Review: Sunset Drive the CD

Sunset DriveNot long ago we wrote about the Sunset Drive tour of Japan. Now we bring you news of the recording for which the tour was named.

Maro Kawabata brought together several of his friends and heros for the recording Sunset Drive. The line up includes: Wyatt Rice, Patty Mitchell, Rickie Simpkins, Sammy Shelor, Ronnie Rice, Don Rigsby, Adam Steffey, Andy Ball, and Richard Bennett.

The CD is on the Flatpicking Guitar Magazine label, FGM Records, which might lead one to assume that it’s mostly instrumental and flatpicking guitar oriented. While the guitar playing of Maro and Wyatt does serve as an anchor for the project, the very first track dispels the notion that this CD is only for those who enjoy flatpicking. Of the 12 tracks on the recording only 5 are instrumentals, 7 are vocal numbers. Vocal duties are split between Patty Mitchell, Don Rigsby, Andy Ball, Richard Bennett, and Maro himself contributing to a nice rendition of the old A.P. Carter tune, Found Affection.

I would be remiss though if I didn’t point out the fine instrumental aspects of this CD. Even on the vocal tunes the solos and fills both, reflect the tastefulness and musical maturity you would expect from the likes of Rice, Shelor, Simpkins, Steffey, and Maro himself, who contributes some very fine guitar playing to this project.

The instrumental tunes proved to be very enjoyable. The first of which is a catchy tune written by my friend Keith Yoder, Skipping Stones. The old, familiar Banks of the Ohio also proved to be one of my favorite cuts. Simpkins utilized a viola on this cut which gave it a unique sound.

With both Maro and Wyatt playing guitar, not only are we treated to some great lead guitar solos on each tune, but throughout the CD, the glue holding everything together is some of the finest rhythm playing one could hope to hear. The two players manage to compliment each other well, not muddying up the sound with two guitar, but actually making each other, and everyone else as well, sound better. That’s the signature of a great guitar player!

If you like great guitar playing, whether it be flatpicking or strait up bluegrass, you owe it to yourself to check out Sunset Drive. Here are a couple short samples to whet your appetite.

[] – These Tears

[] – Found Affection

[] – Banks Of The Ohio