|Dog House is Ed's view of the world. A melting pot of Americana, South Indian influences, and ole fashioned 70s Fusion brought together in a package that takes you on a journey.
It reminds me of walking down a busy city street and hearing different music in every window. Ed's musicianship ties everything together beautifully.
With Country flavored Hoe-downs on Twang This, Bireli Lagrene-isms on Acoustic Moments, La Mer and 3 Views Of A Secret, old school Fusion on SFW, Hip To Hop, proto shred on Charlie Parker Goes Heavy Metal and Laswellian explorations on That's All Folks there's something to keep the listener entertained for a long time.
What some other folks have to say about Ed's playing!
He swings, he grooves, and that's all there is to say.
- Steve Lukather
He's actually making music with that fretless, stick with it.
- Joe Satriani
I dug the sound files, they're are screaming.
He plays very interesting lines ... very clean execution as well as very high speeds!
He sounds great!
More incrediblism. He is one of the few people that make guitar enjoyable for me these days.
Well done, Ed has the tone nailed!
That was very impressive!
An amazing album! I can't believe his chops on "Charlie Parker Goes Heavy Metal"! Just insane.
Ed's tone is so much better than the other fusion guys. I think he may be the only guy to have the chops, the music and the tone.
There's some heavy right-hand work going on!
He has some serious skills my friend! World class chops and tone!
He sounds great on these tracks. Great tone and some pretty wild ideas.
The new songs sound terrific. Acoustic Moments and Three Views are killer.
This cat terrifies me with the myriad of chops and compositional prowess he displays on Dog House. And best of all -- his phrasing has soul and is not some typical mindless wankfest. This is decades of practice cutting loose in one well-packed CD. Recommended fuel for your fusion-twang-jazz-rock engine!
CD Review: Dog House - Ed DeGenaro
Dog House (Unfretted Records) is fretless-guitar whiz Ed DeGenaro's latest release. Though he plays plenty of fretted guitar as well, DeGenaro is one of the finest and most popular players on the fretless scene today. He appeared front and center on 2005's Village Of The Unfretted double-CD compilation (also on Unfretted Records), and performed at last year's Fretless Guitar Festival in New York.
In addition to his previous solo recordings, DeGenaro has done quite a bit of session work for commercials, television shows, and movies. DeGenaro describes himself as a fusion player, and the music on Dog House lives up to the purest definition of that label. Country, jazz, reggae, funk, rock, blues, Latin music - DeGenaro touches on all these styles and more on Dog House, often mixing several styles within the same song. As a result, this album comes across like a stream of DeGenaro's musical consciousness. That impression is heightened by the fact the entire CD is presented with no gaps between the tracks - each song flows directly into the next.
DeGenaro used a vast array of guitars on Dog House including fretted and unfretted electrics (6, 7, and 8 string), classical and steel-string acoustics, slide, lap steel, etc. There's also a fair amount of guitar-synth on the album, which DeGenaro used to trigger saxophone, flute, and other assorted samples. There are some vocal samples sprinkled throughout as well, though Dog House is essentially an instrumental album.
Listen to enough fretless guitar players and you'll quickly realize there's a fine line between making music on the instrument, and making an abominable mess on it. Mastering the subtleties in pitch and inflection a fretless guitar allows for is obviously a difficult thing to do, but DeGenaro has done it. Although he's a great player on standard fretted guitars as well, DeGenaro seems more expressive on a fretless. And with or without frets, DeGenaro can flat-out shred. Using highly developed picking and legato techniques, his cascading runs of varied note-groupings are often reminiscent of the late Shawn Lane.
Dog House features a whopping 18 tracks, and there are many highlights. After starting off with the country-flavored "Twang This" and "Teutonic Hellbelly," DeGenaro gives us the album's first fretless showcase - "Fretless In Seattle." Often evoking a violin or pedal steel guitar, DeGenaro's melodic phrasing on this song shows what a uniquely lyrical instrument the fretless guitar can be in the hands of someone who knows what they're doing.
