: Live in Cleveland (2011)
  • Peter Gabriel—New Blood (2011) 
  • Kate Bush—50 Words for Snow (2011) 
  • Levin Torn White—Levin Torn White (2011) 
  • Matt Stevens—Relic (2011)
If you're wondering why I'm only posting November's playlist now that it's over half way through December, it's because I spent most of that month working on my novel. I finished the first draft of the novel just a few days ago. Months of hard work but I'm thrilled with how it's turning out. More details in the months to come as I work on the edit/rewrite. Given the intensity of the writing process, November's playlist was slim. (I wish I could write and listen to music at the same time but I often find I need all my faculties attuned to listening to the ideas for the page.) However, November produced one of my favorite albums of the year: Kate Bush's 50 Words for Snow

At the start of 2011, absolutely no one would have predicted that Kate Bush would release not one, but two, albums in a year. This reclusive artist last emerged with an album in 2005 with Aerial. Before that, her previous album was released in 1993. (To get my extensive thoughts on Kate's first release of 2011, Director's Cut, an album in which Kate reworked some of her older songs, scroll further down to my June playlist.) Half a year later, we've been spoiled with her first new album of brand new material, 50 Words for Snow.

50 Words for Snow is an enthralling work. Much has been made of the fact that this new album is a concept record about winter and snow. But there's also another common denominator that links the songs (the shortest of which is 7 minutes long): They're all about loss and people (and, er, a Yeti) desperately trying to make a connection with each other.

Like her previous masterpiece, Aerial, it's an album of two distinct halves. The first half of the album is stripped down with voice and piano to the fore (there's also some orchestration, muted electronic effects, and jazzy drumming by Steve Gadd). The use of minimalism and space is perfect for these songs about exposed elements, wintry tundra, harrowing blizzards, and bodies drowned under ice. We're definitely back in "Ninth Wave" territory for the first half of the album. These songs are unsettling yet strangely beautiful.

The opener, "Snowflake," is about a mother searching for her child. "Lake Tahoe" is about a dog who pines for his mistress, a woman who drowned in the ice in the Victorian era and never returned home. The latter part of the song imagines the two meeting up once again in the dog's dream (or is it the afterlife?) and the emotion of the song caught me off guard. The third track, "Misty," imagines a one night stand between a woman and
brace yourselfa snowman briefly inhabited by a spirit of some sort. What sounds laughable and wacky on the page turns of to be a strangely affecting and heartrending tale. Once again, it's Kate's unique imagination that sets her apart. These first three songs are at least 10 minutes long and they're transportive.

The second half boasts more colorful instrumentation and is more upbeat. The single, "Wild Man," has a good chorus. (See above video to hear it.) The title track doesn't sound that appealing on paper: it's a song in which the British actor and raconteur Stephen Fry lists 50 words for snow. But it has the niftiest chorus and it's been stuck in my head for days. On this track, as on "Pi" on Aerial, Kate sounds amazingly sensual even when she is just counting out numbers. There's also a duet with Elton John called "Snowed in on Wheeler Street." Although I think the song would have been better with a singer such as Peter Gabriel or Marillion's Steve Hogarth, the epic ballad packs quite an emotional punch. The closer, "Among Angels," is a beaut and it's Kate's most emotional performance on the album.

She's still my favorite female singer of all. Like so many other singers
Joni Mitchell, David Bowie, Peter Gabriel, Robert PlantKate may have lost her youthful vocal range with age but, like those aforementioned artists, she has more than compensated by becoming a more expressive, more emotional vocalist in the process. 

Kate's previous album, Director's Cut, consisted of remakes of earlier songs she was dissatisfied with. Her old friend (and duet partner on "Don't Give Up"), Peter Gabriel, has also revisited songs from his back catalog on his latest, New Blood. Most recently, Gabriel released Scratch My Back, a purely orchestral album in which the singer covered songs by the likes of The Talking Heads, Radiohead, Elbow, Paul Simon and many others. To my ears, that album was only intermittently successful as only a very few songs, such as "Boy in the Bubble," offered compelling alternative readings to iconic songs. So I was naturally leery of new orchestral album, New Blood. But I checked out "Rhythm of the Heat" on Spotify after reading a review of the album and I was so taken with it that I bought the record. 

A few of the new versions, including "Don't Give Up" and "Digging in the Dirt," don't even come close to the originals. That said, there are tracks such as "Rhythm of the Heat" and "San Jacinto" and "Wallflower" and "Intruder" that far outstrip the originals. To his credit, Gabriel has avoided what he has termed "Hollywood soundtrack" orchestral sounds in favor of something earthier and more primal. His voice, meanwhile, is still utterly fantastic, especially when he opens up his pipes and lets out those lupine howls. I hope that Peter will create new material next (and hope he gives Tony Levin and David Rhodes a call). And the next album better not be another Up.

The term "Power Trio" is often bandied about quite liberally but only a few band units truly live up to such billing. The term certainly applied to Cream. It applies doubly so to Rush. And Levin Torn White have so much firepower that you'd swear their amps go up way past 11. The trio's debut album is not for the faint of ear. This wholly unusual instrumental record is often brutal, noisy, and abrasive. It's also shot through with moments of sublime beauty and harmony.

The album's unusual textures stem from the inside-out guitarwork of David Torn. A recording artist for both ECM and Windham Hill labels, Torn is very much an art rock guitarist who has recorded with the likes of Tori Amos, David Sylvian, Mick Karn, and David Bowie. Torn is very much a guitarist more interested in spacial textures than playing straightforward scales. On Levin Torn White, the guitarist can sound his instrument like a dentist's drill, a hornet's nest, and an electrical grid about to go on the fritz. He can also produce spectral beauty from his guitar on tracks such as "Convergence."

Much of the album's oomph comes from Alan White. Though White is widely respected as the drummer of YES, he is nevertheless one of rock's most underrated drummers. White has tremendous technique and awesome power. You wouldn't always know that from YES records. The band's latest record, Fly From Here, is their best in well over a decade but, alas, White's drums are buried low on the mix and the only time his fusillade drumming is showcased is on the extended version of "Hour of Need" on the Japanese edition of Fly From Here. White more than compensates on Levin Torn White with some heavy hitting, trippy time signatures, and different drum sounds.

Added propulsion comes from Tony Levin is one of the world's great bassists and Chapman Stick virtuosos. He has played with the likes of Sarah McLachlan, Paul Simon, Tom Waits, James Taylor, Anderson Bruford Wakeman and Howe, Warren Zevon, Pink Floyd, and Dire Straits.(Fun fact: Both White and Levin played with John Lennon.) But Levin is perhaps best known as the longtime bassist and stick player in King Crimson and related Crimson projects. Levin adds unexpected funkiness and probing basslines to the trio's music.

If you're fond of the more outré adventures of King Crimson and Robert Fripp, this album is for you. It's uneasy listening. But if you're feeling bold, take a trip into this 4th dimension of sound.

I'd heard of Matt Stevens long before I heard him. The guitarist is closely aligned with Britain's modern progressive rock movement though I must say that his music sounds less prog than it does progressive. (That's a compliment by the way.) Stevens' specialty is acoustic guitar, an often underutilized lead instrument in progressive music nowadays. The acoustic guitar is the lead instrument on Stevens' latest record, Relic, which consists of 10 delightful instrumentals. That's not to say that it's an acoustic record. Bass, electric guitar, and drums are consistent ingredients throughout but, more often than not, it's acoustic guitar that's to the fore.

On tracks such as "Rushden Fair" and "Sand (Part 2)," Stevens creates delicate lattices of harmonic interplay with his finger-picked guitar. Elsewhere, the arrangements and riffs of "Nightbus," "20 GOTO 10," and the title track pack a crunch that will appeal to fans of The Pineapple Thief and Radiohead. On "Frost," Stevens demonstrates that he's no slouch on the electric guitar either as he grinds out a gnarly riff and tears through lead lines so quickly that one imagines smoke coming off the strings. "The End" evokes a feel similar to Fleetwood Mac's "Albatross" without sounding like it.

My favorite track on Relic is titled "Scapegoat." Listen to it below and you'll see why! Then go get the album, which you can also stream, over at

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Playlist: October

In 2011, St. Vincent became the patron saint of avant-garde indie pop. To my ears, St. Vincent's Strange Mercy is one of the year's very best records. (It's on the 4AD label and it was produced by John Congleton, who produced Shearwater's The Golden Archipelago.) As you may know, St. Vincent is the nom de plume of 29-year-old singer-songwriter Annie Clark. This is her third album of strange art-rock and memorable melodies. She can pen a great pop tune—the third song on her album, "Cheerleader," is one of the best choruses you'll hear all year—and yet subvert it with an unsettling lyric and an unusual arrangement.

Her demure prettiness masks an off-center dark side. In the video for the lead single from the album, "Cruel" (which sounds like Abba on acid) Clark portrays a woman who is kidnapped by an ordinary looking family. The kidnapper and his young son and daughter dress her up as a suburban housewife and make her play the role of a mother figure as they subject her to unimaginable acts of cruelty. At the end of the video, they bury her alive in a grave.

The album opener, "Chloe in the Afternoon," references the Eric Rohmer film of the same name about a married man's illicit affair. The song's slinky and sensual chorus sits at odds with the abrasive guitar of the verses. Unlike the titular character of the film, this Chloe likes to incorporate a "black lacquered horse-hair whip" in her foreplay. In other words, you're not going to hear an X Factor contestant cover this one anytime soon.

There's also a song called "Surgeon" which starts off with the suggestive lyric, "I spent the summer on my back" but soon takes a darker turn as she sings, "I need a surgeon/to come cut me open." She sings that line and over and over again as if she's in the throes of ecstasy. The effect is at once unsettling and thrilling at the same time. It's a killer tune. The whole album is full of them.

