Forward In Reverse
Forward In Reverse Music
Review by Nightwatcher
Every once in awhile there comes along an album, or an artist that makes all the bullshit that goes along with this business somewhat worthwhile. Such is the case with guitarist Ryan McGarvey, whose debut release, 'Forward In Reverse' shows a young artist who has arrived fully formed both playing -wise and compositionally.
Bucking the trend favored by most young axeslingers emerging in the genre of throwing in a couple of originals mixed in with a glut of covers, this solid debut disc features all original compositions. Serving to put him ahead of the curve creatively, this is the work of a player whom has a bright future ahead and then some from the evidence put forth here.
Opening up for and playing with such artists as Joe Bonamassa, Blue Oyster Cult, Gov't Mule, The Fabulous Thunderbirds and Buddy Guy, having a deep appreciation for classic hard rock gleaned from cruising through his father's record collection at an early age, 21 year old McGarvey has a sense of musical class which belies his youth. Rather than mining the SRV style which many young blues players are prone to these days, it's more Jimmy Page, Alvin Lee and the previously mentioned Bonamassa that he's akin to. Blending influences such as past masters Freddie King, Hendrix, ZZ Top and Cream alongside 70's styled riff rock, this incredibly talented guitarist has the goods and then some.
The album kicks off in high gear with the sounds of blues harp combined with slide guitar reminiscent of a slightly slower version of Aerosmith's Joe Perry's work ala "Let The Music Do The Talking" on the intro to "Right In All The Wrong Ways" and never looks back. "Joyride" features an early Bad Company vibe intially before exploding into a full blown guitar extravaganza - containing two extended solos, fans of great guitar will love this track. "Texas Special", a homage to SRV is the only time McGarvey truly travels down this path and is well worth the excursion. Cut from the same blues cloth as Vaughan's "Scuttlebuttin'" it's a showcase for this side of his playing - featuring fast fretwork, this live favorite captures the essence of the late legendary bluesman perfectly. "Someone Like You" brings a touch of modern rock to the table - if released to rock radio as a single, this would stand a good chance at providing a possible crossover hit. The acoustic based "Second Time Around", with its delicately picked guitarwork provides a change of pace to the blistering guitar on display elsewhere on the album. "Cryin' Over You" recalls Otis Rush brought into the 21st century. Tough, hard rocking blues is what you get, bringing the sound of classic Chicago guitar based blues to the modern age.
Next, one will encounter the instrumental guitar tour de force "Mystic Dream". Beginning with an intro not unlike recent live renditions of Joe Bonamassa's "Mountain Time", with a middle eastern vibe, there's a decided psychedelic feel. Building in intensity until exploding, the guitars soar and take flight towards the sky. Well constructed, the sheer strength of this track alone would serve notice that McGarvey is poised to assume a place among the cream of the crop of new blues rock players. The album ends on yet another high note with another down and dirty blues, "Blue Eyed Angel Blues". With strong vocals and yet another blast of stellar fretwork, it's a fitting end to an extremely strong debut effort.
Whereas artists like Joe Bonamassa are taking the blues kicking and screaming into the new century, it's players such as McGarvey who are the genre's future. Purists will most likely have their heads explode like in the movie 'Scanners' when they hear some of this, but seeing as earlier(and sometimes the same) said keepers of the blues museum felt the same way about Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Jeff Beck, Hendrix and Jeff Beck in decades past, I'd say he's in good company. Preview the future of this living music today. Wrap your ears around this release without hesitation. You won't be disappointed, to say the least. In the crowded blues rock throng McGarvey stands out as the real deal. 9.5/10 http://www.myspace.com/ryanmcgarvey
Check out The Ryan McGarvey Band during their smokin' appearance on 'New Mexico Southwest Sounds' which aired early January, 2008 :