More great fretless work can be heard on "Joe Z"; an obvious nod to Weather Report founder Joe Zawinul, who recently passed away. "La Mer" is another highlight. DeGenaro plays some great Django-esque runs on this track. Songs like "SFW," "North Coast," "Hoppier Than Thou," and "Hip To Hop" (which differs from DeGenaro's Village Of The Unfretted version of the same song) are closer to what most people consider fusion. These are grooving jazz-rock songs that give DeGenaro a chance to really blow. "SFW" and "North Coast" feature some particularly wild playing.
The chops highlight of the album though is "Charlie Parker Goes Heavy Metal." This is an insane solo-guitar shred showcase, featuring a harmonizer and plenty of edits. There are definite shades of Shawn Lane on this piece. In contrast to that track's electric madness is the great acoustic work on Dog House, including the Bireli Lagrene composition "Acoustic Moments," and a fine instrumental version of the Steely Dan classic "Aja."
The common denominator throughout this diverse recording is DeGenaro's great playing. He brings an obvious familiarity to whatever style he happens to be working in, and his great chops are always in tow. That's true whether there are frets present or not, but his fretless playing on Dog House really shines. By using the fretless so effectively in a such a wide variety of settings, DeGenaro really champions the instrument with this album. If you have any interest in fretless at all, or just want to hear a fine guitarist at work, pick up Dog House.
You might be forgiven thinking you'd bagged a country album as it races off with "Twang This!" and continues with the enigmatic "Teutonic Hellbelly", I guess a reference to Ed's roots. Don't worry though, Ed has his fretless out on track three "Fretless in Seattle" a great title as Ed is living there right now, its a great drone piece with what seems like impossible high notes squeezed out by Ed.
Oh, and did I mention, all the tracks are gapless, its a straight switch from one track to the next and Ed manages it well, Joe Z is very reminiscent of early Weather Report, and so it should be but the band bags the tone and feel really well. The mood is quickly becoming the jazz fused rock Ed does so well.
Ed fans will recognise a few tracks that have appeared elsewhere in prototype versions, and nice to hear the humor in "Some Cow Phunk". "Acoustic Moments" is solo guitar again the surprising versatility could draw you to the conclusion that Seattle has found its very own Jeff Beck.
That doesn't stop Ed throwing in the odd cheesy lounge lizard track, or a complete remake of "Hip to Hop" the track he headlined the Village of the Unfretted CD with. The last five tracks are all stand out, "Charlie Parker Goes Heavy Metal" is blisteringly fast, love to see that live. The CD rolls out with the moody "Three Views of a Secret" and a very ambient "That's All Folks" which gets everything including the kitchen sink thrown in.
All in all a wonderfully diverse album, you can feel the vibe that says these guys had a great time making this CD. You will have a great time listening. Guaranteed! 5 stars.
Twang This! (LISTEN TO AUDIO)
Teutonic Hellbelly(LISTEN TO AUDIO)
Fretless In Seattle(LISTEN TO AUDIO)
JoeZ(LISTEN TO AUDIO)
Jamaican Sunsets(LISTEN TO AUDIO)
Aja(LISTEN TO AUDIO)
Some Cow Phunk(LISTEN TO AUDIO)
Acoustic Moments(LISTEN TO AUDIO)
Angelina(LISTEN TO AUDIO)
SFW(LISTEN TO AUDIO)
Ballad Of Heidi (LISTEN TO AUDIO)
Hip To Hop (LISTEN TO AUDIO)
La Mer (LISTEN TO AUDIO)
North Coast (LISTEN TO AUDIO)
Charlie Parker Goes Heavy Metal (LISTEN TO AUDIO)
Hoppier Than Though (LISTEN TO AUDIO)
Three Views Of A Secret (LISTEN TO AUDIO)
That's All, Folks (LISTEN TO AUDIO)