Thursday, October 16, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Bridge of Sighs, by Robin Trower

Many people state that the 80's was the decade for many flashy, skilled, and creative guitarists to make their way onto the music scene, but this isn't entirely the case. The 70's also had many such guitarists who in many ways did more than just shred and try to copy off of Eddie Van Halen. One such guitarist who fits this description who sadly is not always remembered by the general masses is Robin Trower. Trower made a name for himself in a prog-rock band named Procal Harem, but then left to start his own solo career in the early 70's.

In April of 1974, Trower put out his most notable work: Bridge of Sighs. This album boasting much of his Jimi Hendrix influence produced many songs that are still played in his concerts and highly regarded by all of his fans to this day. What makes Bridge of Sighs so remarkable is not just upbeat numbers that showcase the kinds of fireworks on the fretboard that Trower can produce, but rather it is the slower more laid back tunes that create musical and emotional atmosphere. The kinds of sounds Trower creates are so utterly unique and in a way almost tangible.

Every time I listen to the title track Bridge of Sighs all of the hairs on my arms and the back of my neck stand up. It is one of the slower songs on the album, but I feel it is one of the crown jewels. I absolutely LOVE the blend of effects he has concocted. It feels so thick. However not only does Trower's guitar work convey powerful emotion, but singer/bassist James DeWar's rich soulful voice absolutely gives the song the emotional punch it needs. It makes you feel the sadness they want you to feel. This song is one of the few songs where it is not particularly catchy, but I find myself playing it over and over again whenever I have the album on.

Now if more cheerful and upbeat songs are more your bag, Trower has you covered with the song Too Rolling Stoned. This song has a VERY Hendrix infused funk vibe. However, Trower makes sure you know it's him with his own flourishes and musical nuances. Trower does tend to use a bit more of a crunch to his sound than Hendrix did in this song in particular. All that being said however, it's hard not to get moving to this tune when it comes on. One of the more curious aspects of the song though is that it has a bridge section where things actually slow down and sound more straight bluesy rather than funky; though it is still very easy to groove and dance to.

If you want a unique musical experience, Bridge of Sighs is right up your alley. It's one of those few albums where there are NO filler tracks. You become legitimately curious as to what will come on the following track because of how intriguing each song is. The slower songs are actually very conducive to falling asleep if you put them on with headphones at night. I've spent a few nights with Bridge of Sighs playing on my computer and had to stop myself from passing out with my face in my keyboard. That would be an awkward way to wake up, wouldn't it?

Bridge of Sighs, by Robin Trower receives 4 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Day of the Eagle
2. Bridge of Sighs
3. In This Place
4. The Fool and Me
5. Too Rolling Stoned
6. About to Begin
7. Lady Love
8. A Little Bit of Sympathy

Buy the album on Amazon:

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