Thursday, May 19, 2016
VERNON NEILLY - 'OUTTA TIME'
LABEL: Self Release
REVIEW BY: Alan Holloway
To get things straight here, I've never heard of Vernon Neilly. Award winning or not, he's never appeared on my radar, mainly because my radar is attuned to anything likely to appear in 'Guitar' magazine. That said, he's famous enough to not only have a signature guitar, but signature strings as well, so it's a fair bet that even if you discount the usual promotional guff he's earned his place in the guitar world for both playing and producing.
'Outta Time' is one of those 'with a little help from my friends' releases in which Vernon drafts in no less that of his muso mates to help out, which is pretty impressive seeing as there's only seven tracks! Eight of these are guitar players, lending their talents to the solos on the album along with Neilly himself, showing he's man happy not to hog the limelight Indeed, all the guest players have their names on the cover). So this is one of those releases that will have fans of the players curious, but what about the music itself?
It all starts off positively with a cover of 'Fire' more famously done by Jimi Hendrix (now him I've heard of'). It's longer than Hendrix's version (with an even longer version at the end of the album), and benefits from a nice clean production. Neilly and Greg Howe are appropriately widdly throughout, and it's a good way to start. 'They Don't Care' follows, with more funky vibe, and to be honest not all that good. Yes, the guitar work is first class again, but the song itself has a repetitive, annoying structure. 'Outta Time' continues the funk but is a marked improvement, although it still has hip hop lite vocals that can grate. 'Git Yo Life Right' is smoother, almost laid back, whereas 'So Far Away' and 'Nassau Nights' have a South American vibe, the sort of tracks that are best listened to by a pool with a cocktail in your hand, the latter throwing in a healthy dose of salsa to with the rocking. 'Metta Funk Trip' is, oddly, not as funky as the earlier tracks, but is another laid back showcase for guitar playing talent, and there's nothing wrong with that.
'Outta Time' is a pretty sweet mix of Santana, Living Color and Steve Vai, and is certain to have an appeal for guitar fans whilst also being commercial enough for the rock fan in the street. the singing could definitely be better, and the less said about the hip hop flavour in a couple of tracks the better. Whilst the songs are simple, the guitar playing within them is exemplary, which is the reason the album exists. With the extended version of 'Fire' this only just scrapes past 30 minutes, but if the price is right it has enough going for it to warrant purchase.