For those of you who don’t know who Michael Lemmo is, he is the main demo guy behind testing out the guitars that are unique and special on Norman’s Rare Guitars on their YouTube channel on a regular basis. If any of you have seen these videos, it is fair to say that Michael Lemmo is a fantastic guitarist who understands guitars very well. He recently has ventured out into recording his own material, and this is his debut album. Let’s take a listen to this album and hear what it sounds like.
La Cienega begins with nice, clean guitars, some acoustic overdubs and a keyboard in the background. There is singing here by Michael Lemmo that sounds really fantastic. This is a very 1980s sounding sort of piece, but nonetheless sounds great. A nicely slightly overdriven guitar break is here, and this song is a beautiful and melancholic piece. This is a really good effort from someone who is not overly well known (at least at this point). A wailing guitar solo is in the second half of this song, and the whole thing is a great listen. A great love song of sorts, this really sounds nice. There is a key change towards the end, which actually sounds really good. Simple and beautiful music to hear. Nice effort.
Blue Comet begins with some interesting guitars, some pretty saxophone and a great Classic Rock sort of feel. This music is simply excellent and gorgeous, with a call-and-response between the guitars and saxophone. A very good effort by a guitarist who chose not to limit his strengths. No singing is on this instrumental, yet it is still very good. Jeff Ryan plays a beautiful and romantic sounding saxophone, which boosts this track into the stratosphere. Luscious guitars and pretty vocal harmonies are here for one to listen to, and although there are many layers of instrumentation, this is really fantastic. Nice effort by Michael Lemmo and co. This sounds really awesome, top work by all. The soloing on this song is just amazing, and the saxophone is joyful and wonderful. Great effort.
Island Runner begins with hi-hats, percussion and lovely neck pickup Fender style guitars. A gritty, funky bassline then follows, which is fantastic. Once again, this does sound rather 1980s, but the instrumentation is quite natural on this song. Joe Bonamassa is the guest on this piece, and the whole effort is a sleazy and relaxed piece of music. Again, no lyrics are present, but this is a very chilled sort of listen. It sounds like Michael Lemmo and everyone on this recording is treading fairly new musical territory, it just sounds fresh, inspired and different. A very wonderful and blazing guitar solo is in the second half, and this sounds ridiculously good. Very pretty listening, this sounds uplifting and extraordinary. The song ends with wind chimes and some more subtle bluesy sounding guitar work, great effort man.
Living Without You begins with hi-hats, more pretty guitars and some other pretty instruments as well. This quickly goes in a very Fender sounding funk piece of music that sounds like it was played on a Fender Jazzmaster. This is another pretty and beautiful listen. If music is considered an extension of one’s personality, let’s just say Michael Lemmo shows his best side on this record. Plenty of pseudo-shred and harmonics are present in this song, and this music is perfect to play in the background at a dinner party of sorts, or in the car on the way to work. A very lush and pretty piece. The second half gets rather subtle and the playing on this section is really interesting. Michael Lemmo then does some awesome mixture of palm-muting and harmonics which very few guitarists could emulate. A really awesome tune, Michael Lemmo has a very bright future ahead of him. Nice tunes here, man. Top listening in the 21st century.
Will You Ever Love Me Again? comes along next, with some decent strummed acoustics, more single coil blues pickup sounds (it sounds like the Fender Jazzmaster shown on the front cover of the album). Michael Lemmo sings in a simple and emotional way about missing a lover but does it so well and extraordinarily so that it makes Coldplay look like a joke (and their stuff isn’t a joke either, for the record). This is the future of guitar music, and Michael Lemmo sings from the heart. This is a nice and beautifully layered piece, especially with the semi-organ sound in the background. Each part being played is a really effortless piece, including the interesting guitar solo on this piece. A work of art and genius, Michael Lemmo makes a name for himself on this album. Singing about exuding pain and missing long love gone, this is a great listen.
Chandler Boulevard features another legendary guitarist Tomo Fujita. This is one of the better pieces from this already amazing album and has some catchy and interesting Fender sounding playing. It definitely shows that guitar music never died, it just has been waiting for a talent like Michael Lemmo to shine on through. All the instrumentation here matches the relaxed, melodic and bluesy guitar playing on this song. A fine and interesting listen, this sounds really gloriously enjoyable. Midway, the guitar goes into a middle position and then switches back to the bluesy neck pickup. A really cool and brilliant instrumental that is a Michael Lemmo original, this has some nice piano playing in the background which is really beautiful. A great and inspired piece of music to listen to, it finishes with some really excellent sounds. Great work.
