Paul Gilbert – Stone Pushing Uphill Man (2014)

This is Paul Gilbert instrumental album and also his cover version one. He seems to alternate his recording between vocalized (last album Vibrato),  and dedicated shred instrumental, as as in this Stone Pushing Uphill Man. Here the twist, this is a guitar-ized version of many great tunes from many great artist. Well, admittedly most of the song  I also not remember listened. So, it's kind of added the fun factor in my ears. Paul chosen are understandably out of our luck, ranging from Elton John, James Brown, Aerosmith, K.D.Lang to every in between The Beatles and Loverboy.

The first song is by Loverboy called "Working For the Weekend", love the composition and it's fit to Paul Gilbert quirkiness right from the intro. The intro chord progressive and power riff chops is everything Paul Gilbert, so it's kind of Loverboy version of Paul Gilbert. The sweet vocal melodies are nicely converted into guitar. "Back In the Saddle" is the opposite, not really Paul Gilbert recognized , the twin guitar of Joe Perry and Brad Whitford is preserved , as well fantastic bass line of Tom Hamilton. In the song-by song description it is clear Paul only improvised later at the end of the album, so any how you like Aerosmith and Paul Gilbert, this song is a triumphant. "I Got the Feelin'" is my first favorite track of this album. James Brown quick vocal phrasing is mimic by the guitar and it's just grooving tunes in every seconds. "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" sounds then like a nicely composed song for guitar melody. Nice song and Elton John is now perfect also in instrumental version. Most orchestration in this song converted in to guitar parts. The Beatles' "Why Don't We Do It In the Road" is kind of Jimi Hendrix-esque blues-singing guitar jam. "Shock Absorber" is look like original written song by Paul Gilbert. In the interview, Paul said the intro inspired from harmonica instructions DVD by Rick Estrin. "Purple Without All the Red" is the only song sounds "too easy" for serious listening, it's all about rhythm lesson and sliding notes. Lots of E7#9 thing in the chord progression. "Murder By Numbers" is yet another song that not really sounds like Paul Gilbert. "My Girl" is that popular song, the mood is light and happy all around. K.D. Lang "Wash Me Clean" acoustic jam is the contrast point in this album, no shred but only familiar K.D. Lang singing style in the guitar. "Stone Pushing Uphill Man" is Paul Gilbert trying to take on cowboy singing country in the crossroad of Texas kind of thing. Weird at first , especially when the second part kicks in.

Bring a long with this album is drummer Mike Portnoy, ah, really, this must be Portnoy most relax drumming recently. Paul Gilbert still up to his shred guitar but in obvious easy listening hard rock platform. The signature part is still audible everywhere, so the cover version should not distracted any Paul Gilbert fans away. Drummer guru Kenny Aronoff is playing also, so you know the level of seriousness in Paul Gilbert percussion department. If you remember, John Lang is the drummer for Vibrato album.

Metal Harem class: ********* eight stars out of ten

Favorite tracks: I Got the Feelin', Working For the Weekend, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

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Paul Gilbert – Stone Pushing Uphill Man (2014)

01. Working For the Weekend (cover: Loverboy)
02. Back In the Saddle (cover: Aerosmith)
03. I Got the Feelin’ (cover: James Brown)
04. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (cover: Elton John)
05. Why Don’t We Do It In the Road (cover: The Beatles)
06. Shock Absorber (inspired by Rick Estrin)
07. Purple Without All the Red
08. Murder By Numbers (cover: The Police)
09. My Girl (cover: Eric Carmen, Rachmaninoff)
10. Wash Me Clean (cover: K.D. Lang)
11. Stone Pushing Uphill Man

guitars: Paul Gilbert
drums: Mike Portnoy and Kenny Aronoff (track 8)

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