Oh, and St. Vincent demolishes the myth that girls can't play guitar. Check out this live-in-the-studio version of "Surgeon" (above) and marvel at her finger gymnastics on the fretboard. (You can watch the full live session, consisting of four songs, here.)

This is St. Vincent's third album and it's her breakout. To quote one of her songs, "it's gonna be a champagne year" for her.

I've been on a major The Waterboys kick this month. The band's seminal single, "The Whole of the Moon," was one of the first 7" singles I ever bought. I've been a fan ever since and own just about everything that the band's principal singer-songwriter, Mike Scott, has ever done. When I interviewed Mike Scott a decade ago, it was a most delightful experience. The Scotsman was warm and enthusiastic, talking about his love of Oprah and his spiritual outlook on life.

Though The Waterboys remain a great live act, I had come to believe that their studio albums would never scale the heights of albums such as A Pagan Place, This is the Sea, Fisherman's Blues and Dream Harder. The band's 2000 album, A Rock in a Weary Land, felt strained and clunky even though its title track is one of the band's very best songs. Book of Lightning (2007) had its charms but it, too, was far from the band's glory days. All of which made the band's new album, An Appointment with Mr. Yeats, a revelation. It's the band's best work since 1993's Dream Harder.

For An Appointment with Mr. Yeats Mike Scott has set the poetry of W.B. Yeats to music. It's not the first time that Scott—a fine poet in his own right—has created a musical adaptation of a Yeats poem. The band's classic 1988 album, Fisherman's Blues, includes Yeats's "A Stolen Child" and Dream Harder includes "Love and Death."

An Appointment with Mr. Yeats sees The Waterboys return to "the big music" they created on their first three albums. Large canvas stuff with heavenward singing. That's apparent from the get go with the epic opener, "The Hosting of the Shee" and "A Full Moon in March." But even though this rock music draws on instrumentation such as oboe, trombone, flute, sax and strings, this is no retread of the band's old 1980s sound. It's a fresh iteration of the big music. Key to the band's sound is longtime fiddle player Steve Wickham who first appeared on Fisherman's Blues. Here, Wickham adds lyrical notes to songs such as "Sweet Dancer," ethereal lead lines to songs such as "The Lake of Innisfree" and torrid soloing on the album highlight "Land of the Mist and Snow."

Mike Scott sounds rejuvenated throughout the album. He's seldom sounded as soulful as he does on "Song of the Wandering Aengus" and "Let the Earth Bear Witness."

I've been so enthralled with the record that I've revisited most of the band's back catalog. I was pleasantly surprised by the band's 2003 record Universal Hall. I didn't take to the album upon its release and had only listened to it once. It's a largely acoustic record and my impression of it at the time was that it was rather dull. How wrong I was. Upon revisiting Universal Hall all these years later, I heard it with new ears. It's a quiet album, for the most part, that reward close listening. It also has far more textures and colors than I had remembered. The first half of the album is acoustic. The second half of the record includes the great electric-pulse rocker "See the Light" and "E.B.O.L." (Eternal Beam of Love) is The Waterboys at its finest.

Finally, I'd like to recommend you check out an Israeli songwriter named Liam Modlin. An old friend of mine named Brian Segal, a man of impeccable music taste, turned me on the Liam's talents—thanks Brian—and I can't wait for Liam to produce his first album. For a taste of what to expect, watch the great video to the song "Faceless" below.

Albums currently in rotation:
  • I Break Horses—Hearts (2011)
  • Lantern of the Lakes—Lantern of the Lakes (2011)
  • The Waterboys—An Appointment with Mr. Yeats (2011), Universal Hall (2003), Dream Harder (1993), A Pagan Place (1983).
  • Robbie Robertson—How to Become Clairvoyant (2011), Music for the Native Americans (1994), Contact from the Underground of Red Boy (1998)
  • Rory Gallagher—Irish Tour '74 (1974)
  • Chris Isaak—Beyond the Sun (2011) 
  • Pearl Jam—Backspacer (2009)
  • FeistMetals (2011)
  • Levin Torn White—Levin Torn White (2011)
  • Björk—Biophilia (2011)
  • Riverside—Second Life Syndrome (2005)
  • Evanescence—Evanescence (2011)
Songs + EPs currently in rotation:
  • Pearl Jam—Olé (2011)
  • Steven Wilson—Postcard EP (2011)
  • Liam Modlin—Faceless (2011)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Playlist: September

Albums currently in rotation:
  • The Pajama Party—Pajama Party (2011)
  • Laura Marling—A Creature I Don't Know (2011)
  • Trentemøller—Reworked/Remixed (2011)
  • St. Vincent—Strange Mercy (2011)
  • David Sylvian—Approaching Silence (1999)
  • Big Wreck—In Loving Memory Of (1997)
  • Taj Mahal—Taj Mahal's Blues (1992)
  • Bonobo—Black Sands (2010)
  • Justin Adams & Juldeh Camara—In Trance (2011)
  • I Break Horses—Hearts (2011)
  • Chickenfoot—Chickenfoot III (2011)
  • Future Sound of London—Lifeforms (1994)
  • Feist—Let It Die (2004), The Reminder (2007)
  • Joe Bonamassa & Beth Hart—Don't Explain (2011)
  • Jon Hopkins & King Creosote—Diamond Mine (2011)
  • Opeth—Heritage (2011)
  • Gary Moore—Live at Montreux 2010 (2011)
  • Spotlight, Floodlight—Nocturne (2011)
  • King Crimson—In the Wake of Poseidon (1970), Lizard (1970), Islands (1971), Red (1974)
To quote a Marillion lyric, I'm feeling globally altered and disheveled. I've just returned from South Africa (the reason why there was no playlist posted for August), so I'm now trying to readjust to Pacific Time. As if that was disorienting enough, I am listening to Carole King's upcoming holiday album because I am interviewing her for an airline magazine. Lemme tell you, it's awfully strange to hear Christmas music in September.

My ears have been spoiled of late. As you'll see from the list above, I've been listening to my typically varied diet, including indie rock, blues, classic rock, world music, metal, folk, electronica, and progressive rock. Let me tell you a bit more about some of the albums I've listed above.

In heavy rotation in these parts: Steven Wilson's new album. It's the second solo album by the British songwriter, best known as the songwriter-singer-guitarist-producer of Porcupine Tree. Among his many extracurricular pursuits are long-running projects such as side projects such as No-Man (art rock), Bass Communion (ambient electronica), I.E.M. (Krautrock) and Blackfield (indie pop rock). I awed that one individual can be so prolific and diverse and yet produce such a consistently high caliber of songcraft and artistic innovation. He's an extremely rare and special talent.

I recently interviewed Wilson about his new solo album, Grace for Drowning, a double album that encompasses whole ecosystems of music. Which is to say that Wilson has once again incorporated his wide-ranging musical loves and filtered them to create something far more ambitious than most records. Grace for Drowning marks new territory for Wilson since it is unabashedly inspired by early progressive rock. That style of music has long been a primary influence on Wilson, of course, but Wilson's work on remastering the King Crimson back catalog (which I've been enjoying these past few months) made him realize what a key element jazz was to nascent progressive rock. But modern-day progressive bands have largely neglected the jazz element which Wilson says was often the spiritual heart of those 1970s bands. Wilson has emulated the approach of Robert Fripp on the King Crimson albums Lizard and Islands—recruit a bunch of jazz musicians and place them in a rock context.

Fripp was at the London listening session for Grace for Drowning. I'm told that he had a huge smile throughout the playback and was tapping his foot the entire time. Afterward, Fripp claimed not to hear any King Crimson influence at all...which seems disingenuous! The touchstones of Lizard, Islands and Red are all over Grace for Drowning. You can hear Crimon-esque slabs of monolithic doom-y chords on jazz-rock tracks such as "Sectarian" and "Remainder the Black Dog" (which you can download for free at and the 23-minute long "Raider II," a track with more endings than the last Lord of the Rings movie!

A lot of the album almost sounds like the score to a movie and I love that aspect of it. Indeed, the final three minutes of "Like Dust I Have Cleared from My Eye" is stunning. It's mixed so quietly that you have to lean in close to the speakers and really pay attention. The unsettling choral work of "Raider Prelude" sounds like something off the soundtrack to 2001: A Space Odyssey. And Belle De Jour could have slotted onto the soundtrack to The Dear Hunter.

"No Part of Me" and "Index" (see video, below) showcase Wilson's electronica instincts. Indeed, the sublime "No Part of Me" begins as a gorgeous electronica sigh (with shades of Autechre) and then, midway through, suddenly plunges off a musical cliff into a riffing guitars section with middle-eastern sax courtesy of Theo Travis. It's fantastic.

A few other observations: I love the Steely Dan-ish piano on "Deform to Form a Star"... Though this is not a guitar-oriented album, Wilson plays killer melodic guitar solos on "Deform to Form a Star" and "Like Dust I Have Cleared from My Eye" and "Track One"...the album has some surprisingly joyful and upbeat music on it!

A related album is Opeth's Heritage, which was mixed by Wilson. I've long been a fan of the Swedish death metal band who, unlike most bands of that genre, have musically adventurous instincts and a keen grasp of melody. Heritage is a radical change of direction for Opeth. They've completely ditched the metal sound and the cookie-monster vocals of previous releases. I sure won't miss the unintelligible roars as I've always preferred the clean singing of frontman-guitarist-songwriter Mikael Akerfeldt, who has a beautiful voice. Heritage bears the hallmarks of early '70s progressive rock. Lots of mellotron, finger-picked acoustic guitar, David Gilmour-esque guitar and even flutes!

It's a natural progression for the band which has explored progressive sounds ever since Steven Wilson produced their seminal album Blackwater Park. And if you enjoy Heritage, take a listen to their earlier album Damnation—another Wilson production—a rather mellow album of classic rock sounds and without any metal or cookie-monster vocals. If you're feeling adventurous, and can stomach some heavier stuff, I also recommend Opeth's Ghost Reveries.

