On 2009's Twang Shui, Adam Stern showed just how versatile of a guitarist he is, delving into jazz, country and a whole lot more. And while that album proved that Stern has some serious chops, on its followup, High Country Gentlemen, Stern pulls back a bit, saying that the recording isn't a "guitar" album crammed with hot licks top to bottom. Nonetheless, there's some deft playing throughout the all-instrumental disc. In places, Stern's playing recalls ax-slingers like Larry Carlton and Jeff Beck (on the fusion cuts), and Roy Buchanan and Michael Bloomfield on the appropriately titled homage "Buchanan/Bloomfield." And on the country burner "Locked Up," he fires out some tasty licks that would make Danny Gatton do a double take. Stern's comments notwithstanding, High Country Gentlemen cements his status as one of the scene's most talented guitarists.
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