Album Review of
Sonoran Odyssey

Written by Robert Silverstein
May 30, 2020 - 4:39pm EDT
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Arizona-based guitarist / composer Paul Speer is a triple threat multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer, one that for the past 20+ years has helped paved the way for the union of New Age music and instrumental rock. In 2009, this writer reviewed Paul’s Wonders album and in 2013, I reviewed Paul’s Ax Inferno album. Now, Paul is back with Sonoran Odyssey, a 10-track, 65 minute 2020 album on his long-lived Rainstorm label. Literally, the 10-track album neatly fits into a number of instrumental music genres, including New Age, rock, remixes and electronica. Two of the tracks here, “Monsoon” and “Moonrise” are presented in a number of different mixes (thunder mix, demo mix, guitar mix, ambient mix) with enough variety as to render them essentially different sounding. The album overall comes across as being very experimental sounding with Paul’s guitars, bass, keyboards, engineering and production in top form throughout. Several musicians appear, including U.K. drummer Max Saidi and long time Speer drummer Ron Krasinski, with each bringing some percussive thunder to a pair of tracks, including a remake of “Behind The Waterfall”, a collaboration between Paul and David Lanz that was originally recorded in 1985. Recorded in Tucson and Memphis, Sonoran Odyssey is a most impressive addition to Paul Speer’s prolific blend of instrumental New Age and prog.