A new discovery for me: Spotlight, Floodlight whose debut album, Nocturne, consists of eerily beautiful instrumentals that will trigger mindscape dreams if you listen to it in the dark.

I first became aware of Spotlight, Floodlight when my friend Andy Saks sent me their beautifully forlorn version Peter Gabriel's "Mercy Street." The cover version, which you can download for free here, features vocalist Rob Dickinson from the seminal British shoegaze band Catherine Wheel.

Clearly, this was a band to watch. Well, not so much a band as an artist. Spotlight, Floodlight is a project by LA-based composer Peter Adams who has worked with a number of well-known artists, including the likes of Michael Penn, Tears for Fears, Juliana Hatfield, Richard Thompson and Rickie Lee Jones. On this album, Adams supplements his piano and keyboards with the help of several percussionists, bass players, a cellist and a violinist and cooing vocals courtesy of Amy Seeley.

Just as the title suggests, Nocturne is music for the curfew hours. The album cover, an evocative cover photograph of a wolf in a dark forest, perfectly sets the mood for the music. The consistently lovely melodies, led by stark piano and twinkling Fender Rhodes, often sound like lilting lullabies but there's often an ominous undercurrent that provides delicious tension to tracks such as "Pi" and "Of Itself So." The sound of mildly distressed murmuring human voices on "Trees" and "An Autobiography" makes one imagine there are ghosts in the recording machine. Nocturne utilizes space and minimalism to allow the organic instrumentation to breath on tracks such as "Beauty Lamented."

If you're a fan of Richard Barbieri or Talk Talk or, indeed, Erik Satie, you'll love this record.

You can hear all the tracks as well as purchase a digital download or CD on the Spotlight, Floodlight website. Peter Adams is playing a solo show at Room 5 in LA on October 18. You can also catch him as the keyboard player for John Oates (of Hall & Oates).

If you haven't already, check out Neil Finn's new side project, The Pajama Club, by downloading the two free songs from their website: "From a Friend to a Friend" (featuring Johnny Marr on guitar) is particularly good and a pleasing departure in sound from the songwriting genius of Crowded House. I've included the video at the very top of this blog entry.

I've also been enjoying an advance copy of a 2-disc compilation of Trentemøller's remixes of Thom Yorke, UNKLE, Efterklang, Depeche Mode, Mew. Great stuff by the Danish electronic music producer and multi-instrumentalist.

This month saw the first posthumous release by my all-time favorite guitarist, Gary Moore. The album (and DVD), Live at Montreux 2010, is a document of Gary's final tour during which he returned to the sound of celtic-rock. He had been working on a new album in the style of Wild Frontier and Thin Lizzy's Black Rose at the time. Sadly, that album never got beyond the demo phase but three of the new songs intended for that album were included in the setlist of the final tour and they're included on the live album. They're all very good, especially one called "Days of Heroes," and I'm glad that they have seen the light of day. The video for one of the new songs, "Oh Wild One," is above.

The setlist, largely drawn from Gary's late 1980s albums, concludes with a stunning rendition of his most beloved song, "Parisienne Walkways." I have dozens of recordings of this track, a top 10 hit in the UK in 1979, and I never cease to be amazed how Gary never played the long guitar outro the same way twice. A testament to his brilliance.

Finally, a big thanks to my dear friend Simon Gort for a recent package of albums including King Creosote + Jon Hopkins, The Future Sound of London, Dutch Uncles, Bonobo, David Sylvian, and Justin Adams/Juldeh Camara. Simon and I share very similar music tastes and I am indebted to him for introducing me to so many great bands and artists over the past 20 years. Follow him on Twitter at @sgort100 for great recommendations of music you really need to hear!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Playlist: July

The onset of summer—my favorite season—here in West Hollywood has influenced my listening this month. For starters, I've been enjoying Washed Out's Within & Without (it boasts one of the best album covers I've seen in a while, see above). The brand new album, which has been widely acclaimed, sometimes sounds like a lush, electronica version of Low. Its "bedroom auteur" creator, Ernest Greene, has been saddled with the genre tag of Chillwave. (Because that's what us music journalists do: We sit around and think up ridiculous new genre labels all day like, say, Nü-Dreamgaze.) But all that matters is that Washed Out's blissful electronica is cool balm for a hot day.

In addition to Washed Out, I've been seeking out other albums and songs that feel summer-y to my ears. Perfect summer songs include Porcupine Tree's "Time Flies" and No-Man's "Days in the Trees." Both songs, penned by Steven Wilson, offer nostalgic recollections of the seemingly infinite summers of childhood. (Watch the music video of heavily abridged single version of "Time Flies," below.)

So, what, exactly, constitutes a great summer song or album? Sometimes a summer song is that which feels light, folky, and as laid-back as a sultry siesta. (That would explain why I've been craving some J.J. Cale of late.) At other times, one wants a kick-ass rock song ideal for jamming while you drive up the Pacific Coast Highway to Malibu. (Red Hot Chili Peppers ticks those boxes.)

Other records have a summer-y feel. Pink Floyd's Meddle takes me to "Saint Tropez" on a "Pillow of Winds." Laura Viers' wonderful July Flame album boasts tracks such as the exultant "Summer is the Champion" as well as its catchy title track (see video, below). And Led Zeppelin reminds us that Dancing Days are here again on Houses of the Holy.

One album, in particular, stands out as a great summer listen. The second disc of Kate Bush's masterpiece, Aerial, is a conceptual piece that depicts one summer's day. It starts with the birdsong of early sunny morning, passes through a fleeting midday thunderstorm, basks in an a honeycomb sunset, and ends with a song about swimming late at night. Seek it out!


Summer-y albums in rotation:
  • Washed Out—Within and Without (2011)
  • Gary Moore—Dark Days in Paradise (1997)
  • J.J. Cale—J.J. Cale Live (2001)
  • Porcupine Tree—Lightbulb Sun (1997)
  • Calexico—Carried to Dust (2008)
  • Tame Impala—Innerspeaker (2010)
  • Joni Mitchell—Hissing of Summer Lawns (1975)
  • Stone Temple Pilots—Thank You (2003)
  • The Amazing—The Amazing (2009)
  • Laura Veirs—July Flame (2009)
  • Pink Floyd—Meddle (1971)
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers—Stadium Arcadium (2006)
  • Led Zeppelin—Houses of the Holy (1973)
Other albums in rotation:
  • Gavin Harrison and 05ric—Circles (2009)
  • Warren Haynes—Man in Motion (2011)
  • Henrik Freischlader—Still Frame Replay (2011)
  • Marillion—Live at Cadogan Hall (2011)
  • Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds—The Boatman's Call (1997)
  • Eric Clapton—Crossroads, disc 3 (1988)
  • John Hammond (Jr.)—Push Comes to Shove (2009)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Playlist: June

Before I get to my June playlist, I thought I'd share my take on the new (well, sorta new) album by Kate Bush. There are many female artists that I worship and adore, most notably Björk, Jesca Hoop, PJ Harvey, Joni Mitchell, and Toni Childs. But Kate Bush is my absolute favorite. A new release by Kate is a rare event. Her previous album was 2005's masterpiece, Aerial, which arrived 12 years after The Red Shoes. On the bright side, at least she's more prolific than Harper Lee.

Director's Cut, consists of a series of revamped, remastered, rearranged and re-recorded songs from two of her older albums. Director's Cut consists of remakes of four cuts from 1989's The Sensual World (which, to me, is perfect as it already is) and seven reworked tracks from 1993's The Red Shoes, a problematic album. Most of the songs retain the original instrumentation, but three of them have been wholly re-recorded from scratch. All the drums have been re-recorded by master session player Steve Gadd and Kate has recorded new vocals for each song, albeit in a lower key to suit her current vocal range.

Going back to redo these old songs is a curious step for a progressive musician such as Kate, but not an entirely unprecedented one: She re-recorded the vocal on "Wuthering Heights" for her greatest hits album. She's clearly had profound regrets about The Red Shoes (didn't we all?) and perhaps she needed to redress the past in order to move on to create new work. (Her new album is likely to emerge in 2012...but, trust me, you don't want to make a bet with a bookie on that.)

Here's the breakdown of Director's Cut. The remakes of the songs from the Red Shoes are, with the exception of "Rubberband Girl," vast improvements on the originals. But of the songs taken from The Sensual World, only one of the four tracks surpasses the original.

The bad:

"Flower of the Mountain" seems oddly flat compared to its predecessor and Kate's vocal seems to lack the pent-up erotic fervor of "The Sensual World." Even so, I can't help but swoon a bit when Kate moans, "Yes." She tends to have that effect on men!

"Deeper Understanding" was always the weakest song on The Sensual World and, unfortunately, she's added god awful auto tune effects to the remake. A pity because the verses and extended coda are lovely.

"Never Be Mine" is a big favorite from The Sensual World and although I do like this new version—particularly the guitar bit added to the chorus—I prefer the raw anguish of the original (especially the wail of "This is what I want..." that is omitted in the remake). The new vocal, by contrast, seems more wearily resigned to the fate of losing a lover. It's a strong alternative version but doesn't surpass the original.

"And So Is Love" is superior to its original version but it's still not all that great a song...

The Rolling Stones-style "Rubberband Girl" is fun novelty, but it's still a throwaway cut and no match for the original. In an interview with MOJO, Kate admitted she hadn't originally intended to include it on Director's Cut.

The good:

The best parts of Director's Cut are tremendous. Who'd have thought Kate could top the original version of "This Woman's Work"? She not only offers a more emotional vocal, imbued with the wisdom of age, but she recasts the tune as a gorgeous ambient piece with twinkles of Fender Rhodes keyboard.

