Clark Colborn is a guitarist from the Midwest region of the U.S. He can also be found playing bass and piano on his current release, Again, but his guitar is really his weapon of choice here. For the most part, Colborn is a flashy player in the same vein as Satriani or Yngwie, with great shred skills and a good ear for harmony. He doesn’t really exhibit the tone and “feel” of a Bonamassa or Beck, but rather sticks to a more full frontal attack reminiscent of your heavy 70’s guitar rock.
Primarily an instrumental record, with the exception of four tracks, I would normally be welcoming the vocals with open arms. In the case of Clark Colborn, I find the vocal tracks to be road blocks. Usually when I have an instrumental record in front of me, I reach a point where I would do just about anything to hear some vocals. Keeping an instrumental record interesting can be difficult, but I think Colborn has the ability. I found myself being pummeled with shred, then lifted with harmony and rhythm. The peaks and valleys made with the instrumental pieces are captivating. When the vocal tracks come up, I think the flow of the record comes to a stop. I’m not sure if I’ve ever said this before, but I would’ve kept this release completely instrumental.
With that said, I do enjoy the songs with vocals. The vocals take the record to another place; a more systematic and controlled environment. The rest of the record is tense and edgy, with many passages often nearing the brink of chaos. Even the slower, more harmonic instrumental pieces (“Lilacs & Cardinals,” “The Harmonic Thing” ) have an underlying tension about them that keeps things interesting. Colborn produced, mixed and engineered the disc, and he did a fine job of it too. With mastering done by King’s X guitarist Ty Tabor, the sound is well balanced and crisp.I would urge any fan of guitar music to check this out. Go to Colborn’s website (http://www.clarkplaysguitar.com) and sign up for his newsletter to get a free tune from the album. Also, check out his take on The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” and Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” while you’re there. I think you’ll like what you hear.