· JOHN FINDLAY - GUITARLANDIA (GYR178) ·

::T R A C K S::

01. ANGEL IN MY EYE
02. NEW MOON
03. MR. INVINCIBLE
04. NO PLACE LIKE IT
05. BOOK OF STONE
06. ORDINARY DAZE
07. NEW BATTLE
08. SUNNYLAND
09. CROWDED ROOM
10. FREEDOM
11. SUNSHINE OF YOUR LOVE
12. GUITAR LAND (PART 1)
13. GUITAR LAND (PART 2)


FORMAT: Audio CD / 4 PANEL WALLET
GYR178 - $13.99

Awesome studio disc by this outstanding guitarist from Toronto, Canada. Includes 13 tracks of world-class, blues-based, dynamic, heavy guitar rock music that lands "old school" and pure to the six string core with strong compositions that also feature excellent soul-powered, melodic vocals. Welcome to the six string world of John Findlay known as "Guitarlandia". A deep, special musical place where guitar rock rules and reigns supreme.

John Findlay is a top-shelf, sophisticated, talented axemaster who shines and speaks the same musical language as the guitar legends on the amazing "Guitarlandia" disc. Highly Recommended to fans of Jimi Hendrix, Robin Trower, Cream era Eric Clapton, Eric Johnson and other amazing axemasters. An essential, timeless "musical document" that defines serious guitar rock music excellence.


MP3 Sample Clips

01. ANGEL IN MY EYE
02. NEW MOON
03. MR. INVINCIBLE
04. NO PLACE LIKE IT
05. BOOK OF STONE
06. ORDINARY DAZE
07. NEW BATTLE
08. SUNNYLAND
09. CROWDED ROOM
10. FREEDOM
11. SUNSHINE OF YOUR LOVE
12. GUITAR LAND (PART 1)
13. GUITAR LAND (PART 2)

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· reviews ·

'Guitarlandia' the latest offering from Canadian guitarist/singer, John Findlay is an audacious and passionate mix of Blues, rock, soul, and touches of jazz flavoring with John Findlay's smooth distinct style. Showcasing his depth as a writer as well as a musician and performer. Providing a solid rhythm section are bassist Matthew Gerrard and drummer Derek Cashway. Opening track "Angel In My Eye" is a driving riff-based funked up bluesy number that will get the adrenaline pumping. Other up-tempo highlights include "New Moon", "Mr. Invincible", "Book Of Stone" and "New Battle". There are two covers offered up in the form of the Jimi Hendrix classic, "Freedom" and Cream classic, "Sunshine Of Your Love", both done very well and given that John Findlay magic touch. But its the two closing instrumental tracks, "Guitar Land Part 1" and Guitar Land Pt. 2" that you hear and feel how good of six string guru John Findlay is, all I can say is, WOW! This recording is clearly a labour of love for John Findlay, as even the smallest detail has been treated with great care, taste and imagination. The production quality of the album is great and takes nothing away from Findlay's edge, his vocals are smooth, the guitar playing fluid and immaculate, and as a result the quality of his songwriting shines through. All in all, 'Guitarlandia" is a album full of great guitar-oriented songs that cross over from Blues, jazz and rock. Highly recommended and most definitely required listening!

Tony Sison / The Dedicated Rocker Society (February 2019)
 


‘Guitarlandia’ by John Findlay — blissful guitarist supreme — is a series of original blues-rock explorations, with an obvious nod of indebtedness to the masters of the 60s and 70s. This band’s influences are clear, but the music represents many steps forward in a new direction. Matthew Gerrard on bass and Derek Cushway on drums provide the perfect rhythm section to make magic happen, and it does. An interesting blend of funk and jazz complement the blues-rock in an experimental if artistic way. This is especially evident on one of the two well-chosen covers: Cream’s ‘Sunshine of Your Love’ veers away from the original by incorporating funk and jazz elements, all the while keeping the vibe and mood of the legendary threesome. The other cover, Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Freedom,’ stays very close to Jimi’s original studio version, though the band presents it entirely as an instrumental (no vocals)! The results are creative and mind-bending. This is a must-have CD for people who like driving guitar music, hard and bluesy as hell.

