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08 September 2011 @ 09:34 pm
Bp's Song of the Week #128 Gretchen Menn "Valentino's Victory Lap"  
Gretchen Menn “Valentino’s Victory Lap”


I was on an online guitar site recently looking at an interview with Night Ranger guitarist, Joel Hoekstra, and the album cover of an attractive red-headed female guitarist (who sort of looked like Nancy Wilson a bit from the small thumbnail image) caught my eye. After clicking to her web site and sampling the first song, “Oleo Strut,” a fast-fretwork instrumental groove featuring bass work from Stu Hamm (best known for his work with Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, and numerous solo albums) with a nice bass/guitar duel that was melodic and tastefully done. Still intrigued I tried a second clip, “Valentino’s Victory Lap,” and despite the strange video, I was mesmerized by the melodic chorus (at 1:25), that sounded like something Eric Johnson would have dreamed up during the Tones/Ah Via Musicom days. I think I ended up looping that song about 10 times, not being able to get enough of that soaring and majestic guitar melody. Obviously there were some pretty serious musical chops involved, but it wasn’t a shred-fest by any stretch and the melody just got to me.

Gretchen, the daughter of an editor at Guitar Player magazine, she started in AC/DC and Zeppelin cover bands, and then started an acoustic duo, Lapdance Armageddon, and her first solo album will be released later in September via her web site. Jeff Beck, Eric Johnson, Steve Morse, and Frank Zappa are her biggest influences. I think the homage to Johnson is what hooked me on this week’s song as the runs really remind me of his style and his melodies are my favorite among guitarists.

But don’t take my word for it, click and ride along on “Valentino’s Victory Lap!”

More Gretchen Menn:
Oleo Strut
DiMarzio Featured Artist Reel
“Ti-Tip” as part of Lapdance Armageddon (acoustic duo)
“Communication Breakdown” as part of Zeparella