The Ritual Begins at Sundown
The Players Club
Absorbing and Genre Defying Musical Treasure.
Not long before I received this album in for review, I had only just listened to that classic Doors album L.A Woman and what hit me hardest about that one wasn’t Jim Morrison’s “poet as a bluesman” vocal delivery, nor even band leader Ray Manzarek’s classically influenced and well-thought out keyboard passages, but instead, the way Krieger’s guitar lines wrapped around Morrison’s voice, adding emphasis, extending the melody of the vocal; making so strong of a statement at times that the guitar becomes “point” instead of the usual “counter-point.”
I was humming Krieger’s guitar lines for weeks afterwards.
Since the demise of the Doors, Krieger has been busy playing with rock and jazz musicians around the world; as well as picking up a new artistic medium: painting.
He even painted the vibrant and energetic cover art for this album.
He was also recently heard guesting on a song off of the excellent new album Alphabetland by the L.A. band X, one of my favorite albums so far from 2020.
Now, with some help from musicians Arthur Barrow, Tommy Mars, Sal Marquez, and Jock Ellis, we get Krieger’s ninth solo album, his first in ten years.
The Ritual Begins at Sundown, features nine new original songs as well as a fun cover of Frank Zappa’s “Chungas Revenge.”
Punchy horns drive “What Was That” along with a fun and rubbery bass line, and then Krieger’s solo comes out of left field and takes over. At this point it’s Krieger’s show, and he’s well up to the task.
“The Drift” has requisite tight bass and drums, with Krieger’s guitar playing call and response to some fabulously funky horns.
Both “Hot Head” and “Bianca’s Dream” are uptempo jazz stompers, sure to wow the modern jazz aficionados then; In “Yes, the River Knows,” the guitar is practically speaking, wordlessly telling us a story seemingly of time and perseverance, the guitar lines moving through several differing tones and genres as it travels along that river of sound.
My Favorite on this well executed album has to be “Slide Home,” which features seemingly simple, yet slyly difficult and tricky slide guitar passages yet doesn’t resort to showing off.
This is cinematic in the pocket type of playing, letting the melody shine through while playing AROUND that selfsame melody. They don’t teach you this in guitar school.
This is where experience and paying your dues come in.
Rock, Jazz, and Blues are no strangers to one another nowadays and Krieger has crafted here a fine set of instrumentals, along with a magnificent showcase of his own skills; both as a composer as well as a lead guitarist of significant prowess.
If we ever get back to live concerts, the ones for this album are sure to be memorable and a worth the wait.
Review courtesy the Legendary Roy Peak Esq.
Released 14th August 2020