The guitar rock world lost a heavyweight earlier this year when British blues rocker Gary Moore died in early February. However, the Irish axeman made sure that the last gig he was to give – at the acclaimed Montreaux Jazz Festival last year – was a goodie. And it’s that verve and dexterity that makes this 11-song, 77-minute journey such a solid but still somber swan song. A perfect example of this comes near the three-quarters pole in the sleek, punchy “Out In The Fields” that could be a mash-up of The Police and Iron Maiden.
The lengthy leadoff “Over The Hills And Far Away” is a strong Celtic-sprinkled opener with winding guitar solos putting a huge exclamation point on the proceedings. Moore also comes to life on the 70s-influenced “Days Of Heroes” that glides along without much hassle. And while that’s a good new song Moore had in his arsenal, the deliberately built “Where Are You Now?” is the true jewel of the new numbers, a gentle uplifting effort that sounds like John Hiatt with an axe (pardon the pun) to grind.
While some might not revel in the 11-minute “So Far Away/Empty Rooms” epic, Moore makes the most of the Southern rocker “Oh Wild One” by playing off the tight rhythm section of bassist Jon Noyce and drummer Darrin Mooney and fleshing things out completely. And a closing combo of the tender “Johnny Boy” and “Parisienne Walkways” – the latter co-written by the late Phil Lynott – shows Moore deserves the same recognition as other great British blues rock guitarists (Page, Beck, Clapton) of his era.