"Moments of Pleasure," originally overwrought and Baroque, comes alive in its stripped-down, re-recorded, and tunefully altered version. It reminds me a little of Aerial's "The Coral Room," one of the most emotionally raw vocal performances ever recorded and one of the very rare songs that can make me tear up. This song now almost feels as if Kate was writing her last-ever song as a look back on her life and as a farewell to her loved ones. A final chance to sum up all she ever wanted to say. (Another song that sounds like a final Will and Testament is the affecting title track of Joni Mitchell's most recent album, Shine. Do seek that one out.) The final two lines of the song are unbearably sad. When she sings, "Hey there Michael, did you really love me...did you really love me?" you'll become unmoored. It's yet another example of how Kate is surely the most emotionally expressive female singer around.

I've always loved "The Red Shoes" but this new version easily surpasses the original and Kate's whirling dervish vocal ("Whoop, whoop!") is so good. The dynamics of this stomping folk rock remind me of Led Zeppelin's "Gallows Pole." Play this loud. You may end up dancing a jig in your living room.

I love the sudden swell of the chorus in "Top of the City." It feels as like a geyser of sound bursting free. She tried to attain that effect on the original, of course, but couldn't pull it off like she does here.

"Song of Solomon" suddenly reveals itself in a whole new way. "Lily" is also profound in its new, funkier version and it has a real edge and urgency, particularly when Kate cuts loose at the end.

I purchased the special edition of Director's Cut, which is beautifully packaged in a hardcover and includes two bonus discs: The Sensual World (unaltered) and a remaster of The Red Shoes. The original was a digital remaster. Kate discovered an analog remaster and the album sounds markedly better than the original—far more definition and I can hear individual elements that I didn't notice on the original. The album has also been subtly changed on this edition. "Eat the Music" is shorter now and "Big Stripey Lie" has been shorn on the violins.

I'm pretty enthralled with Director's Cut overall. (For best effect, take a listen to it on headphones.) Despite its serious flaws, the best parts of Director's Cut reaffirm why I love Kate so much....

I'm still listening to many of the same albums of the past few months (see earlier playlists, below), but here's what else I've been listening to over the past month which, oddly, has been dominated by classic rock!


  • The entire Gary Moore catalog, in chronological order
  • Kate Bush—Director's Cut (2011)
  • Bon Iver—Bon Iver (2011)
  • Black Country Communion—Black Country Communion 2 (2011)
  • Robbie Robertson—How to Become Clairvoyant (2011)
  • Adele—21 (2011)
  • Alison Krauss & Union Station—Paper Airplane (2011)
  • John Hammond—Push to Shove (2007)
  • YES—Fly from Here (2011)
  • Coldplay—Every Teardrop is a Waterfall EP (2011)
  • Laura Veirs—July Flame (2009)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Now on Newsstands: Under the Radar

Of late, I've been drastically paring back my journalism to concentrate on writing my first novel, a literary thriller (doesn't that sound pretentious!) However, I do have a couple of reviews in the brand new issue of Under the Radar.

The magazine, which is the best publication for underground and indie music, has just released its first Music Vs. Comedy issue and it features crossover interviews between the likes of The Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne and David Cross, Patton Oswalt and St. Vincent, Modern Family's Ty Burrell and Loney Dear, and Aziz Ansari (pictured on the cover, above) interviewing Toro Y Moi and TV on the Radio. And you'll want to read the magazine's interview with the adorable Ellie Kemper (The Office, Bridesmaids). At one point, Kemper quips, "I ended up majoring in English, which I'm not particularly fluent in."

Playlist: May

  • The entire Gary Moore catalog, in chronological order
  • Fleet Foxes—Helplessness Blues (2011)
  • Robbie Robertson—How to Become Clairvoyant (2011)
  • Thin Lizzy—Vagabonds of the Western World (Deluxe 2-disc reissue) (1973)
  • John Hammond Jr.—Push Comes to Shove (2007)
  • Liam Finn—FOMO (2011)
  • Joni Mitchell—For the Roses (1972)
  • John Martyn—Heaven and Earth (2011)
  • David Sylvian—Gone to Earth (1986)
  • Crowded House—North America Travelogue 2010 (2011)
  • Jesca Hoop—Kismet (2007)
  • Oceansize—Self Preserved While the Bodies Float Up (2010)
  • Riverside—Second Life Syndrome (2005)
  • Tim Hecker—Ravedeath, 1972 (2011)
  • Les Triaboliques—rivermudtwilight (2009)

Friday, April 29, 2011

Playlist: April 2011


Thursday, March 31, 2011

Playlist: March 2011

Here's just a small selection of what's been in rotation this month:

  • The entire Gary Moore catalog, in chronological order
  • Blackfield—Welcome to My DNA (2011)
  • The Joy Formidable — The Big Roar (2011)
  • Jesca Hoop—Snowglobe EP (2011)
  • Rush—Farewell to Kings (1977)
  • Boards of Canada—In a Beautiful Place EP (2000)
  • R.E.M.—Collapse Into Now (2011)
  • Joe Bonamassa—Dust Bowl (2011)
  • Joni Mitchell—For the Roses (1972)
  • Jeff Beck—Rock 'n' Roll Party (2011)
  • David Sylvian—Everything and Nothing (2000)
  • Little Feat—Dixie Chicken (1973)
  • No-Man—Speak (1999); Flowermouth (1994)
  • Chris Isaak—Baja Sessions (1995)
  • David Bowie—Toy (2011; recorded 2001)

Friday, March 11, 2011

My Interview with Elbow

This week, the British band Elbow released its fifth album, build a rocket boys!, and, like its predecessors, it's a special record. (Never heard them before? Take a listen to this live-in-the-studio version of the new track "Lippy Kids" above. It's a great showcase for the voice of Guy Garvey, one of England's most soulful singers.)

For starters, the epic opener, "The Birds," is one of the best things they've ever done. I also love the single, "Neat Little Rows." There's a delightful whimsical pop song called "With Love" that is mainly built on the interview and interplay of multiple vocalists and features the Hallé Youth Orchestra.

Throughout the album there are some fabulous cascading guitar and piano riffs and motifs, like on "High Ideals." A few songs in the middle stretch -- “The Night Will Always Win,” “The River,” and “Jesus was a Rochdale Girl” -- are growers. The closing track, "Dear Friends," is a beaut. Classic Elbow.

In addition to my interview with Guy Garvey in the current issue of Under the Radar (see below), I also did a separate piece using leftover material from the interview for the magazine's website, which you can read here.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Now on Newsstands: Under the Radar

The latest issue of Under the Radar, America's best magazine for indie music and underground artists, is now on newsstands. I interviewed Elbow's Guy Garvey for the issue.

In addition to feature stories on Iron & Wine, R.E.M., Lykke Li, The Decemberists and Death Cab for Cutie, the issue also includes interviews with promising newcomers such as Anna Calvi and Porcelain Raft. Check it out!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Playlist: February 2011

Here's what's been in rotation this month:

  • The entire Gary Moore catalog, in chronological order
  • PJ Harvey—Let England Shake
  • Radiohead — The King of Limbs
  • Tame Impala—Innerspeaker
  • John Hiatt—Bring the Family
  • Paul Simon—So Beautiful or So What
  • Shearwater—Enron
  • The Czars—Ugly People vs. Beautiful People
  • Greg Allman—Low Country Blues
  • The Black Keys—Brothers
  • David Sylvian—Gone to Earth
  • Low—I Could Live in Hope
  • Dennis Wilson—Pacific Ocean Blue
  • Vertical Horizon—Burning the Days
  • Susumu Yokota—Kaleidoscope
  • Iron & Wine—Kiss Each Other Clean
  • YES—Union Live
  • Robert Wyatt—Schleep
  • 05ric—Bubbleburst EP
A few words about some of the albums...

It's only February but there won't be many better albums than PJ HARVEY's Let England Shake in 2011. Musically, the album picks up where White Chalk left off -- PJ once again sings mostly in a high register rather than in her low-end voice -- but this record adds more vibrant textures and brighter colors. One or two songs, such as "Written on the Forehead," almost sound Cocteau Twins-ish. Beautiful melodies from start to finish.

It's a concept album about the toll of war on England and its identity. For this record, Polly Jean wrote all the lyrics before she wrote a note of music and so its full of startling imagery. On "All and Everyone," a song about the battle of Gallipoli, for instance, she sings:

Death Hung in the smoke and clung
to 400 acres of useless beachfront
now, and now, and now.
Death was everywhere,
in the air
and in the sounds
coming off the mounds
of Bolton's Ridge.
Death's anchorage.
Death was in the staring sun,
fixing its eyes on everyone.
It rattled the bones of the Light Horsemen
still lying out there in the open

Simply, it's her best work and a consistently exhilarating listen.

I'm very excited by TAME IMPALA, a new psych-prog band from Australia. Strong melodies and immense grooves. They're just about the only band in the world who can claim to have been interviewed by Classic Rock Presents Prog as well as Under the Radar, an indie music magazine I write for.

The new RADIOHEAD album isn't a top-tier album like The Bends, OK Computer, Kid A, and In Rainbows. It lacks the grandeur, thrust, and ambition of those albums. The King of Limbs feels like a lesser work but it is nevertheless a more cohesive album than Hail to the Thief and Amnesiac. These 8 new tracks are beautiful. In fact, this record arguably boasts Thom Yorke's best vocal performances to date. As with any Radiohead record, it's richly textured and demands attentive listening.

PAUL SIMON's last album, Surprise (produced by Brian Eno), boasted one or two cracking tunes, but his new album, So Beautiful or So What (out in April), is his best since Graceland. Once again, he has included African influences in these acoustic-based songs but they're West African sounds such as the kora rather than South African township pop. On this record he reminds me what a great lyricist he is, creating deft character sketches and offering wry wit throughout. It is odd, though, to hear him reference Jay Z!

I am hugely enjoying GREGG ALLMAN's new solo record, Low Country Blues (Rounder). I've had zero expectations beforehand but it's been on constant rotation in this household these past few days.

