Matt Rae – High Strung

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Matt Rae’s new record stretches beyond the Telecaster playing for which he is so well-known to include old-fashioned music a la Jimmy Bryant and Speedy West. In fact, the jazzy swing of “Happy Ending” is a very fun slab of music. But the record also goes in many other directions.

Rae wrote or co-wrote all but one cut. “Bad Truck!” is a rocker with big power chords and funky/chunky rock guitar. “Peanut Butter and Tele” is a country stomper full of banjo rolls and Tele mojo. “Tube Job” is a dreamy blues with a wild solo in the middle where notes blend wonderfully. The notes of “Weedwhacker” bounce around your listening room. “Lizzie Strut” is an airy jazz piece with a solo that mixes jazz and rock played with tone as sweet as it gets. The one cover is “I Only Have Eyes For You,” and Rae has no problem breathing new life into the old warhorse with great chordal and melody work. The solo is gorgeous with incredible bends and tons of lovely multiple note licks that highlight the song’s natural melody and more.

Some may know Rae from his gig with Arlen Roth, and it’s easy to see that lessons from Arlen have paid off. And while it might be easy for some to merely take in those lessons and move forward, Rae is his own guitarist and continues to grow with each album.


This article originally appeared in VG‘s Jun. ’08 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.