Steven J. Rosen / Author + Journalist (December 2018)
 


Already a Juno Award nominee, guitarist John Findlay now lays out his magic carpet for a journey into the place where heart resides, Guitarlandia. Fronting the power trio of bassist Matthew Gerrard and drummer Derek Cushway, the destination these masters of their art take us to is one where guitars blaze, but chorus is king. And with the man at the helm also possessing a top notch, commercially tinged vocal attack, the accessibility on offer here often outstrips most albums where six string pyrotechnics are so high on the agenda. “New Moon” is a prime example, the bluesy, Americana tinged rock driven by Findlay’s fret swoops and dives but also by his Don Henley meets Paul Carrack like voice. Ensuring that you’re just as likely to be singing along with this memorable moment as you are to stand agog at the flashy but never self indulgent guitar work.

Gerrard and Cushway are able foils, the slightly funkier pop rooted “Mr Invincible” not only providing darting guitar licks but also a roaming bass workout that positively lives and breathes. That this is all revealed with glistening hooks and insistent ease is what sets Guitarlandia apart from so many other albums looking to try and utilise this approach. What is also apparent is that Findlay and Co aren’t satisfied with retreading the same path over and over, “No Place Like It” landing somewhere between The Beatles and Lenny Kravitz as the hard hitting riffs bite into a hazy chorus and reveal a hint of “Day Tripper” in the shortest of guitar breakdowns. “Book of Stone” is another rocked up Americana blues workout that in a rightful world would be a smash hit, while “Sunnyland” takes a more funked up approach and lets it all hang out there as it struts and pouts to great effect. Add in the Hendrix inflected “Crowded Room” and short, atmospheric closing instrumental pairing of the two part “Guitar Land” and while this album is cohesive and connected from start to finish, there is a real variety of moods and ideas provided.

Two cover versions are also added into the mix and while the real gems here are Findlay’s own work, the instrumental take on Henrdix’s “Freedom” and a completely stripped down but also funked up version of the Cream classic “Sunshine Of Your Love” offer yet more interesting insights. So, hop on board, strap in tight and get ready to arrive in Guitarlandia. Be warned though, you might never want to leave!

Steven Reid / Sea Of Tranquility (January 2019)
 


From the ethereal opening of the title track “Angel In My Eye” you know you’re in for a deep musical excursion into the realm known as “Guitarlandia”. John Findlay knows the territory well, and gives us a personal tour of its power, majesty and sophistication in his own unique and expressive way.

“Guitarlandia” fires on all cylinders, with sophisticated songwriting chops that are at once relatable yet innovatively original while, at all times, flowing with an almost casual ease that is totally unforced and completely inspired. It sucks you in like a sonic vortex, consuming your musical brain and reconstituting you into a new musical creature. This is feast for the ears, with exotic flavorings that will satisfy even the most jaded and sophisticated musical palettes. Needless to say, repeated listenings reward the listener in a way where the musical gift of “Guitarlandia” just keeps on giving.

A brief yet encompassing assessment: Silky smooth vocals that artfully emphasize melody, harmony and counterpoint. Lyrical content that is deep and thought-provoking without pretension. A pristine, symphonic, “future retro” three-dimensional mix that’s light-years wide (you MUST listen to this CD in headphones for the full immersive effect – you’ll be glad you did). Muscular, stylized and expansive in scope. Compositional breadth and depth infused with richly-hued tonal tapestries cascading through fractal layers of sound where all the parts fit and nothing is missing, from the micro to the macro. Vicious grooves deftly delivered with a mature and nuanced control of emotional expression across every conceivable domain. Style-bending arrangements where the unexpected becomes the norm. Bone-crushingly heavy (without being cliched or “sludgy”) and soft and light as as a feather…sometimes at the same time.

John takes the preexisting guitar vocabulary and succeeds in expanding it exponentially, “Findlayizing” his Stratified sonic delivery with otherworldly voicings, refined technical artistry and an encyclopedic palette of tones that are expertly crafted and perfectly placed. His supporting cast, featuring Matthew Gerrard (bass) and Derek Cushway (drums), are absolutely brilliant (check out Matthew’s solo at 3:35 in “Invincible” – interstellar chops that’d give Gary Willis pause). This trio is tight as a gnat’s ass on a cold day. Each of these supporting players are true artists in their own right, adding their distinct voices and interpretative skills to these proceedings to devastating synergistic effect.

