Ever hear the story of the webzine editor who accidently (and unknowingly) let a promo CD fall behind his bookshelf, and thus this poor lonely CD went unreviewed for over a year until one day...it was found! OK, so it's not that fantastic a story, but it did happen to me, and lo and behold, this 2001 release from guitarist Rick Ray is quite good.
I've only heard one or two of Rick's albums in the past, and they have been hit or miss, especially some of the more vocal oriented material. This guy is a monster guitar player, sort of a combination of Frank Marino, Robin Trower, and maybe Steve Morse, but his vocals at times take a bit getting used to. On Insanity Flies he lets loose on some crazy shredding with a blues feel. Instrumentals like "Power Gone Mad", "The Guitarichoke", and "Any More?" feature great fuzzy guitar solos dripping with wah-wah and sustain, while "Nothing is Right" has some wild Hendrix styled backwards guitar lines. The vocal pieces have a more progressive feel to them, as the guitarist adds in keyboards and fatter guitar textures to go along with his John Lennon-ish vocals. The title track is a dreamy tune with clever guitar chords and reed solos from Rick Schultz, while "The Glass Man" has an almost Roxy Music feel to it, with bouncy keyboards and catchy vocals, before a bombastic and complex guitar coda reminds you that this is a hard rock record! Perhaps the most impressive track is the quirky Frank Zappa/Soft Machine influenced instrumental "Eyes, Lies and Spies", featuring neat sax work from Schultz and a weaving rhythm section.
Rick Ray has more than 20 CD's that he has released in the last few years, and although I have only heard a few, I will say that he is a talented musician. This one has some real good material, especially the instrumental pieces. I'd be into exploring his back catalog a little further to see what other goodies he has. I'm sure there is an all-instrumental affair in there somewhere!