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CD Review
John Herdt & Wally Z - October Sky

John Herdt & Wally Z

October Sky
Record Label: Rampant Squid
Artist's Facebook
Review by Sal Serio
May 2011

I’m not sure if anyone thinks being a music critic is easy, but there are times when it’s really hard to review an album. October Sky, the latest release by John Herdt and Wally Z, has me dealing with one of those heartburn moments. I truly enjoy the music, but the album is without obvious genre definition. So, this instrumental masterpiece transcends most mainstream avenues of review.

Starting at the beginning, which is the composition titled Busted, the first thing that grabbed me is John Herdt’s bass playing on this cut. A guitarist by trade, Herdt has made Herculean leaps and bounds with his melodic bass lines on this latest recording. Also of note is keyboardist Tommy Stephenson, who makes an appearance on this opening track, adding an acid-jazzy vibe to the more straight ahead rock of Herdt and drummer Wally Z.

All of the songs and soloing on October Sky have a distinct ebb and flow, which take the listener through exhilarating highs, and softer, more relaxing, lows. Herdt’s overdubbed guitar work creates density and texture to generally toe-tapping motivational mood music. I also noticed an increased use of slide in Herdt’s playing, which is employed to great effect.

Without the distraction of vocals and lyrics, this recording makes for a terrific listening experience for driving, studying, reading, or cleaning the house. And once the housekeeper has finished the chores, this disc would also provide an excellent soundtrack to peeling off the French maid’s outfit and the subsequent “wang dang” of her doodle.

Recommended tracks: “Busted,” “Crying Shame,” and “In For A Penny,” which showcase a complex King Crimson-ish riffing and chord progression. Maybe a film producer will pick up on Herdt and Wally’s stuff to use as a soundtrack someday.

Download October Sky from Amazon

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