All are original compositions with the exception of Hendrix’s “Freedom” which gets an unexpectedly instro redux treatment to precision pulse-pounding effect. Cream’s “Sunshine Of Your Love” gets reinvented as a funked-up fusionized phantasmagorical phreakout with a pocket as deep as a bottomless pit. Reconstitutional genre-busting at its very best. Krazy. Kool. Klassic. Killer.

The closer “Guitarland” is an instrumental musical masterwork. Part 1 is one of the most compressed (timing out at only 1:41) yet artfully crafted pieces of Hendrix-inspired beauty ever recorded, while Part 2 ramps up the contextual framework with a majestic progression complemented by an expertly crafted guitar solo that is understated in its presentation yet transcendent in its nuance and touch. Yes…this is what guitar music SHOULD be…and in the capable hands of John Findlay and his bandmates, IT TRULY IS! To use an analogy, if musical innovation could be related to architectural innovation, John Findlay is Frank Lloyd Wright, with Findlay’s “Guitarlandia” being Wright’s masterwork Taliesin.

I want more of THIS. THIS is what’s missing in the musical and cultural landscape of today, where narrow silos of homogenized sameness rule everything we see and hear. The pantheon of guitar innovators has a new Hall Of Fame artist. This is John Findlay. This is epic. This is greatness. This is supremely confident and consummate musical art. This is “Guitarlandia”. Welcome home.

Jimmy Ryan (Truth Squad / Flyin' Ryan Brothers / Ryanetics Music) (December 2018)
 


Like Anthony Gomes, John Findlay is from Toronto, Canada. He has already been nominated for a Juno Award and not only brings music under his own name. Dixie Chicken is a project dedicated to the music of Little Feat. With different occupations he performs - also with brass department - in many clubs. "In2 The Spirit" closes the little circle at Little Feat because Bill Payne belongs to the more than thirty musicians line-up of the disc. The album is Jazz & Blues Instrumental Christmas Music, "Stoves & Things" is another record of the Canadian. Here he presents original compositions inspired by Willie Dixon, Burt Bacharach, Lowell George and Jimmy Webb among others. If you have your own studio, you do not need to wander into the distance. The songs were documented in the John Findlay Music Studio. In addition to the eleven original compositions, the artist has decided to cover "Freedom" by Jimi Hendrix and "Sunshine Of Your Love" by Cream.

For the two tracks just mentioned, John Findlay is in the role of sole entertainer. He handles all instruments including drum programming. "Freedom" mutates in the hands of the protagonist to an instrumental number, which he instills a good deal of funk. The guitar dominates. The musician gives the classic a completely different musical format. With partially doubled guitar sounds results in the sum of a version that you probably do not get every day to ears. Artificially created sounds or not, "Freedom" is good, but not the blast of the present record. And what about the Cream number? Well, here too, the artist chooses the wireless environment as a guide. However, in comparison to the Jimi Hendrix song, there is an even greater amount of funk and in a mid-section intermezzo, he switches to the combination of jazz and rock. With the support of some keyboard sounds, the piece ends in a guitar whirlwind. Again, the special point of view is the decisive factor. Cool!

In addition to his skills and abilities on the guitar John Findlay can sing great. What John Findlay understands by blues rock, he shows on the album in a lot of twists. The songs just described are in the tracklist so some numbers apart. So it should not be meant as a musical pattern, if the album opening is also marked by the funk. The artist understands it in a natural way to take Fretboard delights into account, which already make the first number a highlight. John Findlay knows the keyboard of the colorful string mix. In addition, the musician has also written great songs and his emotions are not subject to complacency but are there for the listener.

John Findlay changes his compositions between classic rock and blues rock. Bassist Matthew Gerrard and drummer Derek Cushway make a perfect backdrop for the bandleader. Bass, beats and groove make for excitement. In the search for ballads you will also find something. At a slower pace, "Ordinary Daze" is a powerhouse with furious fretboard walks. The album title is expressed in the two final numbers "Guitar Land (Part 1)" and "Guitar Land (Part 2)". What the Canadian has so to say avoided with Jimi Hendrix, he brings now on the plan. Not bad, these two instrumentals. Here he can fully live out his fantasies one last time and focuses the listener almost fully on his dexterity. Class! In "Mr. Invinsible" bassist Matthew Gerrard is prominently placed in the foreground. Excellent!

John Findlay's "Guitarlandia" makes all classic / blues rock fans curious and is not only great food for guitar freaks.

Joachim 'Joe' Brookes / RockTimes-Germany (January 2019)
 



 


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