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Michael Falzarano - We Are All One
Michael Falzarano - We Are All One
CD Review by Jud Conway on 12/1/2008   

Consummate rhythm guitarist Michael Falzarano has forged a 30-year music career supporting the likes of Jorma Kaukonen in Hot Tuna, and David Nelson and Buddy Cage in New Riders of the Purple Sage. Somewhere between his busy schedule teaching guitar workshops and producing, recording, and performing with a veritable "who’s who" of jam band royalty, Falzarano has managed to release We Are All One, his third proper solo album, on Woodstock Records.

At the heart of We Are All One is the notion of the "Extended Family." While the new disc mines much of the same familiar terrain explored on the vastly-underrated Last Train Out (2000, Hypnotation Records) and the well-received King James Sessions (2005, Blues Planet Records), it also features a previously unparalleled level of collaborative effort. Having worked as a rhythm guitarist with or for many of the guest artists appearing on We Are All One, Falzarano promotes the solo project as a quasi-group effort, informally crediting the album to "Michael Falzarano and Extended Family.’

Organist Melvin Seals (Jerry Garcia Band) and guitarist-for-hire Kane Daily fraternize with Falzarano on an inspired electric reading of the title track. Conversely, mandolin player Jimmy Fleming (The Storm) and guitarist Kerry Kearney (Kerry Kearney Band) turn in an unforgettable acoustic rendition of the same track, reinforcing the notion that "we are all one."

Falzarano is joined by accordionist Professor Louie (The Chromatics) and inimitable keyboardist Garth Hudson (The Band) for a moving rendition of "Last Train Out," his tribute to late Allman Brothers Band/Gov’t Mule bassist Allen Woody.

Hot Tuna’s Jorma Kaukonen adds his unmistakable lead guitar to "It’s Just My Way," while New Rider Buddy Cage adds his signature pedal steel to several tracks, including the ethereal "New Shirt," the instrumental "Gonna Power Down Now," and the country-rockin’ "When There’s Two There’s Trouble."

The majority of material on We Are All One was written or co-written by Michael Falzarano. The only exceptions are inspired covers of Leroy Carr’s "How Long Blues" and Reverend Gary Davis’ "Candy Man." The latter is one of several album tracks that feature some of the last recordings of late fiddler extraordinaire Vassar Clements.

In essence, because the basic tracks for We Are All One were recorded during multiple sessions and with numerous musicians over a period of several years, Falzarano was able to turn the tables on high-profile players and solicit their uninhibited support in helping him to realize his musical vision. Consequently, Michael Falzarano delivers one of the most compelling and organic albums in his extensive discography.

Read the Interview with Michael Falzarano

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