Apparitions is the title of Joe Hodgson’s latest album with three successful previously released singles already leading it, and the full length album behind it contains a truly remarkable 15 guitar instrumentals that need no vocals because Hodgson speaks volumes on his guitar. This guitar playing and songwriting artist has been called a maverick, but it only tips the iceberg to describe his travels over the last two decades. The result is always in the pudding and this album could bring him full circle if he has not already reached that zone. But I have only heard this one record to exemplify his talents.
The mind-blowing guitar skills of this Irish gent are a sound to behold, even if you are not into this sort of music, which most can relate to either way as it contains nothing to berate. I can see berating music as a- whole being easier to swallow than that, because Hodgson would pass the attitude and skills test with flying colors to convert any non-music fan just the same. The album blazes from the get-go with “Cantata 147 / Fly Your Flag” flying through the gate with an impression that would turn any musician’s musician head around.
The clichés of the good sort are to be found throughout every song, with Hodgson putting his own virtuosic stamp on some familiar things but essentially standing out on his own two feet. “Serena Sonata” keeps you mighty interested as one of the lead singles and it is a track to simply die for, especially if you like tribal drums, because the congas are a main feature on this one. And if you like that you will love “Bareback Blues,” another single from the album and it goes a long way to represent Hodgson and his tight ensemble of players.
I was able to quickly ascertain the skills of Hodgson and realize there is probably a lot to look back on and catch up with and if his library is anything like Apparitions, then it helps me look forward to it while I reflect on this release with great affection. “The One That Got Away” also got the single treatment, and it clocks in as one of the most well- rounded moments under the Hodgson guitar spotlight. Then the rest tracks take off like wildfire and it gets harder and harder to describe what planet Hodgson is on with his freakishly great ideas.
To give some examples, “The Player” is simply an all-out display of what Hodgson is good for, and it is easy to assume that across the board when such a delivery is even possible. “Till the Last Breath” is a majestic moment worth noting, and “Disruptor,” “10 Feet From Chaos,” and “Resurrection Dance” are all elating as well. These tracks are all a ton of fun to jam to, with “Redneck and the Snowflake” being another highlight and the closing “Losing You Again” making you feel battered and begging for more of the Hodgson musical spirit.
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