Guitarist Rick Holmstrom’s new album is an all-instrumental collection of toe-tappers, thigh-slappers and finger-snappers. There’s an irresistible backbeat, and the mood is upbeat. Grin and hear it.
Holmstrom, who has worked with Mavis Staples for the past 15 years, draws on antecedents reaching back much farther than that, to the days when the electric guitar was ubiquitous on the pop charts. His playing is a stylish swirl of hipster funk, twang, the blues and garage rock – in fact, most of “Get It!” was recorded in a Los Angeles garage.
Accompanied by drummer Steve Mugalian and bassist Gregory Boaz, Holmstrom tears through 14 tunes, all original, in less than 40 minutes. There’s plenty of playful interplay and the rhythm always jumps, whether Holmstrom’s band of joy is evoking a prayer meeting, sock hop, beach party or juke joint.
Holmstrom plays a distinctive mix of lead and rhythm guitar, as he does with Staples. His neck excursions combine dips and scoops, lyrical runs, toggles between registers and shimmering chord clusters. Notes cascade, collide, argue and agree. It’s all in good fun, and words would just get in the way.
STEVEN WINE, MDT/AP