A few weeks back I made a post about my new album that I’ve begun working on, which will feature a completely imaginary band.  Writing a new concept album is a process that starts with an idea, then it takes time to formulate what avenues you’re going to take to illuminate the idea and deliver an experience to the listener. This is a dying art form, you know. And it’s not easy to do, which is why most bands don’t do it anymore. Even Rush never did any full concept albums, opting to do long form composition pieces like Cygnus X-1 Book II Hemispheres, The Camera Eye, 2112, The Fountain of Lamneth, The Necromancer, and Xanadu. Concept albums that I grew up with and always were a big inspiration to me were Tommy (The Who), Quadrophenia (The Who), Joe’s Garage (Frank Zappa), The Wall (Pink Floyd), Thick As A Brick (Jethro Tull), just to name a few. In later years, the only real concept album that has knocked my socks off and really inspired me to do more with my music was Operation Mindcrime (Queensryche). These albums all have one thing in common: they tell a story in a elusive and sometimes abstract way, forcing you to think hard about the words and try and grasp their deeper meaning, a task that can sometimes feel like trying to grab smoke with your hands.

But I like a bit more direct storytelling with layers of elusive hidden meaning, which you will find plenty of in Life and Death and Tip of the Sword. On the surface they both tell a very easy to follow story, but the lyrics have depth and meaning and the more you hear them – the more I hear them too – the more meaning comes out of them. This is probably one of the hardest types of musical compositions to write, with not only one song but several songs that thread together to weave a tapestry if imagery and meaning whose total is the sum of it’s parts.

So, rather than make everyone wait for a year or more for the next new hard hitting, pile driving Jerry Boutot Music album, I decided to start putting out videos of me playing the guitar performances for my already recorded music. And this won’t be easy, either. I have to literally go back and re-learn every single guitar part from scratch, as if it were somebody else’s music. Why? Because I only perform for the studio recording and in some cases the parts are partially improvised and a “take” the one that really nails it and never play it again.

In the case of Life and Death, most of the lead solos are highly structured, and the recordings were done in the mid 90’s so I am so far removed from them that I can’t remember how to play them. I started jamming with the entire album a couple of weeks ago and couldn’t believe some of the guitar work I wrote. It’s one thing to hear it, but it’s another thing to actually try and play it.

So without any further horn blowing on my part, enjoy the first of many guitar performance of my music. Some will have split screens because there are two highly distinct guitar parts, others will just have one performance that captures the essence of the two guitars (where there are two) that play almost the exact same part. That’s the case with Cold Cruel World.

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