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Scott McGill: The Hand Farm

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No stars How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

If I had received this CD without liner notes or the disc itself unlabeled and had to name the guitarist, my vote would have been Bill Connors doing one of his finest tributes to Allan Holdsworth. Chord phrasings, song structures, legato leads yet edged with furious picking brought to mind Connors' Step It or Assembler release. The virtuosity McGill explodes with over and over is my kind of guitar work. McGill burns the frets closer to Holdsworthian modes than anyone I have ever heard. His execution stands inseparable from Bill Connors' and goes beyond Shawn Lane's. I heard snatches of Eric Johnson bleed through in places but McGill cranked up the speed, mixed up his lead phrasings and he went right back into jazz-rock fusion. You'll also hear superb Andy Summers tone and styling in many places.

Don't be misled, McGill isn't into jazzy, "out there" abandon. He knows how to kick out some serious rock jams in the midst of complex stop-n-go time signatures. In speaking with Scott by phone I was amazed to find out he was more a picker than left-hand legato runs predominately. You'd never know it by the seamlessly smooth flow of notes.

Hand Farm is graced by the expert musicianship of Kevin Woolsten and Matt Cantwell on bass. Anthony DeSimone drums right up there with the likes of Wackerman, Chambers, Husband, and Weckl.

File this future classic under favorite, killer fusion right next to Connors and Holdsworth. McGill is a musician's musician and a nice guy too. Highly recommended.

Record Label: Train Records

Style: Fusion/Progressive Rock


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