226

Peppino D'Agostino & Stef Burns: Bayshore Road

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Peppino D'Agostino & Stef Burns: Bayshore Road Acoustic guitarist Peppino D'Agostino and electric guitarist Stef Burns couldn't have come from two more different musical worlds. D'Agostino, a self-taught player who left Italy for the United States in '93, has fashioned a career around an organic approach. Despite his admirable technique, he favours substance over style and lyricism over complexity. No less accomplished and certainly capable of elegant melodicism, Burns has worked with a swath of rock and pop artists—including Alice Cooper, Jesse Colin Young, Huey Lewis and the News and Sheila E—who demand the kind of chameleon-like approach to playing that occasionally leaves one wondering exactly who the real Stef Burns is.

But despite their divergent careers, it's clear that they share a lot of common ground on Bayshore Road, their first collaboration and the first record to sport Burns' name on the marquee. With D'Agostino playing largely an accompanist role on steel and nylon string guitars, one might be tempted to think that Burns, whose electric guitar tends to dominate, is the star of the show. But that would minimize his partner's contributions, which may not always be up front, but are absolutely essential to the shared chemistry that makes the disc so enjoyable.

One can almost imagine the upbeat title track as something that guitarist Steve Morse might approach in a rockier context. In fact, the changes are reminiscent of some of Morse's writing for the Dixie Dregs, and by the end of the tune, when Burns opens up all the stops and gets busier, it's clear that he shares some of Morse's predilections. The piece motors along with a gentle energy, with Burns doubling on bass (as he does on most of the album) and Sheila E providing some delicate but propulsive percussion.

Burns is clearly a Fender man, and there's plenty of twang on tracks like the darker-edged ballad "Inner Sanctuary. He's also disposed to means that extend the textural possibilities of his instrument, swelling heavily-reverbed chords with a volume pedal and gently shifting the pitch with his whammy bar. He may come from a stronger pop background, but there's clear precedent in his work with guitarists Jerry Donahue, John Jorgensen, and Will Ray, who worked together in the mid-'90s as the Hellecasters. But while Donahue, Jorgensen, and Ray are all tasteful guitarists, the Hellecasters were also a lot about show; Burns, on the other hand, when faced with an opportunity for more bombast, almost always takes the musical high road.

The overall direction of Bayshore Road is a kind of folksy approach to pop instrumental music, but on the Luiz Bonfá standard "Manha de Carnaval both players, especially D'Agostino, show off some jazz chops. And "Jerry's Breakdown proves that D'Agostino has a little bluegrass in him as well, with Burns knocking off some admirable country licks.

An easy-going affair that keeps the focus on interpreting the song rather than demonstration of prowess, Bayshore Road is an appealing meeting that proves that there can be a nexus between different worlds.

Visit Peppino D'Agostino and Stef Burns on the web.


Track Listing: Bayshore Road; Better World; Inner Sanctuary; Beyond the Dunes; Manha de Carnaval; A Night in Manarola; Venus Over Venice; Jerry's Breakdown; Echo Lake; Birdland

Personnel: Peppino D

Title: Bayshore Road | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Favored Nations


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Saluting Sgt. Pepper CD/LP/Track Review Saluting Sgt. Pepper
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Thick as Thieves CD/LP/Track Review Thick as Thieves
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Dream Within A Dream CD/LP/Track Review Dream Within A Dream
by Ian Patterson
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Live At The High Noon CD/LP/Track Review Live At The High Noon
by Doug Collette
Published: June 22, 2017
Read As It Should Be: Ballads 2 CD/LP/Track Review As It Should Be: Ballads 2
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 21, 2017
Read Karoujite CD/LP/Track Review Karoujite
by John Eyles
Published: June 21, 2017
Read "Waller" CD/LP/Track Review Waller
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 14, 2017
Read "Together, As One" CD/LP/Track Review Together, As One
by Ian Patterson
Published: February 16, 2017
Read "The Eleventet - Please Call" CD/LP/Track Review The Eleventet - Please Call
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: February 4, 2017
Read "Till They Lay Me Down" CD/LP/Track Review Till They Lay Me Down
by Roger Farbey
Published: December 5, 2016
Read "Out Of The Blue" CD/LP/Track Review Out Of The Blue
by Tyran Grillo
Published: November 4, 2016
Read "Poetry For The Beat Generation" CD/LP/Track Review Poetry For The Beat Generation
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: December 11, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.