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Greg V


One brilliant song erases the memory of fifty mediocre ones. One superb musician erases the memory of a hundred mediocre ones. Without saying or singing a word, Greg V is propelled to the top shelf, the realm of the few.

Entirely void of bombast or artifice, and without a note or a sound overdone, V still manages to swell, glide, and grind his way hypertonefully through a dozen beautiful compositions that sound like the soundtrack for a warrior's life--a cowboy, a sailor, a monk, a traveler. This is instrumental music of unusual depth and power. To call it cinematic almost cheapens it--it's like music that inspires someone to make a movie, not merely music that might fit into somebody's movie. In fact, it is a sonic movie.

So many guitar, baritone, lap steel, mando guitar voices actually emerge in the compositions, it's like great dialogue. And the interplay of the voices is so clear, and so eloquent, there's absolutely no wasted or extra notes or riffage going on. It's cogent, it's all important, and it all works.

Tailgate Toubadour doesn't jump from one style or tempo to another. It's a tone tapestry with melodic episodes or vignettes woven together from the reservoir of Americana. Mountain music, bluegrass, ambient roots rock, a dozen great songs that do not have or require a singer. But Greg V also loves playing behind great singers and writers, and will probably be hearing from quite a few of them as this shocking testament to his abilities as a composer and tonesmith begins to circulate. It's a buzz right now in the rarified air of Nashville's session elite. Rare quotes from a number of Music City's finest can be found on the artist's website. There you can also find the long list of artists with whom he's toured and recorded.

Drummer Jim Christie (Lucinda Williams) and bassist Kevin McCormick (Jackson Browne) are V's flawless and fierce companions throughout. Truly mighty.

I knew the artist as a young prodigy, the rare youth who played hell outta metal and country, and plenty in between. But he's come worlds since then, galaxies. And we're amazed. • Frank Goodman

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