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MY CHRISTMAS GUITAR,
Province Review, Vancouver,
December 1st, 2014 - by Tom Harrison


CD OF THE WEEK:... Too often, something is described as a labour of love, but once in a while comes something that truly is. The albums by Jeff Wyatt are a case in point and his third, My Christmas Guitar, drips in love. The eight songs are mostly instrumental interpretations of Christmas standards, but what makes them different is that Wyatt gives them a bluesy edge — some slide here, bent strings there — and fills them out with some subtle arrangements. When he does sing, there is a vulnerability in his voice that communicates honesty — and indeed this is a labour of love.

© Copyright (c) The Province
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MY CHRISTMAS GUITAR,
Rootstime Review, Belgium,
December 3rd, 2014 - by Eric Schuurmans


English translation:

Since 1967, the Canadian and native of Saskatchewan, Jeff Wyatt (guitarist and singer-songwriter), has been influenced by many musical styles, but it is especially the blues and blues/rock, that he has always leaned toward. Of the several instruments he plays, it is his love for the guitar in all its styles that has always been his focal instrument.

In the 70’s Wyatt was a member of the popular band "Eden". Since the 90’s Wyatt has been a fixture in the West Coast music scene as a musician and songwriter. Wyatt’s first solo album dates back to 1990 with "Flight of the Hawk". In 1994, followed "The Bullfrog Session", a solo EP of acoustic songs with only vocals and guitar. In 2005, Wyatt worked with songwriter Barry Greenfield as "Greenfield Wyatt”. Together they released, in the autumn of the same year, the album "Songs From The Rothstein". Wyatt brought in 2011 his fourth solo album "People Do Blues" which even has a review on our site. Wyatt also currently performs as a member of the "Wyatt Berne & Howell" blues trio.

"My Christmas Guitar" by Jeff Wyatt is not his first Christmas release. In his discography we find already in 2013 the single "Oh Holy Night", an earlier instrumental reworking of this holiday classic by Adolphe Adam in 1847 [to a poem by the French poet Placide Cappeau (1808-1877), "Minuit, Chretien" / Ed.]. On the new compilation album "My Christmas Guitar" we find contemporary approaches to Wyatt's favorite Christmas songs with the guitar in several styles (electric, acoustic, slide and fingerpicking) and always as the lead instrument.

The album opens with the classic "Go Tell It On The Mountain", an old gospel/spiritual song, which was composed by John Wesley Work Jr. Wyatt's version is an instrumental electric blues slide guitar approach, with upright bass and drums. At the end of the album we hear the song again, but with vocal. Track 2 "What Child Is This" and track 8 "Auld Lang Syne" are more of a classical/traditional approach with acoustic fingerpicking. ["Auld Lang Syne" is a poem and song of the Scottish poet Robert Burns. The title can be translated as "long ago" or "days gone”. In Dutch it has become known as "I tell you goodbye my friend." / Ed.]. Track 4 "Christmas Guitar Medley" including "Jingle Bells" is played in an acoustic ragtime blues fingerpicking style, a la Big Bill Broozy. In track 7 "Silent Night" we hear again an electric slide guitar. What happens if you have an electric blues guitar with open tuning combined with a classic piano ?: Answer: Track 6 "Oh Christmas Tree"; in which we also recognize the guitar style reminiscent of Ry Cooder. By contrast, tracks 3 "The First Noel" and 5 "Oh Holy Night" are very bluesy and very unique due to Wyatt's performance on a Fender Stratocaster.

The idea for Jeff Wyatt's new Christmas album originated three years ago, after he arranged some Christmas songs for a Childrens’ Christmas Concert at the school of his wife Janice. These arrangements he performed as a "filler" durning transitions and wait times. Since the arrangements of the songs were stuck in his head, he recorded the guitar parts and later, between other projects, "supplemented", adding additional instrumentation. The album was finally completed in October 2014. Wyatt dedicated this album to his parents John and Marianne Wyatt, who in 1958 ordered a (plastic) guitar from a Christmas Catalogue (for $ 5.00). Jeff was three years old at the time.

What happened fifty years ago in the life of Jeff Wyatt is now archived as the Christmas album "My Christmas Guitar". He presents variations on some beautiful Christmas songs in a personal way, for everyone to enjoyable in a bluesy way.

- Eric Schuurmans

Album tracks:
1”Go Tell It On the Mountain” (Instrumental) [John Wesley Work Jr] – 2” What Child Is This” [William Chatterton Dix] – 3”The First Noel” [Traditional Adaptation] – 4”Christmas Guitar Medley” [Traditional Adaptation/Compilation] – 5”Oh Holy Night” [Adolphe Adam] – 6”Oh Christmas Tree” [August Zarnack, Ernst Gebhard Anschutz] – 7”Silent Night" [Franz Gruber, Joseph Mohr] – 8”Auld Lang Syne” [Robert Burns] – 9”Go Tell It On the Mountain” [John Wesley Work Jr] - – Produced by Jeff Wyatt

Line-up:
Jeff Wyatt: vocals, guitars & ?

