Merry Axemas Vol.2 - More Guitars For Christmas

Merry Axemas Vol.2 - More Guitars for Christmas


Producer: Steve Vai

Various Artists




10. Ted Nugent: "Deck the Halls" - always one of my favorite carols - a rousing and (as expected) raucous rendition - ends the cd with a real BANG (ouch, was that my head?) and I like the irreverent tone - the fact that this traditional tune can survive this kind of modernization only proves it has that lasting, eternally pleasing quality - full speed ahead into the 21st century, with the electric guitar as the STAR of the show - yeah, I can dig it!

9. Al De Meola: "Carol of the Bells" - this one shimmers - radiant - love those tight, crisp runs in the bridge ("merry merry merry merry Christmas") - very nice

8. Robin Trower: "O Little Town of Bethlehem" - his signature style on fully fledged soulful display - restrained and deep - a true classic in the very *Best sense, and in every sense a winning rendition - another of the top reasons to own this cd

7. John Sykes: "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen" - I have to smile - while I expect this arrangement will not "sit well" with those who prefer more "traditional" renderings of "religious" music (actually, this TUNE pre-dates Christianity by who knows how long - it was surely a "godless" *PaGaN* song before it was sanitized and gussied-up to be palatable to the rapidly spreading Christian faith) - it illustrates and typifies all that is wild, glorious, and wickedly wonderful about the Electric Guitar as an instrument - definitely a balls to the wall take no prisoners show no mercy and hang onto your hats approach - check your dainty ideas about Christmas music at the door - not for the timid at heart, this is an INTENSE ride, and I gotta say: I *Love it!

6. Zakk Wylde: "White Christmas" - the truly inspiring this about these two Merry Axemas volumes is the opportunity it gives these artists to step outside the confines of their commercial image and obligations, and create something completely new and individual - this is a beautiful, tasteful acoustic arrangement [[ THIS the guy who plays guitar for Ozzy Osbourne?!?!? ...8-O...]] say no more, just listen and enjoy all the wonders of the acoustic guitar and the multi-faceted talents of this guitarist

5. Trevor Rabin: "O Come All Ye Faithful" - this is exactly what I came to hear - favorite traditional melodies set to the soaring heights of the deeply searing six-string - from the grand sweeping choral depths, to the outer limits of industrial rock - is not variety the spice? this proves the adage without a doubt - excellent; lots to appreciate in this one

4. Stu Hamm: "Sleigh Ride" - a funky groove, shows perfectly why Stu is one of the premier bass players of his day - from the sensitive, *touching intro, through the high and low of goodtime jazz bass, all the way to the final subtle slide and fade-out, this one is a treat - Stu Hamm demonstrates with his usual technical aplomb and overall High Spirits what a DAMN FUN TIME is possible with the bass guitar - man, he delivers!

3. Steve Stevens: "Do You Hear What I Hear?" - from tenderly sublime to all-out electric frenzy, both ends of the electrified spectrum are given a thorough treatment - definitely one of the high-points of the cd

2. Neal Schon: "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" - a lesser-known but achingly lovely and musically charmed melody given a royal voicing by the artist - well-done!

1. Steve Lukather: "The Christmas Song" - this is nothing against the artist - I've never cared much for this number *musically, and I'm sorry to say the frenetic rhythms of this arrangement do nothing to save what maybe can't BE saved, for me - call it personal taste - I can't fault the guitar- work - I'm not sure the arrangement exists that can pull this one out of the fire I've consigned it to - it all works and holds together just fine for what it is, but... so sorry, I'll skip this one - doesn't make for this listener.

* * * * * * * * *

This cd is short on liner notes, as compared with the first volume. Maybe there will be more of that (eventually?) published on Steve Vai's web-site. Merry Axemas (Vol.1) had extensive liner notes, along with production note/stories on each cut on I miss that "inside scoop" feel to the cd. Maybe this set of artists were simply less talkative - not much or even nothing to say?


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