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Album Review

Reeves Gabrels had been laying fairly low in the 21st century when he turned in his third solo album, Rockonica, for Steve Vai's Favored Nations label. Gabrels is clearly best known as a hired gun, and on previous efforts has called in favors from his more famous singing employers, whether it was to add "star power" to an album or because Gabrels was unsure of his own vocal abilities. This time out, all the lead and many of the backing vocals are handled by Gabrels (who seems to have gotten more confident as a vocalist), and the album actually comes off stronger as a result. He's a good though not great songwriter but he is a great guitarist, and since that's presumably the direction most listeners will come at this from, they won't be disappointed. As a player, Gabrels rarely plays it safe and the songs provide excellent vehicles for his gonzo soloing. Bruising riffs are offset by pedal and lap steel guitars, excellent wah-wah playing, sumptuous feedback, and even a lovely acoustic guitar duet ("13th Hour"). No surprise, there are lots of guitars on here and lots of space in the songs to showcase them — especially on the epic and majestic "Anywhere (She Is)." Folks interested in Reeves Gabrels' solo material should start here.


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

When thinking of all the guitarists David Bowie has played with over the years, Mick Ronson is usually the one that immediately comes to mind. However, it was Reeves Gabrels who played with the Thin White Duke the longest. Born on June 4, 1956 in Staten Island, New York, Gabrels received his first guitar as a gift from his father at an early age, and soon after, began replicating what he heard on Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton records. After a short lived stab at receiving a degree in art failed to...
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Rockonica, Reeves Gabrels
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