· JIMMY RYAN - ASTRAL CAFE (JR002) ·

::T R A C K S::

01. STARLORD
02. SHATTERBRAIN
03. CROSSROADS
04. EARTHRISE
05. SKYDANCE
06. BLACK ICE
07. I'M READY
08. DULCINEA
09. BERSERKER
10. PLECTRUMELECTRUM
11. DREADHULK
12. CELESTIAL VOICE
13. QUIET FLIGHT


FORMAT: Audio CD / 4 PANEL DIGIPACK
JR002 - $9.99

Excellent third solo disc by this talented guitarist from Des Plaines, Illinois featuring 13 songs of world-class, dynamic, sophisticated, heavy guitar rock music with high levels of impressive six string creativity. Predominantly an instrumental guitar disc with the addition of several vocal tracks that include an awesome, re-envisioned version of "Crossroads" and an epic song entitled "Celestial Voice" that is dedicated to Neil Peart. With all moving parts combined, "Astral Cafe" lands a great follow-up to the killer "21st Century Riffology" disc. Jimmy Ryan is an accomplished, seasoned veteran of old-school axemaster skills who takes us on a classic, timeless guitar rock musical journey to the "Astral Cafe".


MP3 Sample Clips

01. STARLORD
02. SHATTERBRAIN
03. CROSSROADS
04. EARTHRISE
05. SKYDANCE
06. BLACK ICE
07. I'M READY
08. DULCINEA
09. BERSERKER
10. PLECTRUMELECTRUM
11. DREADHULK
12. CELESTIAL VOICE
13. QUIET FLIGHT

 

 

· reviews ·

Celebrating twenty five years of flying high, Illinois master of infectious licks embarks on interstellar voyage. This musician and his younger sibling Johnny have been prowling American stages, as THE FLYIN’ RYAN BROTHERS, from 1996 to 2011, and, one decade later, the former doesn’t seem to stop, “Astral Café” finding him soar solo on for the fourth time, and that’s quite a trip. The tunes, the sound or the attitude can take only you so far yet, packaged together, they produce a powerful effect. Coming across like Link Wray wrapped in 21st century sensibilities, Ryan often places his rumble ‘n’ riffs in the center of fusion filigree while keeping his sonic surfing firmly-but-loosely anchored to a bluesy core.

That’s why the leaden ebb and flow of “Crossroads” – the first roaring-vocal number in this largely instrumental brew, the other updated staple being the viscous-as-molasses take on Muddy’s “I’m Ready” – arrive rather unexpectedly, and if the Eastern-flavored “Berserker” should initially feel a tad superficial, it will get momentum, and the molten balladry of “Earthrise” is almost soul-shattering. The record may start in a very streamlined manner, Jimmy’s six-string harmonies beaming all over “Starlord” to propel the piece forward, and end in a serene way, when brother Johnny joins in on “Quiet Flight” with a second guitar, yet the album’s dynamics never fail to impress, as the main artist’s fluid licks and overdriven twang, spanked by his own bass and driven by Dan Van Schindel’s drums, are tangible throughout.

However, there’s a great contrast between cosmic funk of “Shatterbrain” that has alluring translucence to its melodic tangle, and the hard rock of “Black Ice” whose assault is demonically possessed, whereas the cover of Prince’s “Plectrumelectrum” is traveling in Jimmy Ryan’s hands to the edge of Jimmy Page’s “Moby Dick” and further on, into heavy psych territory before light country strands get woven into the heavy mix. Stull, the small epic “Celestial Voice” sees the American in progressive mode, singing his heart on the number dedicated to Neal Peart and featuring elegant time signatures which are typical for this player, though not for this platter. Such unpredictability doesn’t fail to charm, making “Astral Café” one of the most enchanting albums of the year – a milestone to gather no moss.

Let It Rock (December 2021)
 




 


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