Coming out from behind the stars, polymath guitarist sums up two decades of solo thinking.
Marty Walsh played with crème de la crème of pop and rock performers, from Dolly Parton and Randy Crawford to LeAnn Rimes and AIR SUPPLY, yet in the interesting twist of events the veteran released a first record under his own name simultaneously with an individual debut from his SUPERTRAMP colleague Carl Verheyen. But that’s not what this album’s title refers to: conceived in 1993 and started ten years later, it took a careful mapping and the involvement of the most intellectual instrumentalists on the scene including fellow Berklee associates John Robinson and Abe Laboriel. The rhythm section shines in the acoustic glimmer of “Coast To Coast” which unfolds into a mariachi sunrise, yet the funky groove sets in from the off.
Starting with “Like A Rock,” Marty paints harmonic curlicues all over the effervescent background where prog meets fusion and faux brass swings fiercely, while “Groove Mechanics” slows the pace down for twang and piano to shuffle with much gusto. Jazzy on the surface and with organ underneath, the pieces hold a lot of fire, so “The Duke” walks a blues ground – firmly, although not without a swing – and the sax-kissed “Fuel” rides a boogie line. Elsewhere, the breathtaking “Back Pages” unfurls an insistently lyrical shift down memory lane yet not before “Inside The Rain” offers a slide into a pure romantic wonder, and when “Now Is The Time” opts for a simpler tune the original plan feels complete – and then some.