Andy Timmons Band’s eighth album, Theme from a Perfect World, is an inspired, guitar-driven affair made up of 10 hook-filled instrumentals that are sure to satisfy even the pickiest of guitarists.
Produced by Timmons and his longtime bassist, Mike Daane, Perfect World is the ideal balance of melodic virtuosity and inspired songwriting.
In addition to his solo work—which includes his critically acclaimed 2011 instrumental take on the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band—Timmons’ resume includes work with Danger Danger, Kip Winger and Simon Phillips.
I recently caught up with the busy guitarist to ask him about Theme from a Perfect World, his gear and memorable moments from his career.
How would you describe Theme from a Perfect World in terms of its sound and how it relates to some of your previous work?
I think it’s a bit of a departure from my last two records [Revolution and Andy Timmons Band Plays Sgt. Pepper]. I remember when we recorded Revolution and I was listening to the basic tracks. I wasn’t feeling inspired, but then I remembered something Steve Vai told me; he said he loved those earlier sessions I did when I was recording songs that just had guitar, bass and drums—ones where you could hear the fingers on the frets and there wasn’t a lot of stuff going on.
That stuck in my mind, and I asked myself, what if I switched gears and did the whole record like that? Just stripping it down to a one-guitar performance and assimilating all of the important elements into one. It became fun and a challenge. That same idea spilled over to the Beatles songs.
This new album is in the direction of the last two records in that we’re still keeping things as natural and organic as possible, but we also gave ourselves the “keys to the kingdom.” It’s given it a vintage kind of feel. I’m very proud of the songwriting and the playing on this record.
Is there a different way you approach writing an instrumental album as opposed to one with vocals?
I don’t find it that much different. Things that have resonated with me a certain way are stored in muscle memory and my melodic ear will always steer me. As a writer and improviser, you’re always trying to create an “in the moment,” but with just music, you’re not confined to any limitation and can go much deeper. And the deeper your connection is to the instrument, the better your ability is to do that.
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