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Music Review: Randy Ellefson – Serenade Of Strings and The Lost Art

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Randy Ellefson is an under the radar guitar virtuoso. He has now returned with two new releases. His first two albums travelled in a hard rock direction but now he has made an abrupt change in style. One album can best be described as acoustic pop and the other is classical.

The road to these new releases has been a difficult one for Ellefson. During 1996 he developed tendinitis which made it virtually impossible for him to play the guitar. It took five years to return to what was an acceptable level for him and another five years before he returned to the recording studio.

Serenade Of Strings is his acoustic release. He began the album over a decade ago and only recently has been able to complete it. He performs the entire guitar, bass, keyboards, and a lot of the percussion parts. The only other musician present is drummer Jeff Moos. He also wrote 16 of the 17 tracks.

This is not a laid back album with just some simple guitar picking. The music has punch and rhythm as many of the songs are up-tempo. His style is precise and the notes flow together well. He manages to keep the listeners attention throughout, which can be difficult for an instrumental album. Some of the better tracks are “The Gift,” “Duo,” “Tears,” “Homecoming,” and “Shades Of Blue.”

The Lost Art is an album of classical music recorded during 1995. It was not intended for general release but was meant for his personal use. While his recovery from tendinitis allows him to play the acoustic guitar, he is unable to play a classical guitar at an acceptable level, and may never be able to do so again. This fact prompted him to release this material as a separate album.

His inability to play classical music in the future is a loss as he has an aptitude for the style. It requires a precision and preciseness that not many guitarists take the time to develop. He varies the program so as to make it appealing. J.B. Loeillet de Gant Sonata No. 1, J.S. Bach Cello Suite No. 1, and Heritor Villa-Lobos are all nice vehicles for his explorations.

Randy Ellefson has released two different albums that are tied together by the talent of one person. If you are a fan of the guitar, either one should provide about an hour of pleasure.

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