It's a pure blues album produced by T Bone Burnett (yes, him again) and, apart from one new song co-written by Greg and Warren Haynes, the album consists of cover versions by the likes of Muddy Waters, BB King, Otis Rush, Buddy Guy, Skip James and Magic Sam. The production style is richly atmospheric. T Bone's regular go-to players, drummer Jay Bellerose and bassist Dennis Crouch (both of whom you may have heard on albums such as Plant & Krauss' Raising Sand and Sahara Smith's Myth of the Heart) provide rich texture and finger-clicking swing in the rhythm department. and T Bone Burnett swaps guitar licks with Doyle Bramhall II. There's even horns on one or two tracks. And the in-house pianist on the record is one Mac Rebennack. Indeed, Dr. John lays down an amazingly catchy, yet subtle, piano riff on the final track, "Rolling Stone."

Gregg's voice still sounds wonderfully soulful despite the fact that his vocal chords have probably been marinated in Jack Daniels these past few decades! While the album does feature some of Gregg's signature B3 organ licks, the record sounds nothing like an Allman Bros. album. It's very much its own sound.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Gary Moore: Musicians pay tribute

Preliminary results from a post-mortem examination indicate that Gary Moore died from a heart attack in his sleep. Still can't believe this has happened.

An official statement on Gary's website says that the guitarist had been due to record a new album in the studio just before he died. It had been thought that Gary had one more blues album already in the can but no one knows for sure. A blues record was scheduled to come out last year but was pushed back to fall of this year, presumably to allow Gary to focus on his return to Celtic Rock. He had been working on a Celtic Rock project. Indeed, Gary did a tour last year in which he returned his Celtic rock stuff (plus one or two blues numbers), including three brand new songs in the the vein of his Wild Frontier ouevre. They will be included on a live CD + DVD of a 2010 Montreux Festival concert that had already been scheduled for release in April. The three new songs -- "Where Are You Now?," "Days of Heroes," "Oh Wild One" (a song about Phil Lynott) -- are very good, judging from the bootlegs I've heard. Here's the presumed tack list for the live album:

Over The Hills And Far Away
Thunder Rising
Military Man
Days Of Heroes
Where Are You Now?
So Far Away / Empty Rooms
Oh Wild One
Blood Of Emeralds
Out In The Fields
Still Got The Blues
Walking By Myself
Johnny Boy (Encore 1)
Parisienne Walkways

It's unclear how much of the Celtic-rock studio album had been recorded. Doubtless, there will also be posthumous release of stuff left on the shelf, too.

I wrote an in-depth biographical tribute in my previous blog entry. Since then, I have been compiling all the tributes that have been pouring in from fellow musicians and guitarists, beginning with this inspiring piece by Kirk Hammett:


Gary Moore is definitely in my list of top five guitar influences, right up with Jimi Hendrix, Eddie Van Halen, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Michael Schenker. His influence is strong to the point that the opening lick of the guitar solo of “Master of Puppets” is a variation of a lick that Gary Moore played a lot. I remember the first time hearing his blues album and just getting totally blown away – not only by the playing but by the sound of it too, his tone. And I remember being so inspired that I wrote a couple riffs just based on his sound and his feel. And those riffs ended up in "The Unforgiven" on The Black Album.

I first heard of him in the late 1970s. I was a big Thin Lizzy fan then. I had seen them on the Dangerous tour and not long afterwards I heard there was a new album out called Black Rose. I heard "Waiting For An Alibi" on a college radio station and I was amazed because I instantly knew that they had a different guitar player. That was not Brian Robertson playing or Scott Gorham playing that guitar solo. It was…something else. I went to the record story and picking up Black Rose, looked at the cover, turned it over and saw a guitar player named Gary Moore.

He just blew me away from the first time I heard him. It was like Jimi Hendrix or Stevie Ray Vaughan. He had a very distinct sound and a very distinct way of approaching his guitar playing. Soon after that he came out with G-Force, which is a heavy rock band. There was this one instrumental track on the [first G-Force] album that just totally blew me away, and at that point I just made a conscious decision to make him a part of my regular listening.

Gary was also a big influence on me visually. Every time I saw a picture of him and he was playing a solo the expression on his face conveyed that he was feeling it deep. I remember seeing a picture of him on stage with Thin Lizzy in a guitar solo, obviously, with him bent back. He’s playing the Gibson Les Paul gold top, and he’s bending the shit out of this one string and he has that expression on his face. I just thought, "Wow." I mean that must have been a really intense moment right there because it looks so rock and roll, and so cool and so lead guitar-ish.

His sound was not over-processed. It was very, very basic. It basically was a guitar, an amp, a fuzz box and his hands. I remember seeing him in Copenhagen in 1984 or 1985. We were recording Master of Puppets. He was playing a Strat, which is known for a clear, somewhat thin sound. But the sound he was getting out of that Strat was so thick and so full and just so raw. This was before you had all these guitar processors that could make the cheapest guitar sound like the most expensive guitar, so I kinda deduced that most of the sound was in his hands.

Gary's technique was very modern, but his guitar style was very blues-based. His phrasing was very, very blues-based. He played long, sustained notes coupled with really super fast-picked notes and he had a great legato style. His approach embodied everything that I was trying to do. I spent a lot of time listening to Gary Moore after playing shows, going back to my hotel room and just putting on Gary Moore albums or watching Gary Moore videos.

The reason why he wasn’t more popular here in America is beyond me because he was incredible. He was peers with like George Harrison, and he was peers with Albert King and he was peers with B.B. King. He was just an amazing player, and he could hang with almost anyone. Let’s say, for instance, he was in White Snake. I’m sure he would have gotten a lot more recognition than he did.

I met him for the first time a year and a half ago. I was in a hotel room in Germany and I was going to the gym. I got into the elevator on the fifth floor and the elevator stopped on the fourth floor and in comes Gary Moore. I just couldn't believe it. I introduced myself and had a chance to tell him how much of an influence he was on me. I was a little intimidated because I heard at one point that he was really mad at a contemporary guitar player for ripping him off. He couldn't have been more gracious to me though, and in retrospect I'm very glad I had the opportunity.


"Surely not...This seems completely unreal. I'm shocked to hear tonight that Gary Moore has died. What a wonderful player he was. It does not seem possible this is in the past. Well, his recordings will testify forever. But ... live ... he was a demon. I know, because we toured with Thin Lizzy all around the States, many years ago. Gary was awesome every night ... and the nicest guy you could imagine.
I have many memories - of visiting him in the studio, meeting him backstage, being staggered by his virtuosity in his solo gigs. Well, lost for words. Bless ya Gary, wherever you're bound. To Rock Heaven, I hope. 58? You were just a boy. Unbelievable. This is too sad. RIP Gary Moore. Brian"


"I still can't believe it," Bell told the BBC. "He was so robust, he wasn't a rock casualty, he was a healthy guy. He was a superb player and a dedicated musician."


"Playing with Gary during the Black Rose era was a great experience, he was a great player and a great guy. I will miss him."

NEIL CARTER (Gary's keyboardist 1984-1989 and in 2010)

I cannot quite believe that Gary Moore has passed away today. He was a huge part of my working life and a close friend. His brilliance as a musician will last forever in his recorded work and in the hearts of his fans. It has been a privelidge to have known and worked alongside him.

My deepest sympathies go to his children and family. Neil

DARRIN MOONEY (Gary's off-on drummer, 2000-2011, Primal Scream)

"I am still stunned by the awful news of Garys death. I fell very honoured to have played on many albums and gigs over the years with Gary and to have been involved with the last gigs in Russia, we really had a great time and couldn't wait to record a new celtic album and get out there again. Gary is the finest musician I have ever played with and I think he is one of the great guitar heroes of all time. Working with Gary was a real eye-opener for me because he never played half hearted. Every rehearsel I did with him was like a full on gig,you had to have your shit together because Gary didn't make mistakes, he would be firing on all cylinders and taking no prisoners. Amazing!!! Gary was extremely gifted and worked very hard practicing and evolving which was also inspiring and which made him a cut above the rest. Gary has been a big part of my musical journey and I will never forget that and will miss him dearly. I hope Jimi was waiting for him, he would have loved that."

BOB DAISLEY (Gary's bassist 1984-1990, Ozzy Osbourne, etc.)

It is with great sadness that I acknowledge Gary Moore in this way. His passing has come as a sad and terrible shock and I have difficulty believing that he’s gone. I have many fond memories of our years together, both in the workplace of music and as friends. I have love and respect for Gary as a musician and as a person, he was one of the greatest. Farewell and rest in peace Gary my friend.
Bob Daisley.


"I am in total shock. I have known Gary since 1967 when he was in PLATFORM THREE and he's been an amazing friend ever since. It was a pleasure to play with Gary again in 2006 after his days with LIZZY. He will always be in my thoughts and prayers and I just can't believe he is gone."


I had some sad news last night as I was in the hotel here in Amsterdam. We found out that Gary Moore has passed away. I was lucky enough to meet Gary and some members of his family, including his son a couple of years ago at an Elbow concert. It was bad news, indeed. Obviously an amazing guitarist and a lovely man, too. It was great to meet him. It was very flattering that he came to hear us play. The great story about Mark Potter of Elbow meeting Gary was that, afterwards, Mark blushingly admitted that in his flustered, post-gig conversation with Gary, somewhere in that conversation he told Gary Moore that he didn't like guitar solos! Absolutely brilliant one from Pott there! All my love to his family. A great loss to music. A lovely man.


Dear blues fans: I am saddened by the news of the death of the great Irish blues guitarist Gary Moore. Touring and recording with Gary was a highlight of my career. I will not forget his generosity and all that he did for me. Sincerely, Otis

VIVIAN CAMPBELL (Def Leppard, Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake, DIO)

"Another of my guitar heroes died today; first Marc Bolan, then Rory Gallagher, now Gary Moore. It'll be strange playing 'Still in love with you' tonight."

