Sayce, Philip: Ruby Electric
"Philip Sayce was born in Aberystwyth, Wales, and grew up in Toronto, Canada, where his family moved to when he was two years old. While still a teenager, Sayce was held in such high regard that, after jamming on stage with one of his heroes, guitar player and fellow Canadian Jeff Healey, he was invited to join Healey's band. He later joined Uncle Kracker, and was with the band when they had their massive US No.1 hit 'Drift Away'. Then, in 2003, Grammy and Oscar winner Melissa Etheridge came calling ("very talented – like Stevie Ray Vaughan," she enthused), and he enjoyed an "awesome" time, playing and recording with her band until 2008" (http://mascotlabelgroup.com/mlg/artists/philip-sayce/, 2011).
This is a double album full of half, (Volume 1), studio tracks, and the other half, (Volume 2), live tracks. Philip's sound is similar to many of the rock/blues guitarists in the field right now. The studio tracks are more rock than blues. This is a good introduction to Philip and his music, showcasing both his studio and live sound. The live volume was better for me. Live always has more power than the studio version when it comes to the blues. Philip sounds like a good combo between some of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Lenny Kravitz. His cover of 'Cinnamon Girl' and "She's So Heavy' are definitely the highlights off the live volume and for me the complete set.
Philip's original songs are good, but sound so much like Lenny Kravitz and Stevie Ray Vaughan that they lose their power for me. If you like either of these artists or Jimi Hendrix's work you will most likely enjoy this album.
Volume 1 – Studio Tracks
'Let the Love In' opens fast with blasting drums, heavy lead electric guitar chords, and bass. The vocals are funky and are supported by a bluesy beat.
'Set Us Free' moves fast again and is full of drums, guitar, bass and excellent guitar solos. "Free, love will set us free".
'Daydream Tonight (Live at Lion's Share)' is a slow rock ballad set to good lead electric, bass, and well placed drums. Almost a great time piece sounding like something from the 70s, mixed with some 80s organ work.
'King of New Mexico' opens with some amazingly strong drums and heavy metal lead guitar. Others have compared him to Stevie Ray Vaughan, but I hear more 80s alternative or less edgy punk. He includes all the clichés in the lyrics of this track and takes it into the 'big hair' 80s realm with the guitar soloing, for me.
'Were You There' is the best song on the studio version. This one actually does have some of that Stevie Ray influence. It is full of powerful lyrics and the best guitar work on the album. The drums and bass rise to the occasion and help drive, along with the lead guitar soloing, the sound to an even higher level.
'Ruby Electric' is a fast ripping guitar track full of power. The lyrics attempt to conjure Hendrix and the guitar and vocals have some of the gravitas. The drums and bass support well.
Volume 2 (Live tracks)
'Helios' gets things off to an electric start with cool grinding and then echoing electric guitars.
'One Foot in the Grave' - This track brings more of that 'Crosstown Traffic/Stepping Stone' feeling to it, complete with themed lyrics adding to the illusion. The live set is off to a great start.
'Powerful Thing' brings more of that heavy guitar work and starts with Hendrix sounding vocals. Then he switches over to almost more of a Lenny Kravitz' vocal sound as the song progresses.
'Slipaway' has more of the Stevie Ray Vaughan feel to it, set to Lenny Kravitz' styled vocals. Philip rips some great slow blues guitar as the bass and drums support.
'Alchemy' opens with slow SRV electric guitar sounding chords, like those deep, long blues classics Stevie used to write. Instead it's a nice slow instrumental full of intricate guitar chords and excellent support from bass and drums. A real showcase of talent, for sure.
'Take You Away' opens with a cool galloping rhythm full of heavy guitar, bass and drums full of life. More of that Lenny Kravitz' vocal sound. This one rocks and rolls and keeps you interested throughout.
'Angels Live Inside' is full of cool guitar chords and riffs. It is another great showcase for Philip's talent as a blues/rock guitarist.
'Cinnamon Girl/I Want You (She's So Heavy)' is a great cover of the Neil Young and Beatles classics.
Tracks: Vol. 1 (Studio)
- Let The Love In
- Set Us Free
- Daydream Tonight (Live at Lion's Share)
- King Of New Mexico
- Were You There
- Ruby Electric
Vol. 2 (Live)
- One Foot In The Grave
- Powerful Thing
- Take You Away
- Angels Live Inside
- Cinnamon Girl/I Want You (She's So Heavy)
Added: July 11th 2011
Reviewer: Mark Johnson
Related Link: Artist Website
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