Inspired by the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, executive producer Jim Klein developed a vision to arrange Bach’s music for multiple electric guitars, even imagining a different electric guitar for each of the ten fingers necessary to play one of Bach’s keyboard pieces. Behind Jim’s vision was the desire to turn young people on to classical music by making it accessible to them through a medium they commonly identify with. Friend and producer Andrew Dahlke became intrigued with the idea and put together a musical team consisting of arranger Sam Williams, guitarist Steve Kovalcheck, and engineer Greg Heimbecker, and made some test recordings at the University of Northern Colorado recording studio during August of 2009. The success of these test recordings (the Bach/Gounod Ave Maria and Bach’s C minor Fugue) prompted Jim, Andrew, and the team to plan and record a full CD of classical music in this new rock format. The CD, New Bach Rock, was completed in the fall of 2010. Songs on the CD are performed with as few as three, and as many as eight electric guitars. In addition to Bach, the CD includes music of Beethoven, Chopin, Vivaldi, Grieg, Pachebel, and Debussy.
Jim and Andrew feel that a force greater than themselves brought them and the team together and was behind the creativity, process, musicality, and ultimate success of the CD. Steve Kovalcheck’s contribution cannot be underestimated. All of the guitar parts were performed and overdubbed by Steve. Andrew Dahlke’s musical knowledge and direction motivated the team to generate new ideas and fresh approaches at every turn. Greg Heimbecker’s creative use of technology throughout the process solved numerous artistic challenges. Sam’s reworking of the music into not just playable, but polished and dynamic arrangements was essential. The contributions of vocalist Kate Skinner, drummer Chris Smith, bassist Marty Kenney, and bassist Dave Farrell added vital color and energy to the project.
The reaction to the music appears to have surpassed the initial vision as listeners of all ages and different generations enjoy the CD. What the future will bring for Newbach cannot be predicted, but isn’t it about the journey? We hope you enjoy the music!