Original and Familiar…
"Simple Works" is the second release from "Too Many Toys". Ethan Newman (bass), Jay Poole (guitars) and Kenny Williams (drums) craft a collection of 10 eclectic, yet surprisingly cohesive, instrumentals that seamlessly fuse rock, jazz, country and blues. It’s a guitar album, but “Simple Works” is more about orchestration and songs rather than extended solos. Not to say that there isn’t an occasional burn… After all, it is a guitar album!
On the opener, “More is More”, classical and 12 string guitars fade in against odd-metered snare drum rudiments, making way for a singing lap steel. Twin guitar harmonies vaguely reminiscent of Derek and the Dominoes blend into a two part acoustic guitar outro. And that’s only the first 3 1/2 minutes!
“Desert Fall” crafts a middle eastern soundscape with powerful lap steel melodies contrasting against jazz-tinged acoustic guitar lines. Kenny Williams’ percussion and drums propel the song relentlessly, and a guest appearance by keyboard wizard Chris Gough adds a Corea-esque touch.
“Sea Song” features a beautiful fretless bass performance set against a solo acoustic guitar for a haunting presentation that tips it’s hat to early Led Zeppelin acoustic masterpieces and lets the listener take a breath before the next track, “Cog in the Wheel”. “Cog” is easily the most avant-garde composition on the album, but still grooves hard against the complex interaction of two-part melody and intricate harmonic changes.
The title track, “Simple Works”, is straight up rock and roll. If ZZ Top and the Dixie Dregs had a love child, this would be it. Giant guitar hooks and a driving rhythm section keep the tune moving from start to finish. Mullets R Us!
The next 5 tracks keep you engaged with even more sonic twists and turns. The band pays homage to their influences, but still delivers a refreshingly original sound. “Simple Works” is about great instrumental songs that grab your attention and leave you with a smile.
Set aside 34 minutes and enjoy the ride!