Carl Verheyen | Mustang Run – CD Review

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Over the course of over 40 years, guitarist Carl Verheyen has enjoyed a wildly successful, multi-faceted career. A member of Supertramp since 1985, he’s been one of LA’s elite “first call” session players, appearing on hundreds of records, movie soundtracks and television shows. On his own, Verheyen has an impressive and eclectic discography. He’s also written books, penned magazine columns, and continues to lecture and teach at clinics and master classes regularly when not on the road. For 2014, this master of master guitar players has recorded and released the mostly instrumental Mustang Run.

A clean and simple guitar run lifts up the bluesy bopper “Taylor’s Blues.” There is a wild amalgamation of styles in “Julietta And The St. George,” a wonderfully complex and warm tune. I love the twists and turns on this one — jumping from country-like funk to jazz-fusion in quick succession. Legendary drummer Simon Phillips (Toto, The Who and Jeff Beck), keyboardist Jim Cox and bassist Cliff Hugo accompany Verheyen on “Fusioneers Disease,” a delightful and mild exercise in dexterity and world-class musicianship.

“Amandola” is a driving instrumental with a Toto-like backing and Verheyen finding his lead groove over the piano, drums and a cool melody. A bluesy cover of Supertramp’s “Bloody Well Right” features Verheyen providing a clear country-like guitar lead and original Supertramp reed man John Helliwell on sax. “Riding The Bean” is a fun little southern rocker featuring Verheyen picking electric, playing slide, and employing other embellishments. This carries over to the spacey “Passage To Run,” boiling with a collage of acoustic guitar, sitar and smooth, echoey electric guitar parts. This one surely shows off the soft lyrical side of Verheyen’s playing.

The snappy, acoustic-based title track sustains the versatility of the whole record, while “Fourth Door On The Right” features drummer Chad Wackerman and bassist Jimmy Johnston (at one time, Allan Holdsworth’s rhythm section) supporting Verheyen’s runs and pulling off fine flights of dexterity. The closing blues instrumental “Spirit Of Julia” provide the perfect exit strategy, leaving the listener thirsting for more. At its conclusion, you can either go for a second listen of Mustang Run, or patiently wait until Verheyen makes another one. Chances are you’ll do both.

~ Ralph Greco, Jr.


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