Chances are you haven’t heard of Jerry Krahn. He’s from Milwaukee, but has spent the past 12 years in Nashville. He’s worked with bands like the Titan Hot Seven, the Time Jumpers, and various jazz combos. He even plays banjo with Dixieland bands in the area. In his spare time, he makes great records like this one that feature him on various old Epiphones, playing mostly standards(from various eras) with buddies.
Let me give you some examples. A ’49 Emperor shines on “Kayak.” Its an original by Jerry that features great sounding changes and solos that let him show some chops. Check out the very nice octave work. Jerry manages to pull some life out of old warhorses too. “Satin Doll” gets a light bossa nova feel that works wonderfully. “Peg Leg Shuffle” is about as bouncy as it gets, and to help in that process, Jerry manages to use his guitar as a percussion instrument too. Smack-dab in the middle of this one is a chord breakdown that is simply gorgeous.
Jerry also manages to use clever mixes of songs to showcase his playing. His homage to George Benson puts together two Benson classics, “Affirmation” and “Breezin’,” and lets him show his own personality while tipping the cap. “Caravan of Malaguenas” is just what it says – a clever mix of the two classics, showcasing fine playing. Trombone(of all instruments) helps push “Light My Fire.” This is a take on the marvelous José Feliciano version of the Doors classic.
There are 12 cuts, each has something to offer. And Jerry obviously has a pretty nice collection of Epiphones. Among those listed in the liner notes are a ’39 Blackstone, ’49 Emperor, and a ’46 Broadway. Whether it’s a solo piece or a duet, the guitars are in more than able hands.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Dec. ’03 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.