Described as his most personal work to date, Greg Howe’s new album, Wheelhouse—which will be released on September 1— marks the guitar legend’s highly-anticipated return to solo instrumental work.
Tracks like “Tempest Pulse” and “Throw Down” showcase Howe’s infectious tone and fretboard wizardry while eclectic tracks like “2 In 1” combine a funk-infused vibe with Forties swing. But perhaps one of the biggest highlights on Wheelhouse; and one that long-time followers of Howe’s career will certainly find appealing, is the track, “Shady Lane”.
A song originally written by Howe and his brother back in the early Nineties, on Wheelhouse, “Shady Lane” is given a 21st century spin with an emotionally charged vocal performance by Richie Kotzen (Winery Dogs, Mr. Big). Kotzen also complements his fellow Shrapnel alumni by contributing a blistering guitar solo to the track as well.
Wheelhouse is an album that will once again raise the bar for guitarists, and a fitting return for one of the genre’s most dynamically diverse artists.
I recently spoke with Howe about Wheelhouse and more in this exclusive new interview.
How would you describe Wheelhouse in terms of its sound and maybe as it relates to some of your previous work?
From a guitar perspective, I’d describe it as an almost higher quality of the type of tone I was getting on Introspection. It’s very clean and there’s a lot of gain behind it but it doesn’t sound like it. I was also getting a little more into single coils and more “Strat” kind of tones, so it’s a different kind of expression. As far as direction, I feel like it’s a little more honest.
I can get carried away in the studio sometimes, and then I’ll listen back to what I recorded and decide to scrap it and end up writing something that’s either really complicated or putting together solos that border on unrealistic in terms of what I would sound like. I really wanted this to be a lot of one-take stuff and the material to sound like something I would want to play over. It’s a very natural, honest record.
What’s your writing process like?
There isn’t really a process. It ranges anywhere from going through drum loops and finding something cool that inspires the riff to waking up in the morning with a song idea already in my head. Sometimes, if I’m searching for inspiration, it can come from just watching a movie, thinking about something or connecting to something that’s happening in my life at the time. It’s a starting point that inspires and triggers the creative process.
Let’s discuss a few tracks from Wheelhouse, beginning with “Tempest Pulse”
That song was one of the first I wrote for the album and has a slight Latin feel to it. I went through a phase where I was listening to a lot of Michel Camilo and that opened up some of this Cuban influence. There’s also something really festive and sexy about not hitting on the downbeat.
Read the rest of my
Interview with Greg Howe by Clicking Here.
This year, I had the pleasure of interviewing one of my favorite guitarists Greg Howe about his new project Maragold.
Greg grew up in my hometown of Easton, PA and cut his teeth in many of the same clubs I performed at, so having that connection and getting to speak with him about it was especially cool.
Maragold also features the killer vocals of powerhouse Meghan Krauss, someone else I had the opportunity to speak with. Meghan is the real deal with a voice that Howe himself has often compared to a distortion pedal that she can activate at will. A prophetic metaphor that accurately describes the blonde beauty.
Maragold has just release a new video from their debut album. Check out the song, Paradigm Tsunami:
Greg and the band have been nominated to perform at this year’s Grammy Gig of a Lifetime Concert event. A voting competition where the winner will play in Los Angeles at Club Nokia and open for The Neighbourhood! Let’s help them get there!
You can vote every day and it’s super easy to do:
1. To vote at CBS.com, visit this link: http://bit.ly/18GtFUg
(after you vote once, hit the MAX VOTES)
2. To vote on Twitter, just tweet “I’m voting for #maragold to win the #SurfaceGRAMMYGig”
3. To vote on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GigOfALifetimeCBS and post a message with these two hashtags: #maragold and #SurfaceGRAMMYGig.
(Note: you can vote TEN TIMES A DAY EACH on both Facebook & Twitter!!)
Voting ends on January 10th at 12:00pm PST!!!
For more information on Maragold be sure to check out their official website by Clicking Here.
Greg Howe and I have a few things in common. First, we have a mutual interest in a certain instrument and both cut our teeth playing music in clubs in the Lehigh Valley, PA area. But that’s pretty much where our similarities end. While I remained, Howe went on to score major success with his fretboard prowess; releasing critically acclaimed albums and supporting some of the biggest names in music. Now, Howe finally gets the chance to return to his roots with his new band, Maragold.
Together with bassist Kevin Vecchione, drummer Gianluca Palmieri and powerhouse vocalist Meghan Krauss, Maragold’s debut album is a refreshing change to the monotony that is the current state of music. Bluesy, tasty and soulful are just some of the adjectives that describe an album that’s reminiscent of summer and demands to be turned up.
I spoke with Howe to discuss the new album, working with a female vocalist and his days playing the Lehigh Valley. Howe also lets me in on the real secret to becoming a successful guitarist.
How did you hook up with Meghan?
Meghan was gigging on the east coast in some cover bands and Kevin had heard of her. He was doing some gigs there as well in the Philly area. He went to check her out one night and thought she was great, so he had her come over to his apartment to do some recording. He sent me a picture of her and at the time, I had never even considered having a female in the group. But after he had sent me the recording that was it.
Check out the rest of my Guitar World interview with Greg Howe by Clicking Here.