Andrew Riggs - Calgary, Canada

Andrew Riggs - AxiologyAndrew Riggs - Axiology
by Ben Ohmart and Frank Cotolo

When I first saw the cd cover - tons of guitars - I was a little fearful, thinking that I'd be getting a big taste of hard rock or metal. Not my favorites. But then I plugged in - the best thing to do with a cd. No, nothing really hard here, just a lot of catchy, rock-inspired do it yourself tunes. Andrew's voice is certainly indie in origin, which is why I like it SO much. An individual. Plus, he knows how to play. In fact, he knows how to do everything - because he's done it all. With the aid of a Tascam 38 8-track, Andrew has done it all himself, and the event is one to applaud. His cover sheet tells that he put more than a thousand hours of effort into this project, and you can hear the love among the guitar oriented rock.

'Rising Tide' is just one of many songs that stick in your head. Maybe I pick on this one because it's over 4 minutes, so there's more of a good thing. Then again, the lyrics paint a fun story of 'blind ambition ruled by pride, he keeps a pistol by his side / in this land under the gun, there's many people on the run / leftist guerrillas and car bombs / there is no right out of two wrongs / in the night you live in fear, and one day you'll disappear.' The rest of the album isn't so political, don't worry. It's an album a bit like Jeff Beck, influenced by lots of blues and jazz, and a restrained form of wild guitar that only gets better the more absorbed you become in the style. I'm listening to the instrumental 'Coulda Shoulda Woulda' and I am severely reminded of some of the instrumental, guitar, progressive albums I used to have. So, please! Download an mp3 or 2 for yourself, and decide to order the album made straight from sweat and hot picks.
Andrew Riggs - Calgary, Canada

'Around About Midnight'/'Opportunity'

Every once in a while you hear some player, some songwriter, some singer and you can't get it the first time around. But something makes you listen again and the second time you realize there was too much going on the first time to ingest it all.

Listen to Andrew Riggs once and you might not like him. Listen twice and you realize this guy is for real and you have to like him, his material and how he addresses it all.

Here is an accomplished guitar player who has decided to toss away the sheet music and let himself loose in a raw and rusty musical theater. At first the voice makes you uneasy. Then it starts to make sense and that is very much the way originality hits anyone. First a turn of the head and a 'What?' then acceptance and enjoyment.

'Around About Midnight' is a live-sounding song that seems to be being written on the spot, too. That's jazz-improv talent.

'Opportunity,' however, is a well-crafted piece of jazz in motion, experimental, active and proof that Riggs is an A-1 guitar player with no boundaries. And hey, he is singing some very good lyrics. Imagery abounds clearly and crisply and holy shit can this guy play! He is a player's dream and a player's nightmare all in one.

Grab a beer or a scotch, make the room candle-lighted, put your feet up, drink, smoke, whatever and just listen. If it doesn't take you somewhere, you are nowhere, man.