Gretchen Menn: Hale Souls

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    Gretchen Menn steps out on her own with her first solo album, and what an album it is! If you’re looking for traces of the AC/DShe and Zepparella covers she’s played in the past, forget it. If you’re looking for edgy, compelling, freshly minted instrumentals that take a musical journey like albums of old, you’ll find much to admire here. A gifted soloist with a style all her own, Gretchen possesses wonderful technique – the Beckian volume swells of “Déjà Vu,” the classically influenced, Buckethead-worthy lines of “Is It Not Strange,” and the Django-influenced, all-acoustic “Fast Crown” provide stellar examples. With Stu Hamm on bass and John Mader on drums, the ensemble arrangements “Captured Barricade” and “Struck Sleepless” will delight fans of Dixie Dregs-style fusion. And like Dregs leader Steve Morse, Gretchen’s strongest suit, for sure, is her compositional ability. Nowhere is this better demonstrated than on “Walking Shadow,” the only track on which she does not play. This haunting, soundtrack-worthy composition for solo violin was expertly performed by Emily Palen using Menn’s notated score. Major skills, folks. I, for one, can hardly wait for the next album. Co-produced by Gretchen Menn and Jude Gold for Mach Zero Music, Hale Souls is available from Before you go, check out the video for “Oleo Strut,” from the album.

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      One comment on “Gretchen Menn: Hale Souls

      1. Peter Short on said:

        Awesome observations,Jas…I’ve been a friend of Steve Morse,since watching The Dixie Dregs burn down Hollywood’s Roxy Theatre in Oct of 1980…Steve was the best I’d seen(still is…Altho’ Beck and Eric Johnson give him serious run for his money…),since watching THE Man,Jimi,at Woodstock in ’69…As a stunned 16 yr old from rural Vermont…Gretchen is not at their level,yet,but WELL on her way…The Morse influence is instantly obvious in her electric tracks,but her classical stuff on Hale Souls is,as you pointed out,especially impressive…Particularly to me,a classical music fan..I am a poet and since she gave me a copy of Hale Souls,at a live show of her solo act’s band,on Nov 18th, Gretchen’s music is so inspirational,I’ve written “lyrics” to 6 of the 10 tracks….Cheers

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