I’ve never been a Tele guy. I just have never found one I loved to play. However, every now and then a record comes along by a guy who just scorches the earth with a Tele. You know the guys – Albert Lee, Roy Buchanan, James Burton, and even Bruce Springsteen make great sounds with the guitar. Well, here’s another Tele fella. Matt Rae took lessons from Arlen Roth, and ended up playing second guitar in his band. He’s learned his lessons well.
The bends, hammer-ons, and banjo rolls of the opener, “Road Rage,” let you know you’re in for some serious Tele playing. The twang starts early and never lets up. Same goes for “Albert” (gee, I wonder who that’s named for?). Very funky, bluesy playing’s the highlight here. “The Cottage” might bring Speedy and Jimmy to mind. “Sonic Blue” is a tour de force that lets Matt highlight his harmonic knowledge to go along with some killer changes and a slightly-chorused sound. If you’re one of those folks who likes a song to highlight a guy’s chops, check out “Tele Savalas” (I love that title). Twangy solo followed by great chord work, flying double-stops, and plain-old-fashioned soloing. Great stuff. Matt shows nice ballad playing, too, on songs like “Floatin'”and “Surf Wrangler.” Matt’s a fine addition to the Tele kings.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s July ’04 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.