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Flyin' Ryan Brothers — Totality
((Not on label) no#, 2008, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2008-10-01

Totality Cover art

Here’s a tasty slice of instrumental progressive guitar rock, borne of the idea that lyrics and voices are unnecessary – and in fact only get in the way of the delivery of a strong enough instrumental message. There are some flashy pyrotechnics here and there, but there is so much more, as the chief component of this quartet’s output is rich and robust melodies delivered in a variety of styles and moods, with a twin guitar attack, supported by bass, drums, keyboards and several other instruments, making for an extremely satisfying whole. The brothers Johnny and Jimmy play all manner of guitars: acoustic, electric, lap steel, flutar, plus sitar, glockenspiel, accordion, and keyboards – even what sound like steel drums and theremin on the adventurous “Cosmic Calypso.” The rhythm section is drummer Johnny Mrozek and Exposé patron saint William Kopecky on four and six string and fretless basses; indeed the bass and drums are integral to the concept, with all four members having a hand in all the compositions and arrangements, which tend to tow the melodic line, steer clear of any overt metalisms, and never get too far beyond grasp. Some reference points might include Eric Johnson, Steve Morse or the Travis Larson Band, but their dual lead guitar approach reminds me most of the best instrumental work of Wishbone Ash. In all, an outstanding offering that satisfies on a number of levels.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 36, 2008 releases

Related artist(s): Flyin' Ryan Brothers

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