The Carl Verheyen Band – Rumor Mill (2005)

by | Sep 23, 2006 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

The Carl Verheyen Band – Rumor Mill (2005)

Studio:  AIX Records
Video:  1.78:1 widescreen enhanced
Audio:  96 kHz/24-bit Stereo, DD 5.1, DTS 5.1, DVD-A, CD-Audio
Extras:  Rehearsal (9 min); Behind The Scenes (4 min); Master Class (12 min); Guitar Demonstrations (21 min); The Recording (Introduction/Session Photos/Technical Notes/5.1 Channel Surround Mixing/96 kHz/24 bit Recording/Equipment/AEA Ribbon Microphones); Song Intros; Lyrics; Concert Stereo & Stereo Mixes; The Musicians (Biography/Photos/Video/Behind-the-Scenes); The Disc (Welcome/Alternate Audio Mixes/etc.)
Length:  195 minutes
Rating:  ****

This is another dual-sided dual disc release from AIX that offers the consumer many ways to enjoy the music of Carl Verheyen.  The recording was made on January 14, 2005 and the 28th in Zipper Auditorium at the Colburn School for the Performing Arts.  Carl has had quite a history with the guitar starting at age 10, going to The Berklee College of Music, and later playing with well-known artists like Max Roach, John Patitucci, John Ferraro, Stanley Clarke, Dave Grusin, and Dave Benoit.  Other band members on this recording include Cliff Hugo (bass), Bernie Dresel (drums), and guest Jim Cox on organ.

I started with the DVD-A side of the Dualdisc which has a 5.1 “Stage” mix and features still pictures over the music.  The quality of sound is clearly better than the best CDs.  The first two tracks show off Verheyen’s dizzying guitar work with both acoustic and classical guitars.  The multichannel sound is huge and the listener is placed right in the middle of the mix.  On the third track the drums and vocals come from the back as well as the front.  Other tracks make heavy use of the surrounds as well.  This track is a blues number with serious guts!  Guitar aficionados will want to let this one “soak” for a while.  A lot of the material has a folk bent with touches of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young (i.e. “Silence Is Golden”).  The music could be classified as adult contemporary and might be missed by some of its target listeners for this reason—which is a shame.  In a lot of ways the electric sessions are even more impressive than the acoustic set.  The sound quality is still exemplary, but with intimate electric rock and blues Carl has found an even happier home a la Jeff Beck or Joe Satriani.  (Two of the four tunes are instrumental.)  I tried the CD audio side, and even though it sounded excellent, sonically it was a letdown after listening to the DVD-A tracks.

The DVD side features a live concert offered in DD 5.1 or DTS 5.1.  For those looking for a higher quality 2-channel mix, this is available on the interactive side.  The surround isn’t as active as the DVDA disc—it’s utilized more for audience noise.  The first cut starts off like a Stevie Ray Vaughan tune, but Carl’s voice is much different—rich, but not particularly wider in range; however, his voice is not out of place with the music.  The bulk of the material has a strong guitar bent—either with lengthy intros (i.e. “Slingshot”) or with the focus of the tunes (i.e. “Revival Downs”).  Video quality is excellent and editing is easy on the eyes, avoids quick cuts, and moves in and out w/ slow zooms that don’t detract from the performance.  (Like all great guitar players) Verheyen makes the guitar swing and sing with ease.  Even when he gets loud and nasty his control is superb (ex. “Diamonds”).  On some tunes his sound is not unlike Hendrix and that’s high praise indeed.  The interactive side of the DVD offers tons of extra features (like every AIX release) and for those who really want to delve into the technology, that is a good place to start.

Acoustic Set includes: Wildflower II; Henry’s Farm; Chinatown; Silence Is Golden; Misunderstood; Nordenham; Two Trains Running.

Electric Session includes: Lone Star; Holly House; Passing Through; Slang Justice.

Live Concert includes: Down Like Hail; Slingshot; Revival Downs; No Walkin’ Blues; Highland Shuffle; Maggie’s Ladder; Diamonds; Place For Me; Rumor Mill; Wasted Blues.

Guitar Demonstrations: 1958 Fender Stratocaster; 1965 Gibson ES-335; 1956 Supro Dual Tone; 1958 Gibson ES-175; 1960 Fender Telecaster Custom; 1966 Gibson SG; 1959 Gretsch 6120; 1965 Rickenbacker 12-String; 1954 Gibson Les Paul; 1969/70 Fender Telecaster Thinline; 1961 Fender Stratocaster; 1969 Gibson Sunburst Les Paul; 1965 Fender Stratocaster.

– Brian Bloom

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