Best known as Supertramp’s guitarist (presently, and on and off since the late 80s), Carl Verheyen has sessioned for everyone from Cher to the Bee Gees.
He’s also highly respected in the jazz and blues worlds and has recorded duets with Joe Bonamassa and Steve Morse, but while this mostly instrumental album demonstrates undoubted musical chops, it suffers from a typically academic session man’s lack of personality. The bluesy ones boogie, the slow ones shimmer and it all blurs into pleasant-but-uninspiring. Guests include ex-Mahavishnu violinist Jerry Goodman and sax man Bill Evans, and the group have arranged their smooth rock workouts with diligence. Verheyen drifts over the surface with a fluidity that’s equal parts Mark Knopfler, Gary Moore and Jeff Beck. It’s neat and tidy, but all a bit… well, Top Gear. The track you revisit out of curiosity is his version take of ‘Tramp’s Bloody Well Right, with Verheyen singing and (perhaps too) respectfully decorating the song in finger-picking. He also brings in Crime Of The Century original John Helliwell to reboot his own sax lines. Impeccable playing, but it’s all too by-the-book to truly take off.