Award winning commercial artist Bryon Thompson has released his second instrumental guitar CD Set Your Sights which continues the imaginative journey he began on his first album. The playing on this disc is superb, often with a unique finger-pick style and the production is dead-on! Each of the ten tracks listens like a vignette, effortlessly evoking imagery or stories from the listener. This may be in large part due to Thompson's vocation, but the effect is just all the more powerful because of this. While there is a good deal of technical skill going on in these tracks, this is not a "rippin' up the fretboard, raised on metal" guitar album. Instead, Bryon has created attractive melodies and woven them into intelligent, listenable compositions which are always interesting and engaging without being intrusive. In other words, this is a great album to listen to while at work.
The images these tracks conjure up in my mind are as varied as the music. For instance, "Step On It" is a stroll down a dirt country road in the springtime, just five-year-old me and grandpa. "Set Your Sights" is a perfect accompaniment to watching pure white clouds drift by on a blue summer day and "Loopy" is easily the antics of two squirrels chasing each other around an ancient maple tree. Due to my preference for rock-based music, "All Worked Up" was an early favorite. There's just a bit of distortion on the lead guitar that plays an edgy melody before being interrupted by a shimmering, calming, near-synth bridge which was probably played on the guitar. It is amazing the number of timbres Thompson is able to create on his instrument. "Drive Time" has a steel pedal guitar, "Overnighter" has a hammered dulcimer, and "Down in the Gorge" has a banjo. Or rather Thompson has been able to create these sounds using his guitar and a little ingenuity. Regardless of the technical aspects, the compositions on this CD are well-crafted, inventive, and perfectly appealing to guitarists and lovers of quality music alike. For more information, check out www.bthompson.net.
This review first appeared in WhatzUp, August 2001.