At one stage in my life he was a huge guitar influence. I probably ripped off Gary Moore more than any other guitar player. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and I was a fan, certainly in my teenage years.

“I was really, really impressed with the roads he was forging in the blues world.”


Truly shocked and terribly saddened by the news. Our thoughts are with Gary Moore's family, friends and all of his fans. What a sad loss.


Hey Everybody,
It pains me to write this but the great Gary Moore has passed away. He was one of my premier inspirations in guitar playing. Like all young lads in the early 90's I was given a copy of Still Got the Blues. It blew me away.. His tone a phrasing were perfect. Gary opened up the door for me and a lot of other blues rock guitarist. He was a legend, a musical titan and a very nice man. I only met him twice and he always joked around with me how my records changed style from one song to the next. He also.. said that he enjoyed my work and congratulated me on the success I was having. He was a class act and a true original.. Ireland has lost another of its most talented sons today.. I am still a bit in shock so .. I apologize if my words are not as eloquent as they should be.. I have brought out the "Gary Moore" les paul... ( i named one of my guitars after him) and have been playing his stuff today..
Rest in peace.. GM


I had the pleasure of meeting Gary when he was playing with Thin Lizzy, back in the late 70's early 80's, I think it was. We played a few shows with the guys, and I wondered who this great guitarist was. I remember having a beer somewhere in a bar while on the tour, and speaking briefly with him. He was a gentle soul, and quietly friendly while we hung out together. A few years later, I started really listening to Gary's music, and became a huge fan. I would venture to say that, in my humble opinion, he was one of the greatest blues players of our time. And a tremendous all around musician in general. Great voice, killer licks and tone, and he really could play any kind of music. It's obvious to us, his fans, that his heart belonged to the blues, but he rocked with a vengeance, and he could sing a gentle ballad with all the feeling one might hope for. It's funny, but I was just thinking about him the other day, and hoping I would have a chance to see him play somewhere soon. Now he's jamming with the immortals, and I'll have to wait awhile longer. He left us all the gift of an amazing amount of fantastic recorded material, and I feel so lucky to have that to remember him. I'm going now to put on the DVD of his live show at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1990. I recommend this to anyone who loves Gary, or wants to see this great artist at his best. We'll all miss him, but his music lives on for us, and we'll keep him in our hearts. Thank you Gary for keeping the flame burning.


"I was very saddened to hear the news of Gary 's death. We toured together in the 80s and I remember him as a soft spoken, gentle man with a quick smile. His influence as a guitarist is undeniable and his purity of playing and passion will live on in all of us who love the instrument he so cherished.

We were connected in a number of ways historically, ’cause we worked a lot with Thin Lizzy in the early days, too. But Gary had already left the band at that time, for the first time, but we were well aware of Gary’s playing and his influence on the scene, particularly in Britain at the time. And in the early ’80s, he came on tour with us. And I think… I want to say we probably did two runs together. And my recollection of him is that he was a very sweet, gentle guy – quick to smile and really a lot of fun to be with, but so absolutely passionate about the instrument and about playing.

And it’s really sad to see somebody like him go at a young age – it really is a young age. You know, he was the type of guy that [you thought] would be around forever and ever, playing like Les Paul, for example. You would always be able to go see Gary play in some little club or something, you know, in downtown New York or London, Soho… Ronnie [Scott’s] or something like that. It’s really a shame."

ZAKK WYLDE (via Twitter)

Sad,Father Moore could throw down like Nobodies Business!!!n a GREAT PERSON!THROWING DOWN IN GODS TAVERN!!! ✞TBLO✞ Never Jammed w/Gary but Met him n told him how much I Loved his playing... Super Cool guy✞TBLO✞


"I was very saddened to hear of the passing of one of the greatest guitarists of all time — Gary Moore. His 'Still Got The Blues' album was one of the great albums, certainly one of my favorites. His way of playing cannot be learned — it comes from the soul.

"R.I.P., Gary."


"Super Bowl Sunday, and I find this news.... simply terrible. This hits me as hard as Ronnie Dio's passing.

"About ten years ago, I was starting to make the jump from bass to guitar... and was lacking some inspiration. While working on some PAGAN WAR MACHINE recordings, I was shown some live video of Gary Moore, and quite simply it changed my life. Instead of the shreddy, arpeggio swepping whammy bar guys that dominate the thrash scene, here was a guy who played bluesy hard rock — who could hold a note for what seemed like forever ('Parisienne Walkways') that would bring tears to your eyes. From there I discovered his whole career... blues, prog, whatever, he did it better than most.

"It is not a stretch to say that if not for Gary Moore, that first ANGER AS ART album never would have been done. Unashamedly I admit to ripping off his technique for that whole record.

"Gary, I hope Phil [Lynott, late THIN LIZZY legend] was there to greet you. You guys have some time now... Go find Cozy [Powell], and we expect that you have a few records worth of material for us by the time we join you.

"Rest in peace, Gazza!"

"I hope you may rest in peace, Gary, and thanks for all the songs I just love!"


"Axl Rose will say that without Thin Lizzy you don't get Guns N' Roses, and that whole idea of rock and roll, and Gary was sort of fundamental in developing that twin-guitar, lyrical thing like on Parisian Walkway. But really you didn't have to cut the skin hard to find just a great, great blues player, and absolutely one of the best."

"One of the greatest blues players of all time. Van Morrison, Rory Gallagher and Gary Moore - the glorious trinity of the Irish blues men. His playing was exceptional and beautiful. We won't see his like again."


Gary Moore had amazing tone, and passion in his guitar playing. A monster of a guitarist. He will be missed.


On the last date of our tour a couple of months ago, Gary was playing on Roger's [Glovers] MP3 player backstage through an amplified speaker. It was Gary and our Don Airey, I think, playing with Colosseum II. They sounded great, of course. Don always spoke fondly of his playing, and I'm a fan as well. His playing was lively, energetic, but tasteful at the same time. I never knew him but all of us in Purple were shocked at the loss.

TANK (Mick Tucker and Cliff Evans)

Mick: "I am totally shocked at this news. It's a great loss. He was one of the best guitar players on the planet and will be missed by the whole world. So sad. Respect to a great musician."

Cliff: "Gary Moore was the guitarist that other guitar heroes looked up to. He was the master of many styles of playing and a genuinely nice person who always remained approachable throughout his career. He is one of the main reasons why I picked up a guitar all those years ago and his playing still inspires me to the same degree today. A great, great loss. R.I.P., Gary Moore."


"I'm devastated to hear about Gary Moore... much love & respect to his children. He will be sorely missed."


Henry Rollins told The Hollywood Reporter that Moore's death was "a big loss."

"He was too young to go," Rollins said.

Rollins not only praised Moore's work with Thin Lizzy ("those Lizzy recordings with Moore were as good as it gets"), but also his individual projects.

"His solo records were rocking," Rollins said.


“I’m devastated to hear of Gary’s passing. A truly great British rock and blues hero. I shared many wonderful musical and personal experiences with him.

“He was a ferocious player, and had no fear of his instrument. I’m glad that Gary and I got to mend our relationship. Rest In Peace.”

GUS G (guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne)

"I'm very saddened by Gary Moore's passing. We've lost one of the greats. His guitar style has heavily influenced me and I was lucky enough to see him live when he played in Greece for the first time back in 2008.

"I don't think I've ever heard more soulful playing and tone than Gary's. As one of your biggest fans, thank you for the great music you gave us. Gary Moore. RIP."

TREVOR RABIN (YES, soundtrack composer)

"I'd like to say how sad I am to hear of Gary Moore's passing. He was a wonderful player and I'll miss him ... Rest in peace Gary. "


"Brilliant guitarist, not the most household name but one who didn't need trends, gimmicks or image, just pure tone and soul."


"Once again, the world has lost a unique voice, a major talent. If it wasn't for Gary Moore, my life would have been very different.Three guys — Gary, Randy Rhoads and Michael Schenker — guided my decision to play guitar no matter what happened. I discovered Uli [Jon Roth] after I had already made that decision.
I remember the first time I heard Gary. I bought 'Corridors Of Power' one night just as the record store was closing. The next morning I put it on the turntable while I was getting ready for school. The first notes of 'Falling In Love With You' came on while I was brushing my teeth, and I'll remember that moment forever — just a few simple notes, but with the power of the Gods behind them. It changed my life.
Every time I record something, I compare it to Uli, Schenker, Randy and Gary, and I ask myself, "Is it as good as your heroes?' So far, I haven't even come close.
God bless Gary Moore, may he rest in peace."


"On Sunday it was very sad to read that Gary Moore had died. I was most upset, as I have known Gary for many years, and he is a wonderful guitarist and friend. He will be sadly missed, but he leaves us with a wonderful legacy of music, and my heart goes out to his family. Rest in peace, my friend!"


"Nobody ever played with more emotion than Gary Moore. He played with unmatched soul and melody. But he was also by far, the most ferocious, fearless and intense player I ever heard. No question. His playing made a huge impact on me. R.I.P. Gary. Thank you for your amazing music and inspiration."


"Our condolences to the family of Gary Moore — one of the greatest guitar players ever. A very sad loss for the music world. His playing will inspire generations to come. God bless. Love and respect."


"Growing up in the '80s in Sweden, you couldn't avoid Gary Moore. His Celtic hard-rock material of that era was massively popular here.

"As a guitar player, he had a huge influence on the European scene, and certainly on myself. America had Randy Rhoads and Eddie Van Halen; we had Gary Moore and Michael Schenker!

"There are so many Gary Moore-isms in ARCH ENEMY's music… and that is something we are very proud of!

"Thank you for the music.

"R.I.P., Gary."

NEAL SCHON (JOURNEY) in facebook:

RIP Gary Moore + video still got the blues + Cry guitar, cry..


I did many dates with Gary Moore when we were coming up together in England. He always stood out as an "A” division guitarist and the nicest guy.