Discography:
1990 : “Flight Of The Hawk”
1994 : “The Bullfrog Sessions” – EP
2005 : “Greenfield & Wyatt”
2008 : “Reflections At Every Corner”
2011 : “People Do Blues”
2011 : “Max & the Squirrel” - single
2011 : “Mind The Time” - single
2013 : “Oh Holy Night” - single
2014 : “Wanted” – soundtrack to Mike Reilly’s “Tumbleweed”
2014 : “Heaven Knows” - single
2014 : ”My Christmas
Guitar

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WYATT BARES HIS FEELINGS,
Province Review, Vancouver,
September 10th, 2011 - by Tom Harrison


By day, the Heritage Grill is just another restaurant on New Westminster's Columbia Street, 447 Columbia to be exact. It has a small patio, serves coffee and alcohol, the menu features pasta, burgers and salads. Appetizers range from wings to the less predictable apple and crab cakes with avocado salsa and such, plus the wait staff is friendly. So, it doesn't seem more unusual than any such restaurant. By night, though, it comes alive with music in its backroom.

It's not big, but I imagine it's big enough that an act can build a following, or small enough that an intimate rapport can be developed.

The monthly roster is diverse, too, being a mix of Celtic, folk, singer-writers, blues, jazz and country. The roster varies from night to night, from Marq De Souza (Sept. 20), a commendable pop-rocker (though I haven't heard his last album) to the country-rock of the Pernell Reichert Band (Saturday) to Jeff Wyatt.

Wyatt leads a blues trio, sometimes billed as Wyatt, Berne and Howell, and has appeared at the Heritage several times. His latest album, People Do Blues, which must be a year old by now, is a little swampier and dirtier than expected. My first hearing of him was as a guitarist briefly accompanying Barry Green-field and he was more lyrical. His blues album is both lowdown and sentimental. The lowdown riffs are gritty but the occasional drift into sentiment might produce some cringing. At least, Wyatt is being honest and upfront. There's no guile here. These are real emotions and he has to be admired for expressing them.

His trio is at Heritage Grill on Tuesday.


© Copyright (c) The Province
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PEOPLE DO BLUES was reviewed by Vancouver's veteran music journalist Tom Harrison.
Tom can easily be referred to as 'The Voice of Independent West Coast Music'.


PEOPLE DO BLUES,
Province Review, Vancouver,
April 10th, 2011 - by Tom Harrison


Though Wyatt has taken three years to produce this album, blues has been around a lot longer and has created traditions and modes of expression this record only begins to explore. Wyatt sings and plays with charm and those who favour a flavourful approach to swampy and slide guitar driven blues-rock to flashy but sterile blues (the curse of most contemporary blues) will like this record. The two minor reservations that prevent the album from being a killer is that, one, most of the 14 tracks come in at five minutes each. He could have tightened up the arrangements, done some editing or dropped a few tracks. The other is that Wyatt can be sentimental  ("That's My Mom") or trite ("Tequila On My Shoes"). However, the honesty is part of the album's appeal  and if you've spent three years on an album, you grow attached to the tracks as they are.

© Copyright (c) The Province
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PEOPLE DO BLUES was reviewed by veteran music journalist Ron Bervoets at the Belgium site
ROOTSTIME.
Ron has had the pleasure of interviewing blues legends who include
Jim Suhler, Warren Haynes, Johnny Winter and John Mayall). ROOTSTIME is a non-profit internet music magazine and internet radio station.

PEOPLE DO BLUES,
Rootstime Review, Belgium,
March 2011 - by Ron Bervoets


English translation:

Jeff Wyatt a guitarist and singer from the Canadian west coast has been in the music business for 40 years, at first during the 70’s with a band named Eden. In the nineties his first solo cd, "Flight of the Hawk" and 4 years later "The Bullfrog Session" (which can downloaded for free from his site). After that Jeff went quiet on the musical front. In 2004 he met the songwriter, Barry Greenfield, and they became the Greenfield Wyatt duo and recorded "Songs from the Rothstein".

It was in 2008 that I got to know Jeff Wyatt. I got his 3rd solo cd that was titled: "Reflections at every Corner". His cd is highly recommended here at Rootstime and today his latest cd: "People do Blues" gets played a lot on our cd player. The predecessor was a cd that stood out for it's variety of styles, with influences from Jeff Beck and even Celtic sounding songs, but this time Jeff has resolutely opted for the blues and nothing but the blues...in all facets, with emphasis on the slide guitar. His main influencess here are Ry Cooder, David Lindley, Sonny Landreth and Mark Knopfler and this is very clear on this cd. His recordings are done in a basement studio aptly named "Concrete Studios".

