VINNIE MOORE: Aerial Visions

Vinnie Moore was born in New Castle, Delaware, and he began his professional career at age 12 playing in clubs and bars until Shrapnel executive Mike Varney discovered him via a demo and bio that Vinnie submitted to the Spotlight column, which Varney headed for Guitar Player Magazine. Through Varney, it led to an opportunity to appear in a Pepsi commercial in 1985, (only Vinnie’s hands appeared in the commercial as his guitar playing is heard. Following this, Moore recorded his first solo album, Mind’s Eye (1986), released on Shrapnel Records. Vinnie Moore played lead guitar with Vicious Rumors on their debut album, Soldiers of the Night (1985). Moore joined Alice Cooper’s band for a tour and then appeared on the Hey Stoopid (1991) album. Moore has been the lead guitarist for UFO since June 2003, and this is his eighth solo album.

This album strikes right to the core of what Moore’s fans have always loved about his playing, guitar-centric music with plenty of melody. Each song is beautifully crafted and his technique is never at the expense of taste, and this album has a delicious flavor. The playing is tight, but not so flashy that the casual listener gets bogged down in flair and flash, instead you get an album full of songs with terrific guitar playing that draws you in and won’t let go. If you’re going to release a guitar based instrumental album these days, since it’s not really in style anymore, it’s imperative that you mix up the styles on it, and Moore has indeed done just that here. “Mustang Shuffle” is blistering blues rock, and his version of ZZ Top’s “La Grange”, which would make them proud. “Now’s the Time” and “Faith” are two songs that originally were intended as instrumentals, but some of the arrangements were later used as UFO tunes. “Looking Back” is a tender ballad, while the title track has a rootsy blues/jazz/funk sound. “A Million Miles Gone” has a moody atmosphere, with Moore playing a jaw dropping solo that is dripping with emotion.

If you want an album of guitar wankery, this is not it, there were plenty released in the 80s (Yngwie Malmsteen anyone?), this one has the ability to go beyond that into an album that is a classic. The playing is on point, the song selection is terrific and everything just clicks.