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Michael Thompson: Love And Beyond
Michael Thompson Band - Love And Beyond Music Review

Michael Thompson: Love And Beyond

AOR Melodic Rock
4.0/5.0

Guitarist and songwriter Michael Thompson is one of those musicians that flies under the radar, more often heard than seen. But you do know him, mostly by the outrageous amount of outstanding musical artists he has worked with over the years as a songwriter and session musician. To drop some names: Cher, Shania Twain, Celine Dion, Neil Diamond, Phil Collins, Christina Aguilera. Did I mention he has his share of film and television contributions? The man has some, nay, much talent. And, every so often, he comes out of the woodwork to drop his own music via his Michael Thompson Band (MTB). Thompson and friends return with his latest solo album, Love And Beyond.

Michael Thompson Band Photo - Click For Larger Image

Michael Thompson Band

With this album, you can expect two things typical of MTB: AOR melodic rock tunes with a Westcoast groove and Thompson's always creative and inspired guitar work. Yet Love And Beyond comes with something of a twist. The long player has 18 tracks, but only 11 are actually vocal songs. The album is bookended by Thompson guitar instrumentals, then interspersed with five more instrumental guitar interludes.

This construction had an interesting effect on my listening experience. On one hand the guitar segues distracted from the vocal songs, like an interruption to the musical flow. Conversely, on the other hand, I found myself waiting and wondering what that next interlude would be like, because they were each terrific. But, as many faithful readers know, I'm a sucker for lead guitar work. Thompson doesn't disappoint.

You'll find his guitar lines and leads equally thrilling within such songs Passengers, Love Was Never Blind, Flying Without Wings, and Stardust. Essentially, and quite honestly, that's what I found myself listening for, his guitar work, instead of the engaging a song by itself. That's not to say that the vocal songs weren't rich with melody, harmony, groove, and catchy AOR accessibility but they seemed, well, kind of ordinary. I probably need a third refocused listen to the album. Nevertheless, as alluded to before, there's no disputing Michael Thompson's abundant skill as a songwriter and guitarist, and Love And Beyond is once again another fine and entertaining expression of both. Recommended.


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The Bottom Line

There's no disputing Michael Thompson's abundant skill as a songwriter and guitarist, and Love And Beyond is once again another fine and entertaining expression of both. Recommended.

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