You may know Trey Anastasio as the singer and guitar player of the jam-band giantknown as Phish, whose two-year hiatus just ended. His band may have been taking abreak, but Trey certainly was not.
Last fall, Trey not only toured but putout an album with a band called Oysterhead. This band included former Policedrummer Stewart Copeland and Primus bassist Les Claypool. After that in-your-facerock project, Trey was looking for a change of pace when he formed his band forhis self-titled “solo” album, which is far from being solo.
Treyis backed by an eight-piece band, including five horns, a bass, drums, keyboardsand various percussion instruments. An orchestra and other horns also fill in ona few tunes. All those instruments make for a huge and textured sound, creatingan album unlike any I have ever heard. Blending rock, funk, jazz, soul, rhythmand blues, Latin and classical, Trey takes you on a musical voyage through 12songs you will be dying to hear again and again.
The album opens with itsfirst-released single, “Alive Again.” It definitely has a Latin vibe,with horns and great guitar riffs cutting between catchy melodies.
Thesecond song is an amazing blues-feeling tune, “Cayman Review.” Ithappens to be my favorite on the entire CD, and Trey shows off his chops with hisusual great abilities intertwined with tight horn rhythms. You can’t help butnotice, on this song especially, the similarity between Trey’s voice and that ofGrateful Dead singer Jerry Garcia.
“Flock of Words” is abeautiful song with a nice tempo change from the first four songs. Piano, fluteand strings make this song perfect as a ballad. To finish off the first half ofthe CD, “Money, Love, and Change” is a good soul song, but may be theweakest on the disc.
The second half may not be as good as the first, butit is still amazing. “Drifting” is another solid tune, and is the mostPhish-like. “Mr. Completely” is straightforward rock with great guitarriffs and few horns. “Ray Dawn Balloon” is a laid-back, string-filledpiece that is pretty much the same song that appeared on the Oysterhead CD, butwith arrangements for different instruments, no lyrics, and a different name. Thetenth song, “Last Tube,” at eleven minutes is the longest jam on thedisc.
The jazzy “Ether Sunday” concludes the album well, and Ican tell you for a fact that this album was meant to be listened to all the waythrough at one time; all the songs blend together beautifully.
“TreyAnastasio” is sure to get many more spins on my CD player; it has become oneof my all-time favorites. Please, if you have any musical taste whatsoever, doyourself a favor and pick up “Trey Anastasio.” You won’t bedisappointed.
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