Album Review : Keith LuBrant
Updated: Jun 4
Artist: Keith LuBrant
Album: Sometimes There Are No Words
Keith LuBrant is not a household name in the guitar community, although he should be. This latest effort "Sometimes There Are No Words" from the virtuoso is an impressive display of composition and chops.
I find his style to be reminiscent of Paul Gilbert and the classic Steve Vai album "Passion and Warfare." His compositions are filled with unexpected twists and turns that continually engage the listener. Unlike many of his Instrumental peers, he seems to be able to lay very comfortably into a bluesy pass, not being afraid to play what simply works and waiting for the right moment to explode with a wall of notes.
The musicianship and production is top shelf on every level. When producing 100% instrumental tracks there are so many details that need to be addressed to prevent the whole record from sounding like a self indulgent lecture. Tone, chops, tempo, songwriting, taste, speed, and restraint, to name a few. So few musicians in the genre are able to do so. Keith LuBrant covers every one of them with grace and confidence.
One of the tracks that jumped right off the proverbial tape to me was "The Right Track." With layered guitars and a fantastic arrangement it becomes the perfect platform to hear what an exceptional player can do with six strings and a piece of wood.
The very next track on the record "Swagger Street" is another stand out. A mid tempo simmer that displays the fact that so much can be said with some bluesy guitar playing countered by a vicious display of guitar virtuosity. In the solo section of this track at about the three minute mark Keith steps on a wah pedal and shows us what separates the men from the boys. The next 30 seconds is walking a tight rope that feels like the whole thing is about to fall apart at any second, but doesn't. The kind of playing that makes musicians contort their face with fear and pleasure!
The final cut on the album "Isolation" is my personal favorite track. It is a ballad that contains everything that separates Keith from the sea of great shredders. Taste, taste and taste. The melody is beautiful and executed perfectly. So many players have tremendous physical ability, as does Keith, but he has music in him. The kind of music that resonates below the surface of obvious virtuosity, proving the listener doesn't need to be a guitarist to understand what he is saying with his instrument.
I highly recommend this album if you are a fan of the Instrumental Guitar genre. It is truly a great set of songs from an exceptional musician.
Check out this interview as well!
Who are your musical influences?
There are a bunch. I grew up in the day of the “guitar shredder”, but I always appreciated guitarists who put a priority on a melody. Guitarists such as Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Richie Kotzen, Greg Howe, Nuno Bettencourt and Paul Gilbert always could balance monster technique and great melodies. That is one thing that I really tried to bring home on this guitar album. I wanted both the guitarists and the non-guitarists to enjoy the music.
What album has had the greatest impact on your life as a musician?
That’s a real tough one! I know Steve Vai – Passion and Warfare would be in there. The tones and soundscapes that he created on that album were incredible. To this day, I think “For the Love of God” is my favorite piece of guitar playing.
What song do you remember most from your childhood?
I just remember all the great guitarists and solos. I grew up in the “hair band” age of music, so there were a lot of great talented guitarists that could showcase their talents in a song. It’s a shame the music became cookie-cutter at the end, but music is always changing. I also enjoyed a lot of the grunge era bands like Alice In Chains, that came in after. Queensryche – Operation Mindcrime was and still is a tremendous album from start to finish. I am not a drummer, but that snare sound…..oh that snare sound. I do remember that album. But I DO remember the urge to play air guitar each and every time I heard the guitar solo from “Lay It Down” from Ratt! Warren DeMartini was a big influence on me.
What’s your favorite accomplishment as a musician thus far?
Having the ability to still create music and have fun with it. I have put out a guitar instrumental album (Sometimes There Are No Words), three vocal albums (Who I Am, Searching for Signal and Face in the Crowd), and another album with a band called Clockwork (the album is called Legacy). Music in over 1,100 television shows, movies, tv commercials, etc.. and I am still having fun! But I guess to answer your question, it was pretty cool hearing my music in television shows and movies, but I am super proud of this guitar album, Sometimes There Are No Words. The way everything came together so fast. It really was a great experience. A lot of times there are things on albums we artists put out that we would like to change, but I extremely satisfied with how this album turned out.
What's new in the recording of your music? How has your music changed over the years?
The older I get, I am not as much concerned with “what” to put out, or how will people react to it. I just want to record projects that are interesting to me. For example, the guitar instrumental album that I recorded was always on my bucket list, but I was more known for vocal albums. I finally just said, forget about what I “should” do and just have fun. We start learning an instrument and have so much fun unlocking all these new techniques….why stop having fun? If you want to put out a guitar album, go ahead!
What inspires you to write the music you write? What made you want to play the instrument you play?
What inspires me IS the guitar. One can never say that he or she mastered it. There is always something to learn. Usually, by learning something new, a new song or technique might come from that.
If you could play anywhere or with anyone in the world, where or with who would it be?
I’ll be sneaky and say that I would love to play on the G3 stage, so I can play with multiple guitarists. Who wouldn’t?
If you could change anything about the music industry today, what would it be?
Personally, I think it’s great having the ability to grab some recording gear and put out an album, but now that everybody can do it, there is just so much that one can have access to. I found myself losing track of bands that I have liked throughout the years and have put new material out. Also, I enjoyed listening to an entire album and really diving into the albums. Since we are now in a playlist/singles era, listeners usually listen to a song, maybe the album and then in a week, they are on to the next. Sometimes the bands get lost in the shuffle. So when you used to go out and buy that album/tape/cd, it was an investment and you made sure you got your money's worth!
What are your biggest obstacles as a musician?
I am always challenging myself with new guitar techniques. Right now, I am currently in a jazz blues “bender” and really enjoying playing over changes. It really has me refocused and feeling like that middle schooler that picked up a guitar for the first time.
What do you think about online music sharing? Do you ever give your music away for free? Why?
To be honest, it basically is free. All of my music is available on all the streaming sites. Now are artists getting a fair royalty percentage? I would say definitely not.
What is the best way to stay updated on current news; gigs, releases, etc
My website at www.keithlubrantmusic.com has all the info and links on there.