Brian Setzer is an amazing musician.  He plays a Gretsch guitar with tremendous power, grace and energy, and he alone resurrected the long-dead Rockabilly era with his Stray Cats group.  Today, Brian’s latest effort as a solo act — Setzer Goes Instru-MENTAL! — dropped today and it is a scorching and intensive album!

You can’t help but tap you toes when Brian is slamming on that guitar with his classic palm-muted comp style.  His bass strings growl.  The trebles sing and cut.  Here’s the Guitar World take on the details of the songs:

Setzer wrote six originals and revitalizes five jazz-bluegrass classics – “Blue Moon of Kentucky,” “Earl’s Breakdown,” “Cherokee,” “Be-Bop-A-Lula,” and “Lonesome Road.” Recording each gave Setzer the chance to revisit old techniques and try new tricks, such as playing banjo on the Earl Scruggs’ classic “Earl’s Breakdown,” or substituting jazz chords into traditional bluegrass on the Bluegrass Boys’ “Blue Moon of Kentucky.”

‘Setzer Goes Instru-MENTAL!’ Tracklist

(all songs written by Brian Setzer, unless otherwise noted)

1. “Blue Moon of Kentucky” (by Bill Monroe)
2. “Cherokee” (by Ray Noble)
3. “Be-Bop-A-Lula” (by Tex Davis and Gene Vincent)
4. “Earl’s Breakdown” (by Earl Scruggs)
5. “Far Noir East”
6. “Intermission”
7. “Go-Go Godzilla”
8. “Lonesome Road” (by Gene Austin, Nathaniel Shilkret)
9. “Hillbilly Jazz Meltdown”
10. “Hot Love”
11. “Pickpocket”

In addition to being a great guitar player, Brian has an outstanding singing voice.  For him to turn off his vocals for this album and rely solely on his fingers for the performance is fine testimony to the value of his talent.  He does not disappoint.  My favorite tracks are “Blue Moon of Kentucky” for its spritely grit, “Go-Go Godzilla” for is raucous driving bass line and “Hillbilly Jazz Meltdown” because it swings with a jazzy, country, twang.

As ever, here’s the iTunes Ping! proof of my “Brian Setzer Goes Intru-MENTAL!” purchase this morning so you know I put my own money where my reviews stand.

If you appreciate driving, glistening and soaring music, you can’t go wrong with Brian Setzer’s Instru-MENTAL, but be sure to put on your dancing shoes, because you won’t be able to sit still for a single moment once the music starts wailing.


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