Ned Evett: Treehouse (2012)
Nashville-based fretless guitarist Ned Evett is classically trained, but he has also derived influence from the likes of guitarist Adrian Belew (King Crimson, Frank Zappa), who produced Treehouse at his recording studio in the Nashville area. Evett has moved around the U.S., recording several solo and group-centric albums. Shocking audiences with his extraordinary technique within the progressive-rock power trio format or going toe-to-toe with fretless guitar wonder Dave "Fuse" Fiuczynski, he's broadened his appeal by opening shows for perennial poll-winning rock guitar icon Joe Satriani.
With his custom-made glass fretless guitar, Evett fashions a compelling statement on Treehouse, designed with memorable narratives and lyrically resplendent harmonies. Here, the artist sculpts a hybrid folk, rock, and country-blues extravaganza, featuring Belew on three tracks.
As a vocalist, Evett possesses an imposing tenor delivery. His personalization of life's experiences through the looking glass of art rings loud and clear throughout. A solid effort, there is no filler material in this program, which is filled with some killer riffs and resonates a "Nashville" sound. The acoustic-electric framework works effectively, whether the band incorporates a delicate swagger or spawns pulsating rock grooves.
Each piece stands on its own, with Evett spicing it up with artful slide guitar lines and slick picking breakouts. Diversity is also a major component, partly evidenced on "Sayonara Serenade," which adds vintage British pop to the mix via emphatic and melodious vocal choruses. Enticing ballads, ballsy hard-rock vamps, and surging boogie workouts are executed with impact and sentiment. Moreover, the title track boasts a tuneful, in-the-pocket, straightforward ballad stylization, treated with Evett's daintily engineered acoustic guitar phrasings and atmospheric bottleneck passages.
Designed upon compositions that sustain interest on repeated spins, the guitarist bridges the gap between technical mastery and widespread accessibility. It would be unfair for Treehouse to go unnoticed by the general populace, even though Evett has concocted a sterling reputation among his peers and legions of guitar enthusiasts.
Track Listing: Pure Evil; Falling In Line; Break My Fall; Nightmare and a Dream Come True; Sayonara Serenade; Just About Over This Time; Mars River Delta 2128; Bend Me; Treehouse; Say Goodbye for Both of Us; Why Can't I Believe; Getting Over Someone Too; Dead on a Saturday Night; Don't Despair.
Personnel: Ned Evett: vocals, electric and acoustic fretless guitars; Malcolm Bruce: bass, string arrangements (14); Lynn Williams: drums and percussion; Adrian Belew: guitar and piano (11), alarm clock (10), organ (10); Ed Roth: organ (6, 10).
Record Label: Raging Krill