What strikes you from the first time you listen is the crafty, prominent sounding deep slide sounds in all the songs. A sound in the opening song "People do Blues" which resembles Mark Knopfler's "Money for Nothing" and a beautiful instrumental sound midway in the cd "Bodhi Surfing" is a similar approach. It is obviously inspired by Mark Knopfler. In the next track, the beautiful "I just got the News" he sounds like a mix between Sonny Landreth and Ry Cooder and he mimics the sound of these 2 top guitar players effortlessly.

In Acoustic Delta Blues we can hear his tribute to Robert Lee Burnside simply called "RL Burnside Blues". TO QUOTE RL'S OWN WORDS: "Well, well, well". But it gets better because "Chasing my Tail" surpasses everything prior effortlessly. Intense deep-sounding slide sounds, topped with Jeff's deep, warm voice. I know I am repeating myself but again Ry Cooder's influence is heard and even more in the next track "Longing by the River" a beautiful gospel song full of beautiful deep slide sounds. On the lyrical side you are struck by Jeff’s "tongue in cheek" humor that brings a regular smile to your face as you listen to his beautiful slide guitar. The song "Tequila on my shoes" is good example of this.

Of course we are not going to analyze all 14 songs on "People do Blues" here bit by bit as it will take too long. I am going to leave it up to you to discover this Joy for yourself. But we can say that Jeff keeps up this momentum in the rest of the songs and we can definitely recommend "Over the Line" where the slide sounds come to play. After yet another evening of listening to this cd we come to the conclusion: Some people do blues... some really good!

(Ron)


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PEOPLE DO BLUES,
Bealstreet Review, Belgium,
April 2011 - by Francois Braeken (aka SWA)


Below is an English translation:

People Do Blues ...... and those people are always welcome in Belgium Beale Street. Jeff Wyatt has been around for nearly a half century in the Canadian music scene but in our country is still a noble stranger/unknown. Hopefully this will change with the album "People Do Blues' because not only was Norbert Theodore Wyatt, just as the undersigned, born in 1955 - please note, the year rock & roll was born - but it is a great showcase for Blues Comes in many styles and with many faces. "People do Blues" has fourteen self-written (original) songs which are all at home in the wide range of country blues, Southern rock blues, New Orleans blues and Chicago blues. People do blues ...... the title track and the instrumentals "Bodhi Surfing," "Butt Burger Boogie" might bring to mind Mark Knopfler and together with Brendan Croker introduce a new lease of life to The Notting Hillbillies and maybe provide for guitar / virtuoso Jeff Wyatt a place to provide a guest / support act ..... 



That the man (guitar / slide) knows what he is doing is underlined with bravado on "I Just Got the News", "Chasing My Tail" with its beautiful country blues ode to "Mississippi" RL Burnside and "That's My Mom" ​​(dedicated to his mother on her 80th birthday). People who swear by Sonny Landreth, Ry Cooder & David Lindley will probably change tacks on ( or: change their loyalties to..) Wyatt's "Swamp Rat Blues", "Give me one more drink, Over The Line" and "Tequila On My Shoes". "Sing & Play Some Blues" à Jeff Wyatt - supplemented by some "Whistle in the Dark" - and the world suddenly looks much nicer. (SWA)

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REFLECTIONS AT EVERY CORNER,
Province Review, Vancouver,
March 18th, 2008 - by Tom Harrison


“His guitar playing is attractive and soulful,... his singing... is not unlike Waylon Jennings..."
"His lyrics, too, have an honesty and sincerity that is appealing..."
"A song such as 'CORAE CORAE' makes you wonder how good an album he'd make if he concentrated on blues-rock."

© Copyright (c) The Province
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GENERAL MUSIC REVIEW,
MicControl Review, New York,
February 23th, 2009 - by Jon Ostrow


“When I first listened to Jeff, his music really surprised me. The first track I listened to was Part-Time Love, Full-Time Pain, and I was floored at his ability to mix blues guitar, jazz bass, furious techno-esk drums (a la David Bowie's Earthling), and a strong vocal ability that is reminiscent of Johnny Cash. His music is catchy, but more so than that, it is powerful, with the ability to keep the sound fresh from track to track without ever loosing sight of the true musical nature of his art.”

