CD review by Roger-Z
Master of the Telecaster. That title applies only to a select few: Roy Buchanan, Albert Lee, Danny Gatton, Mark Knopfler. To that list, now add Matt Rae. Just listen to his self-titled, mostly original, instrumental CD. A lot of musical territory is covered here: country, rock, blues, funk, swing, and even fusion. He holds it all together with that legendary Tele sound: clean, clear, funky, and shimmering.
The rhythm section consists of Stuart Stahr on drums and, for all but three tracks, Paul Opalach on bass. Mark Bridgman covers the rest. Together, they deliver a subtle but powerful crunch that lends consistency to a diversity of styles. The album was produced and engineered by Paul at his studio, Long Hill Recording, in Shelton, CT. With few overdubs, the record sounds clean and precise.
Matt authored most of these diverse tunes. What would country music be without the Fender Telecaster? Check out Matt's mastery on "Road Rage," "Remington Ride," "Sugar Foot Rag," and "Tele Savalis." When it comes to the blues, his adeptness shines on "Sonic Blue" and "Albert," a funky tribute to Albert King. The band swings like crazy on "The Cottage," with it's sophisticated jazz harmonies. "Telethrasher" could have been lifted from Jeff Beck's "Wired" album. My favorite pieces, the ballads "Floatin'" and "Almost Home," captivate with their haunting chord progressions and evocative melodies.
Matt was a stalwart at the open mike that used to take place Wednesday nights at The Next Door Cafe in Stamford, CT. Whenever I got the chance to lead a set, I would always hope to draw Matt as the other guitarist. Simply put, he truly understands the art of accompaniment. He doesn't blow you away with bombast, but rather with taste. His is a classic and timeless art.