Mind’s Eye 2019
Ninth solo album from acclaimed American musician who ventures into the pocket of daydream.
One of the original guitar heroes, Vinnie Moore knows well how to let the listener peek into his psyche: less is more must be this artist’s motto when a set of emotions is at stake. That’s why there’s neither shallow flurries of notes nor superficial shredding on “Soul Shifter” – yet it’s not a lean album by any means, because its robust grooves are garbed in heavenly harmonies and inhabited by good-humored licks whose lyricism and eloquence have a lot to offer to a discerning ear. Not many six-stringers can make their instrument do the talking, to imitate human speech and sing a story, but Vinnie’s technical abilities allow him to expand performing palette and embrace a wide variety of styles within a single narrative.
Translucent on the acoustically tinctured “Same Sun Shines” that will sacrifice abstract strum to a filigree threading of electric sustain, playful on the muscular “Kung Fu Grip” with its freedom-flaunting fretboard babble, or approaching and deliberately avoiding fusion on the punchy “Mirage” and gentle “Mystified” which elevate blues-based balladry to spiritual heights, he paints more than an aural picture – he’s unfolding a welcoming vista, a feast for fantasy. Beginning with “Funk Bone Jam” where Rudy Sarzo‘s bass helps Moore roar and carry hefty rattle up the multilayered ladder, and riding into the sunset on a countrified “Heard You Were Gone” and “Soul Rider” without necessarily catering to cinematic tropes yet injecting heartbeat in the former and reverie in the latter, Vinnie’s solos aren’t relentless; instead of blinding on technical level, they detail the turmoil and tranquility inherent to everyone’s world.
Moore pays homage to Steve Gaines on “Gainesville Station” where Jordan Rudess’ boogiyng ivories spike the effervescent rifferama and infectious rock ‘n’ roll runs, and evokes the ghost of Santana on “Brother Carlos” where thrills, rather than melodic frills, outline his influence. Still, if Vinnie’s fans crave heaviness he usually vents with UFO, “Across The Ages” has it in spades – alongside delicate, dewy-eyed moments of clarity. That’s the way of an ever-shifting soul: to remain the same, true to itself, but enthrall with contrast and consistency.