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REFLECTIONS AT EVERY CORNER,
MicControl Review, New York,
March 11th, 2009 - by Jon Ostrow



"Jeff Wyatt’s album Reflections at Every Corner achieves what a good album should. It showcases the well rounded talents of a musician, an artist and a personality. The first track on the album Life At Every Station foreshadows what is to come on the album through a pink floyd type of track where each song appears to be a different station of the radio. But that is about the extent to which Jeff uses production over music. From the next track on, the entire album is all about the music and the vocals. However, that is not to overlook the wonderful production values of the entire album. Every track has been recorded with a crisp quality (usually associated with jazz music) that enables the listener to hear the ins and outs and ups and downs of every instrument.

The songwriting here is quite good. Each song has a very strong melody and a well written hook. It is clear that Jeff took the time to meticulously write each chord change in order to create some contrasting sounds; that is what a melody needs to be interesting.

As a musician, more specifically a guitarist, Jeff is very talented. His abilities range from blues to jazz to country and here and there he plays some latin style licks. Each track on the album shows his abilities being applied in a different way, which is what makes the album so solid. It is very evident that this album was a true artistic outlet for Jeff, which shows in every powerful solo, melody and chord change written throughout.

Although I found it hard to dislike a single track on the album, I did find that certain tracks had more of a creative spark than others. Tracks such as Take It From Me, Saving Grace, Albania and In Her Own Time all have a driving energy that hits harder than anything else on the album, but it’s Wyatt’s piece Kerala Sunset that is the highlight of the album. Although it is fairly simple piece in terms of the entire band, the guitar playing in Kerala Sunset is high and above anything else I have heard from Jeff. Every pull of the string, hammer on and bluesy slide allowed Jeff to show off his personality and emotionality. There are also times on the album where the varying instruments create a renewed feeling from the rest, such as Thank You For Loving Me where the main focus is the piano and his voice. The form of the song is beautiful, sweeping in and out of a verse/chorus style of song with sections written in that allow Jeff to showcase his abilities on the guitar.

This album also showcases the vocal abilities of Jeff Wyatt. This is not the first time I have mentioned this, but Jeff’s abilities to mix jazz, and blues along with a Johnny Cash-esk style of vocals is uncanny. This album shows Jeff in top form singing deeply yet very smoothly; always keeping up with the intensity of the music itself. There are times when he overdubs his own vocals to create beautiful harmonies, but for the most part Jeff relies solely on the very interesting melodies that he has created.

At times, Reflections At Every Corner may seem like a blues album; at times it may seem like a jazz album. But there is no question that the originality and musicianship throughout the entire album will shine bright onto anyone who will listen to this album."

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REFLECTIONS AT EVERY CORNER,
Rootstime Review, Belgium
August 2008 - by Ron Bervoets


English translation:

"Although Reflections at Every Corner is a cd with a diversity that might be considered detrimental, it is interesting. In as much as the style of Jeff Beck is difficult to put a label on, this album ranges from jazz rock tinted guitar numbers, pure blues rock over calm laid back ballads and country tinted songs, all the way to folk and world music. Moreover, Jeff did most everything himself with his own portable studio. A mishmash one might think, on the contrary, this album presents itself as a small story incorporating all these musical styles. The cd begins, for instance quite original. You hear Jeff seat himself, turn on a cheap transistor radio and pass the dial through all sorts of radio stations. Suddenly the sound quality improves, presenting Take it From Me, a Celtic seeming song with mandolin. Into this he also brings a country as well as a folky atmosphere, along with a voice that is reminiscent of Waylon Jennings. Seamlessly, this song blends into a long guitar number Kerala Sunset; a beautiful, dreamy instrumental which introduces itself with the sounds of ocean waves and seagulls. This atmosphere perfectly reproduces that of a sunset on an Indian beach, where you hear the clear influences of Jeff Beck; a man who Jeff Wyatt admits to be an admirer of. Jeff is mainly a guitarist, but he also plays bass guitar, piano and other instruments. In Part-time Love, Full-time Pain he plays a virtuoso bass which is a reminder of another one of his heroes, Jaco Pastorius, who passed away from us much too early. Saving Grace is an Indian style instrumental with tabla and acoustic guitar, bringing folk and world music together. The dark, distinct sounding song Albania is delivered with the vocal help of singer songwriter Camille Miller. This follows with the slow, classical sounding piano ballads If She Could Know and Thank You For Loving Me Again which features a beautiful intense guitar solo, with Jeff delivering all he has. Once again we change the pace with something very different; In Her Own Time, dedicated to a deceased friend, Kasandra. Beginning with a recording of loose shreds of a conversation with her, this song features searing slide guitar. The traditional Shenandoah is a beautiful distinct adaptation, following which we get Corae Corae near the cd’s end, sounding much like a blues rock version of the traditional folksong 'Corinna, Corinna'. The eleven-minute title track is a kind of symphonic epic, which brings us to the album’s conclusion. This is indeed a mixed plate. But for the superior beautiful guitar contribution, alone, this cd is worth the purchase."
(Ron)