Dave Stryker makes familiar songs new on “Eight Track III”

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The story of how guitarist Dave Stryker completed his eight track trilogy begins with a conversation he had with vibraphonist, Stefon Harris. Harris reminded Stryker that they needed to complete the project. The conversation came about as the two drove to a gig. A person can almost imagine this as a movie scene, complete with a soundtrack that would become “Eight Track III.”

The songs on “Eight Track III” are likely to be familiar to most audiences. Stryker and his quartet have re-arranged the songs while remaining true to the tracks’ original feel.

Stryker seems motivated to pay homage to the songs that he loved as a teen. And by doing so, he hopes to have added some positivity to a world that is often steeped in negative events.

With eight tracks originally by artists that range from Curtis Mayfield to Steely Dan to Stevie Wonder and others, “Eight Track III” is an interesting homage to a classic time in the history of American music.

“Move On Up” by Dave Strkyer

A nimble guitar and swinging organ help this track come to life. The drums are so enmeshed in the soundscape it is difficult to keep up with their various turns. They sound shimmering in one instant, but clatter in clear beats the next. It is the guitar and organ that take the forefront of the soundscape. A break in the main soundscape allows the vibraphone to be showcased. Later, the organ will get its turn. The song returns to its original motif toward the end. A fine song for just listening and recollecting, or dancing. The track is full of movement from beginning to end.

“Papa Was a Rolling Stone” by Dave Stryker

The solemn tale of a son who finds out the truth about his father’s character retains its dark notes on this instrumental version. The guitar takes over where the vocalist would impart lyrics. The organ and bass keep the background music rumbling and pensive. Listeners familiar with the original will appreciate the treatment of this soul classic.

Toward the end, the guitar simply sings and the drums, bass and organ let a barrage of chords fly that never feel haphazard. The vibraphone is an unexpected touch that keeps the end of the song from being too weighty, especially as the guitar fades out.

Stryker is joined on this CD by Stefon Harris on vibraphone, Jared Gold on organ, McClenty Hunter on drums, and Mayra Casales on congas and percussion.

“Eight Track III” will be available May 3, 2019 at www.davestryker.com, CDBaby, Amazon and iTunes.

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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