Philip Sayce

Philip Sayce


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(Provogue Records)

JON Bon Jovi was on to something back in 2007 when he described Sayce as a "pretty great, pretty fabulous" guitarist. Seven years on, the Welsh-born, Canadian-raised prodigy, while not yet a household name, continues to fulfil his early promise.

As befits someone whose guitar heroes included Hendrix, Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jeff Healey (with whom he would later record and tour), Sayce delivers lots of raw, muscular fretwork on his latest album, right from the opening track, a powerhouse version of an old work song, Tom Devil, which is followed by a Hendrix tribute, Out Of My Mind.

There are lots of these energetic, guitar-driven numbers on this 13-track album, yet Sayce also does a fine job with a handful of covers - an organ-inflected version of Graham Nash's Better Days, and Little Feat's funky Sailin' Shoes. It's songs such as these - and a superb, reflective Sayce original, Fade Into You, about "being screwed over in the music business" - that give the album room to breathe while underscoring his versatility.

On the instrumental Triumph, he channels Pink Floyd's David Gilmour; and his guitar work lights up Thomas A Dorsey's gospel classic Peace In The Valley, on which vocal duties are handed to the veteran Joe Savage.

Russell Leadbetter