Cranktone Entertainment 2015
Old, new, borrowed and blue: solitary rumination from SUPERTRAMP’s string serenader – subtitled “Solo Guitar Improvisations, Vol. 2”.
A welcome respite from electric charge of rock and jazz, this, second installment in Carl Verheyen’s unplugged line which started out in 2001 finds him in a reflective yet perky mood. Delivering both originals, new and previously recorded in a band setting, as well as covers – although sometimes it’s interpretation rather than improvisation that creates surface tension on the likes of “Nowegian Wood” – the guitarist steps lightly between the obvious and the unusual only to find a common context for the two. It’s never more obvious than on the other Fabs songs: if “In My Life” only embosses its baroque twang, the dull tune of “All You Need is Love” is embellished almost beyond recognizable with folk and blues in its midst.
Exploring a cinematic side of the strum, Verheyen evaporates the essence from “Over The Rainbow” and Mark Knopfler’s “Going Home” by hanging them in the foggy air, just as his take on Pat Metheny’s “Last Train Home” finds melancholy in playfulness shared with THE STRING-A-LONGS’ “Wheels,” before Luis Bonfá’s “The Gentle Rain” banishes the breakdown from the album’s elegant dance. But then, a fresh reading of Peter Gabriel’s “Mercy Street” gives it a romantic, Renaissance-like resonance, whereas Carl’s own “Last Days Of Autumn” from 2014’s "Mustang Run" goes deep to reach the bottom end of elegiac elation that harmonizes in fine fashion with “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” – given an adventurously jazzy florish. There’s no solitude this way, as you’re accompanied by a master.