Whatzup
Starting Now
Bryon Thompson

by Jason Hoffman startingnow

      Fans of tasty guitar instrumentals rejoice: Bryon Thompson has released Starting Now, his fourth collection of top-notch pop-rock compositions! Once again he plies his trade using a trusty Godin A6 electric/acoustic hybrid guitar, giving Thompson’s tone a glassy sheen amid the myriad of sugary tones he conjures forth on each and every track. Fortunately his technique is just as surgically clean, making the album a true delight.

      The 10 tracks start off with the title track, a relaxed cascade of finger-picked notes that lead into a heavier rock riff where flanged guitars trade a sunny melody back and forth. “Leave Your Mark” definitely does, evoking wistful memories of bygone rock eras with double guitars playing melodic intervals over a steady rock beat. As good as the first two tracks are, “Beach Nut” will blow you away. Not only do the guitars have an amazing shimmering organ sound, but this upbeat, peppy song will stick in your head for days, combining flash and substance. “I Just Know” is based on a 6/4 chord progression (handled with astounding ease) with a crystal clear tube guitar tone laying down a melodic solo for much of its duration.

      At just over one minute, “Antlers” is over before you fully get to enjoy its wood block percussion and banjo-like finger-picking. Your CD player has a repeat button; use it. Another brief but content-rich composition is “Always More,” a waterfall of finger-picked arpeggios that leads to an inventive melody and further plucky ruminations. “Sunny Side of Heaven” is a Fleetwood Mac cover done to perfection, using bright, clear tones and impeccable playing that brings out the character of the original while adding Thompson’s own personality. 

      “Attention Deficit” earns its name by changing back and forth every 10 seconds between a hammered/plucked melody and a more brass-like passage, with each pass developing a central melody. Searing lead tones and solid drumming make “Says Who” a wonderful rock song full of energy and a playful sense of adventure. The closing track, “Dialed In,” brings on the heavier drums and crunchy rhythm, adding slightly over-driven guitar tones over a gutsy fuzzed bass. But even at his rockiest Thompson never lets things get out of control, instead mastering the beast to channel the energy into a driving rhythm.

      While his past albums have always been solid, Starting Now has surpassed them, thanks in small part to an improved rhythm section. The compositions, as in the past, are mature and top-shelf, and his playing clean and controlled yet expressive. Whether you are a guitar aficionado or want background music for your next summer party Starting Now is sure to please. Available at cdbaby.com.

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