Kelly Valleau early on discovered what a pantload the mainstream music world is: he started playing at 15, joined a hard rock ensemble at 17, got ripped off by a club owner at 19, made his own CD at 21, and shortly after entered a Canadian fingerstyle championship on a whim, shocking himself by winning second place among rather daunting competition. Thus wised up, he got damn serious as the CandyRat label recruited him, eschewing the decibels and metal studs crowd, turning to nylon strung guitars, and began to produce some very engaging music. If you go to YouTube, you'll discover a really cool acoustic version of Pink Floyd's Another Brick in the Wall that's edging up to 1 million hits. Yeah, it's that good.
That was on his debut release, this is his second, and he's made the transition from nylon to steel strings in Vol. 2, which of course gives him a somewhat bitier attack and a clearer high end. In a format a bit unusual to a CandyRat gig enshrining guitaristics, he's accompanied by a trio of bass, drums, and percussion, and there's an element of electronics, including lightly used pedals. Where Pink Floyd was Valleau's crib of choice previously, then Queen's We Will Rock You, he here tackles Metallica twice and Beethoven once, the latter in a very cool recitation of the famous Fifth that will make more than a few re-think the ambivalent proposition that classical music is dead (take that!, Eno).
The intro cut, named after the infamous Lovecraft creation Cthulhu, will catch the eye of those in the know (Metallica, Blue Oyster Cult, and, well, me, reading H.P. since I was knee-high to Nyarlethotep), though I doubt many knew the tentacled face-eating blasphemy from beyond space and time was a flamenco dancer (listen to the cut, you'll get the joke). A good deal of this CD is relaxing while absorbing (Blue, etc.), but there are several arresting interludes as well. It goes without saying, of course, that the executions are spotlessly clean and rich despite the stripped down nature of much of the CD, a given in the lion's share of CandyRat product but an environment leaving six strings, ten fingers, and two artful hands in full command.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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