756

Mike Keneally Band: Guitar Therapy Live

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Mike Keneally Band: Guitar Therapy Live A musical chameleon who can fit into any context, Mike Keneally first arrived on the scene as guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist in Frank Zappa's last touring band. Since then he's recorded and/or performed with the likes of Robert Fripp, XTC and Greg Osby. While his own records have been as eclectic as the company he's kept, Guitar Therapy Live is the rock guitar album fans have been waiting for. Keneally is as comfortable in the contemporary classical context of The Universe Will Provide (Favored Nations, 2004) as he is interpreting early 1970s Miles Davis on Henry Kaiser and Wadada Leo Smith's Sky Garden (Cuneiform, 2004). A rock record from Keneally is bound to be anything but conventional.

There's plenty of searing pedal-to-the-metal guitar work from Keneally and guitar alter ego Rick Musallam on this collection of songs spanning Keneally's solo career. But this isn't merely 72 minutes of guitaristic self-indulgence. Extended jams like "Hum," with its in tandem reckless abandon from Keneally and Musallam, work with a minimum of structure. "Quimby," on the other hand, opens the set loaded with a series of Zappa-inspired meter shifts that bassist Bryan Beller and drummer Joe Travers effortlessly navigate.

Still, just as this isn't an album about total self-indulgence, it's also not all about quirky arrangements where you can't place your finger on the downbeat. "Panda" is four-to-the-bar greasy funk, while "Lightnin' Roy" rocks harder, at least for the first half, with some tasteful double-guitar lines that could come straight from the Allman Brothers. Still, that's only a setup for some Zappa-esque levity as the quartet segues into up-tempo country-based absurdity and the origin of the song's namesake is finally explained—only to shift gears yet again into a plodding 9/4 riff that gives Keneally the chance to get medieval on his audience's collective ass.

"Beautiful" may be straight funk, but it's really a piece of anecdotal autobiography, with Keneally singing an almost impossible to fathom melody that he miraculously doubles on guitar. Other than the inherently self-composed drum solo "Joe's Solo," "Seven Percent Grade" is the only non-Keneally track on the disc. Bryan Beller's piece is a solid feature for Musallam, who is the sole guitarist (Keneally plays piano).

Whether it's the more straightforward semi-alt rock of "Pride is a Sin," the acoustic ballad "Machupicchu," or the staggered sometimes almost-swing and elsewhere total eccentricity of "Spoon Guy," the one thing that's clear throughout Guitar Therapy Live is how much fun Keneally and his band are having. Hearing this disc may only be the next best thing to being there, but that's plenty good enough.


Track Listing: Quimby; Panda; Lightnin' Roy; Beautiful; Seven Percent Grade; Joe's Solo; Pride is a Sin; Machupicchu; Spoon Guy; Uglytown; Hum; Voyage to Manhood; Top of Stove Melting; 'Cause of Breakfast.

Personnel: Mike Keneally: right speaker guitar, keyboards, vocals; Rick Musallam: left speaker guitar, backing vocals; Bryan Beller: bass, backing vocals; Joe Travers: drums, occasional off-mic utterances.

Title: Guitar Therapy Live | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Exowax


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Open Book CD/LP/Track Review Open Book
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Stolen Moments CD/LP/Track Review Stolen Moments
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Sonder CD/LP/Track Review Sonder
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Putting Off Death CD/LP/Track Review Putting Off Death
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends CD/LP/Track Review Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Heaven On Their Minds CD/LP/Track Review Heaven On Their Minds
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: August 16, 2017
Read "Kickin' Child - The Lost Album 1965" CD/LP/Track Review Kickin' Child - The Lost Album 1965
by Doug Collette
Published: June 24, 2017
Read "Red Nation "1"" CD/LP/Track Review Red Nation "1"
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 20, 2017
Read "Trillium Falls" CD/LP/Track Review Trillium Falls
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 5, 2017
Read "Celestial Blues: Cosmic, Political and Spiritual Jazz 1970 to 1974" CD/LP/Track Review Celestial Blues: Cosmic, Political and Spiritual Jazz 1970...
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 4, 2016
Read "Post Cool: Vol 1 The Night Shift" CD/LP/Track Review Post Cool: Vol 1 The Night Shift
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: February 15, 2017
Read "Ugly Beautiful" CD/LP/Track Review Ugly Beautiful
by David A. Orthmann
Published: March 24, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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