Sometimes when a recording artist stretches out past the genre they are known for, it can be a stretch too far as the result may feel unnatural and forced. That is definitely not the case with Jeremy Edge, former guitarist with the hard rock band Candlelight Red. His new self-titled release is The Jeremy Edge Project, and he has enlisted fellow hard rockers Brandon Yeagley (Crobot) and Brett Hestla (Dark New Day) on vocals, along with bassist John Delowery, drummer Dave Shaffer and keyboardist Jeremy Baum.
In the release notes Edge says “I have for years wanted to do something that puts me back in touch with my early influences: SRV, Hendrix, Billy Gibbons, Blackmore, Iommi, Page, etc. I wanted this to be a melting pot so there is some classic rock, blues, classic metal and alternative.”
The opening track on the album, Firedancer Intro is a guitar explosion that could easily be mistaken for a long-buried Hendrix or Stevie Ray Vaughn track that was recently discovered. This leads into Firedancer, a straight-head hard rocker that would be most familiar to fans of Candlelight Red, Crobot and Dark New Day.
Just as one is feeling familiar with the hard rock theme, the next three songs branch off in very different directions. Hot Lava features a groovy guitar/bass riff and rhythm guitar shuffle pattern. Sing My Blues is an uplifting ballad about a relationship where one’s partner has the gift to “sing my blues away.” Breath is an instrumental that shows Edge’s versatility on the guitar, with Indian and Middle Eastern sounding scales that sound exotic to listeners more familiar with the common rock pentatonic scales. That is followed by Holding In, another more conventional rocker with massive power chords.
Lies is the first single off the album, and it’s easily the showstopper for many reasons. First, Yeagley’s vocals are soaring and passionate. Second is the presence of blues guitar player Josh Smith, who’s style of playing and guitar tone are a nice contrast from Edge’s. Third is Edge’s massive wah-wah guitar solo at the tail end of the song. Lies is one of those rare songs that immediately grabs the listener and makes them want to replay the track over and over. It will surely be an attention-getter to those who follow blues/rock guitarists such as Joe Bonamassa and Walter Trout.
After two more hard rock songs, Indifferent and Outlive Yesterday, the last song on the record tosses another curveball to the listener. Sunrise is a very Allman Brothers sounding song with a major-key voicing and guitar solo.
For anyone wanting to expand their musical horizons beyond hard rock and metal, The Jeremy Edge Project would be a good starter kit.