Watched Gary Moore on a Phil L tribute concert tonight on TV. Double hit! "Don't Believe a Word", cracked, emotions. A horde of festivals together, picked up his award in NYC for his brilliant Planet Rock Show and saw him last in Sweden in 2009. Cantankerous, moody, private wonderful, enclosed deep, soulful immensely talented man who was a pure natural gifted musician and one of Ireland's finest. We lose another beacon.


"Man, I can't believe it was 24 years ago I saw Gary Moore for the first time. One word says it all today... shocked!! Gary Moore left us far too soon. He just played an amazing hard rock set last year and many of us were pleased he might have been doing that again so we could see it once again.

Gary did things with a guitar that most guitar players can only dream about. His music in regards to THIN LIZZY or his later solo efforts with Phil [Lynott] and Glenn Hughes should be known as some of the best hard rock ever made. From 'Empty Rooms' to 'Over The Hills', it is with a huge loss that this legend is now gone. He might be gone now but his music will forever speak to us! Crank it to 11, Moore! Phil and a few friends are waiting to jam!"

JAMES DEPRATO (Guitarist for Chuck Prophet, Bonnie Raitt, Warren Haynes, Glenn Hughes)

In the late ’80s, I was a budding young shredder being dropped off at my weekly guitar lesson at Tril Music in Riverside, California. I was about 11 years old at the time, aspiring to be the next legend of the pointy headstock guitar while my parents desperately tried to steer me toward the more blues-based, classic rock and roll they loved: Cream, The Allman Bros…

I was hopeless until one day in 1990 when we showed up at Tril Music for my weekly lesson and heard a brand new track being played over the loudspeakers at the store. The song was "Still Got the Blues" by Gary Moore. A real nice tune at first listen. Mom thought it was Robert Cray singing (which was Mom and Dad music to me at the time). Then Gary leans into that first solo. I heard the searing Les Paul/Marshall combo that was familiar from my stack of metal records at home (and let’s face it, in 1990, if you were playing a Les Paul through a Marshall stack, you weren't playing mom and dad music). That solo had every ounce of bad attitude, fiery tone, wild vibrato 1990 had to offer. But something was different, it also had soul and complete vocabulary of blues licks that mom instantly recognized. Not to mention how well-written and sung that track was. My guitar teacher told me we were listening to "Still got the Blues" by Gary Moore. Said he used to be in Thin Lizzy, and that he was singing and playing the solos on that track. Mom swung me through Sam Goody on the way home and we bought a copy of Still Got the Blues.

That record is filled with wild and soulful guitar playing and singing, and I had never heard anything like it at the time. Gary Moore introduced me to the bluesmen he admired. The record features guest spots from Albert King and Albert Collins. Even George Harrison goes toe-to-toe with Gary Moore on "That Kind of Woman." From that day forward, the blues was alright.

Gary Moore is gone. Hard to imagine. I'm still numb this morning thinking about it. A major loss—a blow to the guitar-playing community, for sure.

Gone before your time. Gary, you will be sorely missed. And for the record, if you're done with that old Les Paul that Peter Green gave you, I think I could shine it up for you.


"Gary Moore gave a lifetime of music to the world; [he was] such a great guitarist. He was like the rock guitarist, the guy that had the best of everything in his playing — and that could only come from having the best of everything in his heart.

"To his family, you have my deepest sympathies, the love and support of millions of fans, all wishing you strength in this difficult time."


We are devastated to hear about the passing of Gary Moore. Both myself and Fredrik are massive fans of his, and we've been listening to his music since we're kids. He was such a integral part of our musical upbringing, so it's with great sadness we have to try and accept these horrible news. One of the very best hard rock lead guitar players EVER! We love you Gary, rest in peace.

Mikael on behalf of Fredrik and Opeth.


"Just heard the very sad news that Gary Moore has passed away. The Belfast-born guitar legend was a big inspiration for myself growing up in Northern Ireland, both for his work with THIN LIZZY and his very successful solo career. We had the pleasure of meeting Gary and his band last summer at the Pinkpop Classic festival in Holland. After watching their (killer) show, we were introduced and Gary came over to our dressing room and chatted away to us. He was everything you'd want a hero to be… laid back, modest and very genuine, with a cool sense of humour. "


“The first time I heard him play was on the first Skid Row album. I remember on the record sleeve it said, ‘Gary Moore - 17 years old - lead guitar’ and, even back then, he was amazing. I loved Colosseum II and then, of course, his work with Thin Lizzy. Black Rose was just incredible. His sense for melodies reminded me of Jeff Beck; he had superior technique, melody and feel and knew where to play a lot and where not to play. His later work turned on a whole new generation to the blues. It is very sad to see him pass at a way-too-young age. I will miss him.”

SLASH (via Twitter)

Gary Moore. One of the greatest British Rock & Roll guitarists. There will never be another Gary Moore. Sad times.


"I knew Gary Moore for what seemed like forever. We'd run into each other many times over the years and we were always able to pick up right where we left off.

"I had the honor of recording with Gary on his 'After The War' album on the track 'Led Clones' which was great fun.

"To say that his death is a tragic loss doesn't seem to give it the justice it deserves. We've lost a phenomenal musician and a great friend.

"Rest in peace, Gary."


“It was my wife who told me the news. It’s terrible: 58 is just too early. In Phil [Lynott]’s case it was tragic, and in Gary’s case there should have been a lot more years.

“I have great memories of Gary on tour in Thin Lizzy with Queen: always smiling, very cheerful and… too young to die. He’d recently joined Lizzy and he fitted in great: a blindingly fast player, and his thing was these staccato runs, with a bit of jazz in there. Totally different to Brian [May], who’s a very fluid player, but musicians usually ‘get’ other rated musicians, and Brian very much enjoyed his playing.

“Over the years, I’d see Gary out in the clubs: a great guy on the scene. He liked to drink, as I remember, but everybody did in those days. It’s very sad. But I think his music will live on. Virtuosity is something we really don’t have now: there are lots of great bands, but the emphasis just isn’t on that anymore. In those days, it was all about how great you were; there were so many virtuosos and he was definitely one of them. He was a star player.”


I had the pleasure of Jamming with Gary Moore when the Paul Rodgers band played the Royal Albert Hall a few years ago. Great player, very fast, but clean. He will be missed.


Paul Rodgers has posted the following statement online regarding the passing of legendary guitarist Gary Moore:

"Gary was a friend and a truly great man. I respect that he played the game his way... no time for B.S. He was focused and passionate about music and was one of the best.

"The last time that I jammed with Gary, he came on as my special guest at London's Royal Albert Hall and proceeded to take it to another level... the place imploded! When he played, he was a man on fire.

"If there hadn't been an ocean between us and Gary didn't mind flying, we absolutely would have created more together.

"We've lost a great British blues man and I am very, very sad."


"I am deeply shocked and saddened about Gary's passing. He was truly one of the great guitarists, had a huge talent, and was a musical force beyond par. I am a fan."


"A super guitarist and, for me, a man who has given me wonderful songs to listen to and dance my first slow dances to, has been found dead early this morning in Spain.

"He was so young still, just 58 years old and it's just a big loss for music.

"NIGHTWISH has recorded one of his songs as a cover — 'Over The Hills And Far Away' — a great song he made.


It's always sad to hear of the death of a fellow musician, but especially so when it's a guitarist of the calibre of Gary Moore. A great sound, fabulous vibrato and an exceptional singer.
Although I never met the man personally I had the good fortune to work sometimes with Graham Lilley, Gary's guitar tech.
It's also extraordinary to think that Gary 'inherited' Peter Green's Les Paul. Two legends and men of magic, both wielding the same axe, like King Arthur's sword slicing through endless beautiful configurations. Words are not enough. I'm sure so many of us have still got the blues for Gary...


"Gary Moore was one of the greats. He had his roots in the blues and the power of rock, which is a brilliant combination.

"I have played with some of the best guitarists in the business, and when asked if wanted to do a project with someone else, I always said, 'Gary Moore.'

"Maybe it's little known, but I am a guitarist myself. I became a singer by pure accident. So I can really appreciate Gary's playing from a musician's point of view. He was an amazing talent and let's not forget his voice, which was pure and honest like his playing.

"I had the great fortune to meet Gary while in Denmark during the RAINBOW days. He was a great guy and very down to earth, which is impressive, to say the least.

"We shall greatly miss him for he was an original who stood out from the rest.

"I send my sympathies to his family and friends and to the rock world who is truly saddened by this loss.

"RIP, Gary."


Gary Moore was a guitarist's guitarist. He not only had a faithful following of fans who loved his music he also inspired many professional guitarists with his brilliant technique and command of several musical styles. For me, listening to his playing was a wonderful musical experience and a master class of playing technique. We have lost another musical giant. He will be missed but not forgotten. RIP Gary.


Although I never had the pleasure of meeting him, Gary Moore stands out as one of the greatest guitarists, ever, who was able to combine rock and blues; high energy and melody; tone and taste, emotion and style. I would say the same about his extraordinary vocals, which made him such a complete artist with deep integrity. He's a true legend in every sense of the word, and his music will live forever.


I am so sad my old colleague is gone. I really wanted to play music with him again. He was inspirational to me as a player as he played with so much passion. My heart goes out to his family. It is so surreal to have lost him he was a strong person. Rest in peace my brother you will be missed.


At abrief moment in time after the release of the 1982 "Hughes/Thrall" record and at a party at Glenn Hughes's house, Gary, Glenn and I were talking about the real possibility of forming a power trio. Gary's enthusiasm for the project was infectious.The unionnever materialized, but for me it would have been a dream band! Rest in peace Gary, you were one of a kind and a rare and genuine talent.


