Nov 15, 2011 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
Syracuse record producer extraordinaire Mark Doyle again descends into the netherworld with his new disc, “In Dreams: Guitar Noir 2.”
It’s the long-awaited follow-up to his 1999 Local Record of the Year, “Guitar Noir,” an instrumental achievement unlike any regional record ever made. While “Guitar Noir” conjured film noir movie themes from the ’40s and ’50s, “In Dreams” clings to a single ominous motif, the power of sleep-induced surreality.
The disc’s 11 amazing tracks range from wistful to wicked, from revelatory to revulsive.
A few, such as the opener, “Mr. Sandman,” embody all of the above. The uncommonly slow, pensive version is spiced with a healthy variety of guitar figures that suddenly veer off into disturbing dissonances which shake the familiar melody to its core.
In fact Doyle’s arrangements meticulously adhere to each tune’s melody as his 1954 Strat essentially “sings” the lyrics to each wordless song, from the Everlys’ “All I Have to Do is Dream” to Ray Davies’ “I Go To Sleep” to Cindy Walker’s Roy Orbison hit, “Dream Baby (How Long Must I Dream?).”
The producer’s reconstruction of such standards makes for invigorating listening, but the disc’s two original tunes are even more captivating.
The shrill incantation of a theremin provides an eerie backdrop for Doyle’s “Reve Noir (Dark Dream),” and his menacing, tremolo-laden guitar lines cut to the quick. Their bitterness is complemented by softly wavering chord clusters showcasing the lower strings. Doyle credits the primal blues styling of Johnny “Guitar” Watson for this minor-key tour de force which boils over with forbidden passion and dark portents. Masterful music, indeed.
Similarly, Doyle’s “Dream Tiger,” with its repetitively descending rhythmic guitar lines, evokes vivid images of the big cat stalking the jungle…or is it a human hep cat pounding the asphalt, looking for trouble?
Doyle’s late dad, Bobby Doyle, was one of CNY’s top jazz pianists, and while “In Dreams” is no jazz disc by any means, Doyle does doff his cap to the genre with Artie Shaw’s foreboding “Nightmare,” Henry Mancini’s dreamy “Dreamsville” and especially on Jimmy Van Heusen’s “Darn that Dream.” Also showcasing the upright bass playing of Darryl Pugh, “Darn” recalls the work of jazz six-stringer Jim Hall as Doyle revels in Van Heusen’s swinging melody.
After another respectful re-creation, this time of Brian Wilson’s often overlooked 1977 “Still I Dream of It,” Doyle concludes the disc with its piéce de résistance, a four-minute version of Roy Orbison’s “In Dreams.”
Renowned for its inclusion in David Lynch’s creepy crime film, “Blue Velvet,” this lovelorn song is structured like no other. Where most rock tunes have a few verses set off by a catchy chorus or bridge, “In Dreams” has seven distinct melodies which flow seamlessly one into another ever building in emotion and intensity, and Doyle meets the challenge head-on.
The instrumental treatments on “In Dreams” benefit greatly from Doyle’s decades of studio experience, yet his arrangements and performances both on guitar and piano are so heartfelt and human listeners can’t help but to share these dreams.
In the title tune, Roy Orbison wrote, “It’s too bad that all these things / Can only happen in my dreams.” But Mark Doyle has proven that they can happen in a recording studio as well.
Doyle jams for food
Mark Doyle will perform British blues boom covers with his band The Maniacs on Saturday night, Nov. 19, at the Redhouse, 201 S. West St., on the outskirts of Armory Square, downtown.
Mark Doyle and The Maniacs, who just won their second Syracuse Area Music Award in a row, share a double bill with the Super Delinquents on that evening’s show called “Will Jam for Food,” a benefit for Meals on Wheels starting at 7 p.m. Saturday. The Super Delinquents feature the 2011 Sammys Best New Artist, drummer Liz Strodel.
Admission costs $25 each or $40 per couple; meals.org; 425-0405.
Have you noticed all the concert cancellations that have littered the concert calendar around here this fall?
At the last minute, the Goo Goo Dolls canceled their Friday, Oct. 21, show at the Stanley Theatre in Utica, supposedly due to “illness.”
The British Invasion duo Chad & Jeremy had a somewhat better reason and they mercifully alerted the venue a few days in advance, but their scheduled Nov. 5 appearance at Homer’s Center for the Arts was also canceled. Now an actor, Jeremy Clyde is performing in a play called “Three Days In May,” which – after a successful UK tour – was picked up for a West End run at London’s Trafalgar Studios.
Here in the Salt City, both jazz singer Nancy Kelly and pop vocalist Dan Elliott thought they were booked to play Wednesday, Oct. 26, at Syracuse Suds Factory. Apparently the Armory Square hotspot was not only double-booked but triple-booked. While both Kelly and Elliott lost a day of work, Oswego guitarist Rick Balestra fronted his trio at Suds that night.
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