Exposé Online banner

Sam Coulson — Electric Classical
((Not on label) SC001, 2015, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2017-01-18

Electric Classical Cover art

The YouTube guitar star who was drafted to replace Steve Howe in Asia has his own album, totally solo, electric guitars only (mostly Stratocasters, with some multi-tracking, of course) covering a selection of his favorite classical pieces. Unlike what other rock guitarists have done over the years covering classical pieces (I’m thinking of folks like Dave Edmunds shredding “Sabre Dance” and Bizet’s “Farandole,” Mastermind tearing up “William Tell Overture,” or Big Brother & The Holding Company’s version of “Hall of the Mountain King”) Coulson’s electric guitar interpretations are respectful of the original pieces, void of flash and shred, with only minimal use of effects — one might even say tame, not unlike what many other artists have done on acoustic or classical guitar. The surprises within this ten-song set are in the selections themselves. There are a few one might expect, like Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” and a few vaguely familiar Bach pieces, “Ave Maria” of course, but he’s included several pieces by Fernando Sor, one by Francisco Tárrega (“Recuerdos de la Alhambra”) and "Vals Venuzolano #2" by Antonio Lauro, overall showing his preference for Spanish guitar compsers of that period. Several of these I had never heard before in any version, so reviewing Coulson’s CD introduced me to some great pieces that I hadn’t heard before. All taken, these are respectful interpretations well within the parameters of what the composers would have liked to hear had electric guitars been available back in the romantic period. Nicely done.

Filed under: New releases, 2015 releases

Related artist(s): Sam Coulson

Latest news

Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more

Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more

Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more

10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more

Tom Rapp RIP – Singer / songwriter Tom Rapp, best known with the band Pearls Before Swine, passed away on February 12, at the age of 70, after a battle with cancer. » Read more

Previously in Exposé...

Pelt - Técheöd – Here we have three ambient tracks from a not-so-dark trio on the indie VHF label. According to the label website, the title of this album is pronounced "Tay-hoood," but I'm still not certain what...  (1999) » Read more

Listen & discover

Print issues