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An unsung guitar hero from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he grew up just a few miles from the Waukesha birthplace of the late, great guitarist-inventor Les Paul, Greg Koch has established himself within six-string circles as a masterful technician, accomplished clinician (for Fender) and general bad-ass guit-picker. No less than guitar virtuoso Steve Vai noted Koch’s six-string prowess and promptly signed signed him to his Favored Nations label in 2001. Tom Wheeler from Guitar Player magazine hailed him as “fiendishly talented” while other critics have called him everything from “a twisted guitar genius” to “the best kept secret in the guitar firmament.”
On From The Attic, his 12th release overall as a leader and third for Germany’s ZYX/Peppercake label, the veteran guitar virtuoso joins bassist Tom Good and drummer Del Bennett for an eclectic, hard-hitting program full of incendiary licks and audacious fretboard tricks. Recorded remarkably quickly (“We did the ten tracks in roughly 11 hours,” Koch explains) in the attic of guitarist-engineer Chris Hanson’s Victorian home on Milwaukee’s East Side, these rockin’, bluesy originals are imbued with Koch’s trademark searing licks and typically clever lyrics. From the blistering, Magic Sam-inspired boogie “Leg Up Foot Out” to the urgent blues inflected “Nova Scotia Cold,” from the elegant fingerstyle instrumental ballad “Sleep Tight” to the wild chicken-picking romp “Picked On,” Koch and his crew wail with uncanny tightness and authority. “Trouble” is a growling funk-blues number written about Koch’s first encounter with his wife-to-be (“Her middle name was trouble, her last name is mine”) while “Agree To Disagree” addresses the guitarist’s ongoing conflict with the staunch point’s of view of loved ones. “Here We Go Again” is a rich, r&b flavored ballad featuring some lyrical, legato guitar work by Koch and the aggressively funky “Happy Versus Right” recalls classic Red Hot Chili Peppers slamming down a thick groove. Koch flaunts some wicked wahwah-inflected slide guitar licks on the mellow “Twice the Man” and they close out the collection with the anthemic, classic rock jam “You’ll Rock and Like It,” which sounds like an encounter between Jeff Beck and AC/DC.”
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