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New West Guitar Group Wants You to 'Send One Your Love' on Summit Records Release [REVIEW]

By Mike Greenblatt m.greenblatt@classicalite.com on Mar 07, 2016 02:10 PM EST

Send One Your Love (Summit Records) by New West Guitar Group, despite being released last year, deserves to be rediscovered. NWGG started in 2005 at the University of Southern California. Jeff Stein, John Storie and Perry Smith's acoustic/electric mix needs no rhythm section. Their sound is perfect the way it is.

On the title track by Stevie Wonder, Gretchen Parlato's sexy vocal lines weave in, out, up, down and through the shimmering wall of guitars to express the vagaries of love. It's the perfect opener for this concept album of love's highs and lows with five different singers.

There's a reason you don't hear a whole hell of a lot of Joni Mitchell covers. Her compositions are notoriously hard to cover since she's so idiosyncratic, yet her "Black Crow" is sung beautifully by Peter Eldridge, and is quite possibly the project's highlight. (Eldridge also does justice to Kurt Weill's "My Ship.")

"You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To," as sung by Tierney Sutton, adds a touch of bitterness to Cole Porter's lyric. Sure, he'd be so nice to come home to but, in Ms. Sutton's hands, she sorta knows she ain't goin' home no matter what she does. The rendition adds hot spice to a brilliant composition that could be construed in many different ways. Written innocently enough for the 1943 movie, Something To Shout About, the song has taken on a life of its own. (She also tackles Randy Newman's "When She Loved Me" from Toy Story 2.)

The love treatise ends with James Taylor's "Secret O'Life" as sung by the sublime Sara Gazarek. All 10 compositions were chosen and arranged by NWGG, making sure to incorporate their trademark guitar stylings in a sound that flutters in the air like a butterfly. There seems to be an innate freedom when set loose from the confines of a rhythm section. It's a refreshing, organic, pure stringed sound. Plus, when put together with compositions of the highest order sung by singers who feel the lyric like these five do, NWGG have added mightily to their legacy.

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TagsNew West Guitar Group, REVIEW, Summit Records, University of Southern California