We were in the dressing room in El Paso. Thin Lizzy had opened for us in the past, so I didn't bother to go backstage to check them out, but I could hear someone really fucking tearing it up. I remember asking, "Who the fuck is playing guitar"? Well it was Gary, and I had to meet him. Later I introduced myself and we did what guitar players do ... gear talk. He hands me his pride and joy, the Les Paul he recently got from Peter Green. To my surprise I could hardly play it. He used very heavy gauge strings, high off the neck like a slide player. He played it with such ease ... I couldn't even make a bar chord. Felt like a total pussy.


I am touched and sad about Gary’s passing. He was a great guitarist that many players looked up too and were inspired by.


I met Gary the last time last year here in Brighton at a Hotel called Hotel de Vine. We talked about music of course and we were both surprised that we lived in the same City Brighton. I always liked Gary's music. Still got the Blues. Gary forever.


I was a sad day loosing Gary Moore at age 58. I'm in shock. I never had the chance to meet or play with him, it was on my bucket list but I felt like I knew him through his music. My favorite songs are "Still Got The Blues" and “Empty Rooms." There's a live version of “Empty Rooms” on YouTube from 1987 that's the best live solo of all time and is the essence of what Gary Moore stood for, taste, feel, power and conviction. God rest his soul. We’ve lost a giant. 


The world lost a Giant, Gary Moore. I was a fan for sure. Amazing touch and chops..whew.. fire! I had the honor of sharing the bill with him in 2001 at Montreaux jazz festival. I was with Larry Carlton at the time.. he was such a nice guy and a MONSTER player. He will be missed.


My memories of Gary will be of someone who was dedicated to playing the guitar as well as he possibly could and with total focus, energy and intense commitment. I don't think I ever heard him play a wrong note and he was able to effortlessly become Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Carlos Santana or Jimi Hendrix if he felt like it. He was a very funny, down-to-earth guy and for over 10 years we seemed to share identical, wide-ranging taste in music, more so than anyone else I've played with. I wish I'd had the opportunity to play blues with him but that came later in his career. I do remember that in the mid-70s he was very casual about how he looked after the priceless Peter Green Les Paul – then again, he could make just about any guitar sing and cry. His passing is a giant loss for music.


I am deeply saddened to hear the news of Gary’s passing, he was a truly phenomenal player and will be greatly missed.

For me, one of the highlights of his career was the ‘One night in Dublin’ show, Gary totally delivered that night.

I will miss his attack and the feel in his playing, he was truly a one off and the music world has a huge gap without him.

R.I.P Gary.




ERIC SINGER (drummer KISS, Gary Moore)

"I had the pleasure to play drums with Gary on his 1987 'Wild Frontier' tour.

"I joined Gary's band via Bob Daisley. We had recorded together with BLACK SABBATH on the 'Eternal Idol' album. Bob arranged the audition in London in January of 1987. We soon began rehearsals for what would become one of Gary's most successful tours ever.

"I remember we would practice everyday at John Henry Studios in London. Bob and Neil Carter lived in Brighton and would have to leave in time to make their train home. Gary and I would sometimes stay on and jam. Just drums and guitar. We would play THIN LIZZY tunes or just jam endlessly as Gary never ran out of ideas when it came to soloing! He would also play those legendary guitars back then. The 'Peter Green' 1958 Les Paul and his 'Pink Salmon' 1962 Fender Stratocaster. He, of course, did not take those on tour anymore as they had become much too rare and valuable.

"I have to say the one thing that always stood out to me about Gary was his absolute passion and intensity as a guitarist. This man played every song and note like it was the last time he would ever play it. And therefore demanded and expected the same from his band.

"I have to admit he could be a bit tough on drummers. But he only asked for and expected what he himself gave to music. And that was complete commitment every time you played with him. He inspired me to want to play up to his level every night.

"I will always thank him for the opportunity he gave me to play with him. He really was a brilliant musician. And I always felt like he helped take me to another level as a drummer and musician. It was an experience and an education I will never forget and take with me everywhere I go.


Been revisiting Gary Moore's G-Force album lately-remembering how much I learned from it back in the day....Gary will indeed be missed.


"Gary Moore was such a tremendous feel player. I call it playing from the pores of your skin and he definitely had that.

"I wanted to share a quick story concerning Gary.

"In 1988 we were on tour with WHITESNAKE and I became pretty good friends with [then-WHITESNAKE guitarist] Vivian Campbell. We used to jam a lot before shows and stuff. One night before the show I told him I really loved his live solo and could he show me what he was doing. He showed me the riff and said, 'All I do is play this one riff, but I play it all over the neck and it makes it sound like I am playing something different, but I am not.' Then he said, 'And one more thing, I stole the riff from Gary Moore.'

"Gary will be sorely missed."

"God bless you, Gary Moore."


Biff Byford : "It's really sad.

"We knew Gary from back in the '80s. We went to a few of his album recording sessions back then. Him and Michael Schenker and Paul [Quinn, SAXON guitarist] were quite close back then, so we'd go to their sessions and they'd come to ours.

"We lost connection with him a bit when he started doing the blues thing, but during his metal period we knew him well.

"His guitar playing was always incredible. His tone, in particular, was really something.

"I hung out with him and Phil Lynott at Stringfellows once! It was quite a messy evening, even though I didn't drink at the time. It wasn't a lap-dancing club back then. You had dinner upstairs and then downstairs was the disco, and it was full of fashion models and B-list film stars, and I was there with Gary and Phil Lynott! That was quite an experience! But it's very sad to lose Gary. He'll be greatly missed."

Doug Scarratt: "In my memory of guitar gigs, Gary Moore really stands out. I was a fan from back in the THIN LIZZY days. A friend of mine had a ticket for one of his solo shows and I nearly didn't bother going, but I'm glad I did! It stays in my memory as one of the best guitar gigs I've ever seen. It was at the crossover point when he'd just started doing the blues stuff, and 'Still Got The Blues' was out, but he was still playing 'Parisienne Walkways' and 'The Loner' and all the big rock hits. His playing was just so emotional. It was mind-blowing."


"He was a good friend and it was really a surprise. It's always sad to lose someone who was talented and prominent in the blues world. We can't really afford to lose people like that."

And he still has fond memories of working with the late Thin Lizzy star on "If I Don't Get You Home."

"It wasn't really a planned thing. I was collecting musical people for the album and it turned out he just happened to be in the studio that was above our studio at that time. It was almost accidental. He took a break and came downstairs and put on his guitar track all in one take. That's the way we worked."


I did several recording projects with Gary Moore and the guy was amazing. He could play anything, flawlessly. We would be in the studio recording and he would start goofing around with a country version of the song we were recording and, as if that wasn't funny enough, he would do a Japanese version. Unbelievable. The many nights we would spend at the hotel bar after recording at Morgan Studio NW London for the Dirty Fingers album would be filled with joking, poking and self-depricating humor which made one feel like we were accepted in the presence of this genius. The title for the album wasn't decided and having two Americans in the band, Tommy Aldridge on drums and myself, Gary, being Irish, jokingly suggested, “Let's call it Paddy and the Septics. No wait, The Four Skins!” What a hoot. He didn't drink much because his father did and he wanted to work on his career but what a jokester. A few years later we did a release and a tour of England including the Marquee Club in London and the Reading Festival. The first day of rehearsal, I was so jet lagged that after an hour of practice I laid down on a bench at rehearsal unknowingly fell fast asleep with all the noise going on. Then a tap on the foot woke me up and the guys were playing “The Star Spangled Banner” perfectly. A little embarrassing but hey, I'm in the midst of international superstars, Ian Pace on drums and Neil Murray on bass. Gary was always so positive, happy and generous and I will always remember all the great times we shared in the 80's. Rest In Peace, my friend. That was a great song, as well, from the Dirty Fingers album. I will sorely miss you, Gary.


I was very saddened to hear of the passing of Gary. I met him several times over the years & opened for him on a couple of tours when I was in SAMSON. Such a passionate, Powerful yet subtle player & a major influence on many a big name guitarist. My condolences to his family.


“Well he’s definitely up at the top isn’t he? In fairness I think that he was probably wrongly accused of being one of these speed merchant guitarists because he could play fast. But the thing about Gary was that he actually came from the blues. Whereas a lot of the ’80s guitarists just ripped Eddie Van Halen off.”

“Funnily enough, he took over from Jon Butcher Axis on our Pyromania tour about halfway through it and was special guest to ourselves and Krokus,” Elliott remembered. “He had Ian Paice from Deep Purple on drums. I remember like [Leppard drummer] Rick Allen was just, couldn’t – he was beside himself. He was 16 years old or 17/18 years old and his hero, his drumming hero, was third on the bill to us, you know? We were almost apologizing for it, you know?

We knew Gary pretty well and he was a lovely chap and it’s such a shame and such a waste.”

JOHNNY DUHAN (Singer, Grannies Intentions)

“I was deeply shook when I heard of his death last night. Memories came flooding back. Gary Moore, Phil Lynott, and I shared a flat in Donnybrook back in ‘67 or 68. Originally it was my flat. Then one night Phil appeared and I put him up, just after he’d left Skid Row. A few weeks later Gary came knocking looking for a place to stay. There were only two single beds, so he slept on the floor.”
“None of us, I remember, owned a watch but Phil was good at reading the time from the slant of the sun on the wall above his bed. Phil and I were early risers, Gary slept on on the floor. They were tough times but soft to look back on. We lived on pipe-dreams and porridge. Music was constantly in the background. Gary always had a guitar in his hands, head down, fingers flying up and down the fretboard. A wizard on the instrument. He was only 15 or 16 then. I was two years older. Phil a year older than me.” The Grannies Intentions completed what was to be its one and only album at Decca Studios in London with Moore on guitar and ‘Honest Injun’ was released in 1970. Though the band broke up, Johnny and Gary remained good friends, “Gary and I grew very close. He took me to meet his family and friends in Belfast. He asked me to be the Godfather of his daughter. We lost contact when I drifted off on my folk journey, but I always kept a warm spot for him. He was a genuinely nice fella. A musician’s musician and deeply respected all over the world”.