Inside Out [Release date: 22.01.21]
Being the modest chap that he is, Steve Hackett would probably not describe himself as a virtuoso.
However, in a career spanning getting on for fifty years from the early days of Genesis through his magnificent solo career, time has shown it is indisputable that he falls into that category.
Nowhere is this more manifestly self-evident than his solo acoustic guitar work, which has generally fallen into the classical genre with albums such as ‘Bay Of Kings’, ’Momentum’, ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and ‘Metamorpheus’ – the latter two with an orchestra.
The last of these was 2008’s ‘Tribute’ so a fresh waxing was well overdue.
‘Under A Mediterranean Sky’ has been inspired by Steve’s visits to places all around the Med where he has absorbed sights, sounds and cultures and translated these diverse influences into an absorbing collection of songs.
Unlike previous solo acoustic work which has relied heavily on Hackett’s interpretations of classical works, all bar one track here has been self-penned – albeit with assistance from bandmate Roger King (who took care of the orchestration) and wife Jo Hackett.
The journey begins in Malta with ‘Mdina (The Walled City)’ which commences with pounding drums and orchestra, seguéing into classical acoustic guitar which weaves its way in and out of the orchestration to tell the tale of the city’s centuries of conflict.
‘Adriatic Blue’ with its cascading acoustic arpeggios is inspired by the Dalmation coast and ‘Scirocco’ ups the middle-Eastern vibe with music inspired by winds playing through the historic places of Egypt.
One of the highlights is ‘Joie De Vivre’ – the title giving away its paean to French food, wine and family and its stinging fretwork recalling Beggar’s Opera’s timeless ‘Classical Gas’.
‘The Memory Of Myth’, set in Greece, has a stunning violin intro by Christine Townsend and leads into the only non-original piece on the album – ‘Scarlatti Sonata’ by Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757), a fiendishly difficult acoustic workout originally written for keyboard.
‘Casa Del Fauno’ features lush orchestration and flute from Steve’s brother, John and fellow bandmate Rob Townsend and celebrates Pompeii.
The centrepiece of the album is ‘The Dervish And The Djin’ – the most middle-Eastern sounding track on the album (as you’d expect) featuring the Tar of Malik Mansurov (from Azerbaijan) and the Duduk of Arsen Petrosyan (from Armenia). At the time of recording their respective countries were blowing lumps off each other. The healing qualities of music eh?
‘Lorato’ is a pleasant folk tune, ‘Andalusian Heart’ does what it says on the tin and ‘The Call Of The Sea’, a song about the Med itself, beautifully played, brings the journey to an appropriate end.
Although solo acoustic albums are by their very nature an acquired taste, and, for those of us who play a bit, aspirational – ‘Under A Mediterranean Sky’ is a great listen.
Superbly recorded (you can almost hear Hackett’s fingernails on the strings), technically jaw-dropping and with sympathetic, rather than over-the-top orchestration complementing the staggering guitar work, it should appeal well beyond Hackett’s devoted fanbase.
This is how these things should be done. ****
Review by Alan Jones
Josh Taerk’s latest Sunday Session was streamed on Sunday 22 May.
Next session: Sunday 17 July.
Check out previous videos here: https://www.facebook.com/getreadytorockradio
David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 GMT, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 19 June 2022.
UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020 and 2021 Finalist) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 GMT as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 21 June 2022.
How to Listen Live?
Click the programming image at the top of the page (top right of page if using desktop)
Get Ready to ROCK! Radio is also in iTunes under Internet Radio/Classic Rock
Listen in via the Tunein app and search for “Get Ready to ROCK!” and save as favourite.
More information and links at our radio website where you can listen again to shows via the presenter pages: getreadytorockradio.com
Power Plays w/c 27 June 2022 (Mon-Fri)
REVIVAL BLACK Broken Home (TMR Records)
FLOYA Epiphany (indie)
TWISTER Own Worst Enemy (indie)
MODERN MIMES Down And Dead (Curtain Call Records)
TUNGSTEN Northern Lights (Arising Empire)
THE GREAT LESLIE Feel Alive (indie)
Featured Albums w/c 27 June (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 GRACE Hope (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 CLASSLESS ACT Welcome To the Show (Better Noise Music)
14:00-16:00 TIMOTHY B. SCHMIT Day By Day (indie)
Tweets by Get Ready to ROCK!