CD REVIEW: Michael Shouse - Alone on the Sun
By Cyrus Rhodes - 06/22/2010 - 05:40 PM EDT
Album: Alone on the Sun
Label: Spektrum Productions
Genre: Progressive Rock/Jam band
Sounds Like: Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Ethan Brosh
Technical Grade: 9/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 9/10
Commercial Value: 7/10
Overall Talent Level: 9/10
Songwriting Skills: 8/10
Performance Skill: 10/10
Best Songs: Choices, You Can Fly
Weakness: Dated Sound (80's early 90's), CD was released 20 years to late
Mike Shouses’ debut solo CD Shouse is released on June1, 2010. Mike S. hails from Lexington, Kentucky.
Alone on the Sun is reminiscent of a party that has long since ran its course, but leaving behind in its wake is some of the most impressive solo guitar work to ever come off the assembly line. This CD is a solid statement from start to finish and has a classic Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Jennifer Batten, Tony MacAlpine, rock feel to it. I would classify this music as Progressive Hard Rock with a strong emphasis on the guitar. You’ll find catchy melodies layered everywhere, & of course guitar solos that will make your head spin. Logging in at just over 44 minutes, the CD kicks things off with “Bionic” a dynamic intro piece that serves up dynamic progressive rock crescendo delivering aggressive guitars, driving rhythms, & sizzling guitar work from Shouse. Track 2 “Man of Constant Sorrow” shifts gears a bit with mesmerizing acoustic guitar intro, eventually lending itself to progressive rock explosion delivering full tilt guitar, sizzling bass lines, & Layne Staley type vocal delivery from singer Gene Booth. Track 3 “The Arabian” serves up more 80’s type rock rhythms complete with Eruption-type into with arpeggios that will put your jaw on the floor. The music has everything you would expect from a production of this flavor, including music that is rock driven but in itself very progressive, dynamic, & explosive. Shouse also brings to the table many impressive session players including 4 drummers, 7 bass players, which provide a lot of musical variety via the 3 piece standard. But getting back to Mike S. – note for note, song for song his guitar showmanship will command your respect, & is highly diverse, melodic, & served hot to the touch. Sometimes hitting hard, while other times delivering a classical progressive rock flair – he’s fearless & pretty much lets it all hang out. Make no bones about it folks Mike Shouse knows how to play guitar. From passionate “Alone on the Sun” to explosive ”You can Fly” to dark “Shock & Awe” to the bluesy “Choices” to dynamic “Alone in the Sun” & “Dead in Memphis” this CD pretty much has it all. The CD ends with a tranquil “For Alex” a peaceful melodic rock ballad waving you in for a safe landing.
“Alone on the Sun” has the aftertaste of a vintage 80’s early 90’s musical production. Perhaps it was released 20 years too late? The year is 2010, & although the music scene has changed dramatically over the past 20 years, there are still artists like Mike Shouse who somehow manage to re-invent himself amidst all the Guitar Hero hype & manage to pull it off somehow. I also don’t like the way the snare sounds on Track 1. All songs over 4 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. I don’t like the way Track 3 fades out.
From start to finish“Alone on the Sun”CD is one hell of a ride. The strong suit is clearly the guitar showmanship, melodic delivery & overall musical consistency. This CD will be a joy for guitar enthusiasts out there who enjoy technically savvy guitar, shredding solos, & a classic 80’s late 90’s rock vibe. So if you like your guitar served hot to the touch, with solos that are fast and furious, "Alone on the Sun" belongs in your hands right now.
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