Nobody Knows begins with hi-hats, wind chimes and some other interesting sounds, before launching into another beautiful bluesy romp. Really easy listening and an excellent tune, this hopefully should motivate enough young men and women to pick up the guitar or a similar instrument from hearing pretty numbers such as this one. There are some subtle wah-wah guitar fills and some bongos along with other gorgeous instrumentation on this song. In the middle, some palm muting enters, followed by some laidback and pristine guitar fills. A really excellent tune, this sounds clever and amazing. Gentle, but groovy, this is a very good tune. The bass playing is super intricate, supporting the piece whilst being melodic. The guitar fills towards the end are interesting and intricate as well, and starting from here on this album, Michael Lemmo does succeed. Nice easy listening tune, it concludes with a gentle finish.
Ready For It features Paul Brown. Beginning with more wind chimes, some more melancholy sounding guitars and a pretty and animated sounding piece, this is a musically imaginative and strong piece of sound. A really cool and entertaining listen, this is very well mixed with multiple guitars, soothing sounds and a really expressive and joyful sounding tune. A gentle stroll through the world of music, this again is an instrumental piece, yet a very great listening experience. There are some interesting guitar parts that make up this gifted music from a gifted musician. A really cool combination of acoustic and electric guitars keep this lovely piece of music interesting and animated. Cool, if you like what you find written here, this is undeniably a must-listen for you. This soundscape towards the end is gradually made more mellow, before concluding. Great work.
Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love is a very different sounding cover of the legendary Van Halen song. It is totally different in many ways from the original. Michael Lemmo sings lusciously and beautifully over the top. If you like a combination of old school 1980s lounge music and Van Halen, this will be perfect for you to hear. This is a great rendition of guitar playing and instrumentation into a very pretty cover. One hopes that Eddie Van Halen himself would have approved of this version, which he may have done so. A slow tempo, yet brilliant mash of playing and influences, one would easily confuse this with being an original song. Michael Lemmo does really fine work, and yes, you should hear this song. Very different. It ends with the guitar riffs and bass parts being played nicely. Brilliant.
Smoove begins with some rushing hi-hats, some more interesting Fender style guitar parts, and a nice and gentle guitar groove that sounds fantastic. This has some very 1980s instrumentation, but it is all in an original context. A fresh and decent effort, this sounds like a gorgeous instrumental with power behind the melodies on offer. This is great guitar work that isn’t Shred. Does it need to always be that way? No, it does not. Michael Lemmo shows everyone that one can play smooth indeed, and still succeed. A really pretty instrumental with gorgeous blues guitar leads, this is a prime example that one can use the neck pickup as the main position on a guitar, and still draw results. Towards the end are some gorgeous leads before this concludes. Nice work man.
Closin’ Time At Norm’s refers to that special time at the end of the day where Michael Lemmo plays his thing. This is a great instrumental with some great Fender palm muting that sounds brilliant. There is a keyboard in the background which sounds eerie, and Michael Lemmo’s guitars do sound exceptionally great here. It also sounds really effortless by Lemmo, he just succeeds on many different levels. A really upbeat and precisely intricate tune, this sounds unusual but very well done. A mellow yet good listen, Michael Lemmo does very well on guitar and the layering of instruments on this tune. It builds up into an atmospheric piece towards the end. David Gilmour must be proud of Michael Lemmo, that is if he hears this album. Excellent.
Northern Lights begins with some electronic breakbeats, before launching into a very different and surreal sounding piece. This is the final track on the album, and it comes as a real surprise to the rest of the tracks we have just heard before. Nonetheless, there are some great Fender neck position tones and sensible musical licks to keep this one driving along nicely. Michael Lemmo is one to keep an eye on in the future, let’s hope that he keeps his mojo going for many years to come. The guitar licks are catchy and simple on this record, and this song is no exception. A genuinely cool cat rocks out on a genuinely cool track. This music is simple, melodic and pretty, and may influence the future of guitar music from this point on. Great work Michael Lemmo. It ends gently with a very lengthy fadeout.
This is very good, covering a bunch of different sounds and textures. Michael Lemmo already had sealed his musical legacy on YouTube, but this album takes it up several notches. A cool, calm and laidback listen, this is a genuinely great solo album release. Keep an eye on Michael Lemmo, he is going places. He deserves listening and is a postmodern Rock pioneer.
Mellow and fantastic.
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