Always as intelligent as he is beguiling, a new release by Australia’s Graham Greene unfailingly opens your ears just that little wider. We all, of course, know the accolades bestowed upon the man by fellow musicians, he’s a master technician, has a wonderful glowing tone and a feel few ever master; but what I like most about Green’s music is his ability to connect with the listener no matter how sophisticated or base their music tastes.
Puns aside, the title of this new EP not only belies the question what is it about the guitar which draws us to it with such immediacy it’s also, and perhaps equally importantly, about the diversity, the sheer eclecticism that the instrument can demonstrate.
As a listener not normally taken but guitar music, its Greene’s seemingly fluid ability to create a whole from rather incongruent components and contrasting styles that keeps me listening. Unlike some guitarists who have a distinctive oeuvre, a bolted on genre or a self-defined focus Green seems so much freer to go wherever the guitar takes him.
From the sophisticated Folk Rock of ‘Flight of the Kelpies’ to the last notes of ‘Trail of Dreams’ as the EP title might suggest there’s also a mythological thread, or rather mythical or religious/superstitious fragments or chapters, running through the work. From the Scottish Kelpie (we assume not the Aussie dog breed) to the Raven in ‘Raven’s Eye Pt.2’, the ‘lost City’ of ‘Petra’, Dervishes in ‘The Odd Dervish’ and possibly even a reference to the passing of the /Dream Act’ in final track ‘Trail of Dreams’ which also echoes (as the march for the Dream Act did) the ‘Trail of Tears’.
Musically the EP is a master class from the Symphonic Folk Rock of ‘Flight of the Kelpies’ and the more sophisticated take on the theme from Pt. 1 (from ‘Leap of Face’) in ‘Raven’s Eye Pt.2’ to the very end. The title track itself is driving symphonic rock with a touch of Vai; whilst ‘Petra’ and ‘The Odd Dervish’ add a touch of the East and an intricate sense of time and space. ‘Trail of Dreams’ that ends proceedings underlines the whole EP, more rich, more complex and intricate, it’s as if what has come before has been woven into this final word.
Let Graham Greene take you on a journey – you’ll hear the answer on the frets.