Gary Schutt – B Sides Myself (2005)
Wasting no time after returning from a lengthy world tour with Jeff Scott Soto’s band, Gary Schutt has issued ‘B Sides Myself’, a collection of tracks originally intended for release on Gary’s three previous albums. The disc opens with four tunes intended for 2002’s excellent ‘Excruciating Pleasures’ album. “Controlling the Rage”, clocking in at just over nine minutes, is the most epic of the songs here, mixing meaty, creative riffing and an ear for melody. The same strengths can be found in “Left in the Dark” and “Only You Know”. All three songs feature some rather inspired soloing which, at times, brings to mind players like Vinnie & Gary Moore, Steve Vai and Brad Gillis. It should be pointed out that Gary writes and performs everything on ‘B Sides Myself’, and there are indeed a couple moments where it becomes apparent that having so much studio time on one’s hands isn’t always a good thing. “I’m in Love With the Girl That I Hate”, in its original form, was a slightly deranged, yet heartfelt, song that here receives a bit of an ill-advised alt-pop makeover. Same with Gary’s caustic take on “Without You”, which is almost unrecognizable as the Badfinger classic. From the halfway point, the album segues into songs originally meant for Gary’s two earliest albums. Of those, “Behind My Back”, with its driving guitar/piano riffing, stands out as a high point. ‘B Sides Myself’ closes with a spirited cover of Queen’s “Death on Two Legs” (Gary’s version predating the JSS band’s abbreviated take on the song by a year or two). Bottom line – ‘B Sides Myself’ is well-balanced glance back at the music of Gary Schutt up to this point, and the next best thing to a ‘Best of…’ Gary’s songwriting is uniquely off-center, and his guitar playing on this collection of heavy (and sometimes progressive) power-pop songs is often breathtaking. To order ‘B Sides Myself’, and to check out Gary’s other releases, go to www.garyschutt.com.