While not exactly a household name, Carl has been around awhile. He’s a fine player who’s put out some nice solo work, and is also known for his studio work and touring with Supertramp. His solo work has always taken on a theme. The albums are always nice glimpses into the styles he’s chosen. And, he’s such a fine player that it always seems to work well. This one is no exception. I guess you’d have to call this a “band” album, for lack of a better term. It’s Carl in a trio setting, playing 10 songs, some originals, and some not. And all let Carl play guitar and sing, with the song remaining the focus.
The bluesy-pop of “Lay Your Hammer Down” gives Carl a shot at imaginative rock soloing. The lyric is probably not going to get him invited to many union meetings, but so be it. “Place For Me” is a tune that combines the harmonic sense of the Beatles with soulful Curtis Mayfield-style rhythm and lead playing. If someone asks you for the quintessential Strat tone and sound, put this one on. The very soulful “Give A Try” is a pop ballad that is the perfect blend of soul and technique. The instrumental “Maggie’s Ladder” gets a bit funky and you get to hear Carl cut loose with the wah. “Raimund” starts as an acoustic piece and turns into a tour de force for his playing. If you’ve been looking for ideas on the use of harmonics, give a listen to Carl’s cover of the Beatle’s “Yes It Is.” Mixed in with single-note stuff, it’s just plain-old gorgeous.
I’ve mentioned a few of the cuts, but all 10 here have something to offer. The band, featuring Cliff Hugo on bass, Steve Di Stanislao on drums, and Jim Cox on keyboards on a few of the cuts, is an excellent foible for Verheyen. The songs and band drive him to play some very melodic, yet very hot, guitar. His vocals are more than adequate, with the tenor more than highlighting his earnest lyrical content. If you’re a Carl fan, you’ll really like this. If this is your first look at his playing, it’s a good place to start.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Jan. ’04 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.