It's gonna be hard for Dave Paris to find a jury of his peers in the Corridor. Luckily, listeners can soon pick up this native Cedar Rapids guitar god's new CD, "Jury of my Peers."
He has three area release parties slated between Feb. 14 and March 1, but here's a sneak peek at what to expect from this collection:
Expect the unexpected.
The disc kicks off with "Roman's Road," drenched in the '80s and dipped in fire. It's a mix of Eddie Van Halen's blistering fingerwork and Jonny Lang's blistering blues. It's even more compelling when Paris says it's inspired by the journey of his nephew, who was born four months prematurely.
The single can be downloaded from Daveparis.com and proceeds benefit the March of Dimes. A music video on the site follows Roman's road from birth to home, where fortunately, he's thriving and rambunctious.
Much of the disc plays out like straight-up power rock, bending to the siren songs of blues, roots and a couple of ballads. They're performed on every manner of guitar, from dobro, electric and acoustic models to a homemade cigar-box guitar that helps fuel "Wood, Wire, Wind."
Along the way, Orchestra Iowa violinists slip into the driving beat of "Night Before Last," a thundering rocker melding symphonic rock with raw metal and frenetic riffs, reminiscent of the experimental prog rock of Pink Floyd, The Moody Blues and ELO.
Gears shift completely with the next track, "Wood, Wire Wind," that lopes down a backwoods road with harmonica, jawharp and washboard in tow, meshing perfectly with the old-timey, stringy sound.
Two ballads offer lovely counterpoints to the collection's hard edge. "Blue" melds pensive piano with edgy electronics, while "Seeds of Stone" plants the prettiest melody line.
Paris gets his funk on with the aptly titled "Funky Song of Praise," allowing listeners to relax and breathe after taking a pounding with "Last 2nd." And "Penguin Love" pairs some talkbox squawk with a hooky melody and a syncopated, spare drumming interlude.
Rock dukes it out with blues early on, with "Bought by Blood," beginning innocently enough with harmonica before crashing into guitars. "Free B" follows with growly hard rock pulsing under cool fingerwork. Paris and party are takin' care of business in the next track, "Salvation Street," with some '70s-style rockin' blues.
The disc ends even harder than it begins, with "The Author of Fate," where elements of speed fuel an angry metal race to an abrupt, jarring end.
The entire project is a guilty pleasure of action-packed instrumentals.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
ARTIST: Dave Paris "Jury of my Peers" CD release concerts
DUBUQUE: 10 p.m. Feb. 14, The Lift, 180 Main St.; $5, 21 and over
CEDAR RAPIDS: 4 to 8 p.m. Feb. 15, Parlor City, 1125 Third St. SE; no cover, all ages
IOWA CITY: 9 p.m. March 1, Gabe's, 330 E. Washington St.; no cover, 19 and over