In 2013 guitarist Sam Coulson replaced Steve Howe in Asia. Compared to his illustrious predecessor, he was rather unknown in the prog rock community at the time. Since 2007, Coulson can be found on YouTube, where he demonstrates his talents on the electric guitar with a lot of passion. It was probably here that he was spotted by the American master guitarist Paul Gilbert, which eventually led to his joining with Asia. He showed his guitaristic talents during several live performances and he featured on the band's latest album Gravitas (2014). A year later he released his first solo album or perhaps I should say EP, because Electric Classical has a total running time of only 24 minutes.
On this EP Coulson shows a totally different side of himself in comparison to the music he formerly made with Asia. On Electric Classical Coulson emphasizes his classical influences. He perfectly uses the electric guitar as an instrument that sounds both sensitive and comfortable when interpreting some great classical melodies from Bach and Fernando Sor. The latter is a virtuoso Spanish composer in general but of guitar music in particular. He undoubtedly is a great inspiration for Coulson. Don't expect any fast playing on the electric guitar or rock tunes whatsoever. You can better pour a glass of wine and dim the lights. If you do the scene is set for an album that may leave you relaxed, inspired and contented. Dream away on the melodies of classical tunes like Ave Maria and Moonlight Sonata Blues.
The almost half an hour of music on Sam Coulson's debut is just long enough. Otherwise you might be distracted from this musical journey back in time when classical music ruled the world. The album provides a nice and quiet moment to get some time for ourselves in the hectic times we live in!
*** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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