New Vai’s Got the Wood

July 19, 2012 | By | 2 Replies More

A bunch of get-your-hopes-up new music has been coming out lately, or is due out soon. At least one huge disappointment in that pile, but there’s some good stuff, including Steve Vai’s new one, The Story of Light.

Before I start yapping about it, here’s the “single” (first release) from that, “Gravity Storm.”

That sweet or what! Nice riff, and could it be we’re hearing guitar right into amp? Probably more in the signal chain than that, but that’s what it sounds like, which is cool.

This week listened to the whole album three times, and can say definitively that is the most straight-up woody guitar tune on the album – though the first tune, “The Story of Light,” starts with some great woody chords, and the last one rocks too (“Sunshine Electric Raindrops”).

Also need to mention the tune “John the Revelator.” Blues-rock Vai style, sung to the max by Beverly McClelland. Word is she is (was?) a season one finalist on The Voice TV show and will be touring with Steve. Great singing, great tune, a lot of fun to listen to.

Wood = The New Amp?

I’m assuming the Carvin-made new Vai Legacy 3 amp is all over the album. If so, sounds great – and the 100w head is stupidly priced as I write this at $899.00!

I played the original Legacy and just could not get it to do what I wanted to do. I’m also a bit skeptical of solo-guitar-guy amps, like Vai’s and Satriani’s because they appear to be voiced differently than a band amp. More bass-heavy or thicker or something. Guess the way to say it is, I felt like I couldn’t dial out the Vai voicing, which wasn’t tickling my tone bone. But the Legacy 3 is supposed to be different, and judging by these tunes it sounds less bassy and more woody.

Here's a Carvin shot of the Legacy 3. Click to see it way bigger.

Here are a couple of demos of the amp. The first is Steve himself. Interesting, but I found it tough to really hear the amp because of all the stuff he’s got on his signal. The second is a dude in a music store, and you can hear the amp better. But the album more than anything is what’s giving me the itch to run one of these amps through its paces.

Back To the Album

Vai fans will love the album. Has the mix of scary virtuosity, Vai-isms, Zappa-isms and ’80s/’90s keyboard punctuations that sound like Steve having fun. Even has a tune that sounds like it was from a musical, “Book of the Seven Seals.” Somehow Steve pulls that one off in a rock context without it sounding bad. I’m surprised and not surprised!

The great thing about his albums for six-stringers is that they always have some rock and fo sho the playing will drop jaws and give you many WTF?! moments. An awesome thing this time around is the dose o’ wood on top. (Did I mention I’d love to hear one of those amps in person?!)

Props to Steve. The guy never disappoints, and that’s saying a friggin’ TON. Think about it: What he’s got, the energy he brings to his music, time hasn’t worn it down. That’s huge, when so many others – the Black Crowes, Joe Walsh and Robert Plant come to mind – have left us rock ‘n’ rollers wanting. Thanks Steve!


Category: Carvin, Steve Vai

Comments (2)

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  1. Patrick Kem says:

    I enjoyed the vids of Steve and his Legacey III. But I must seem a little biased. I can’t think of one Amp made here on the planet and I literally mean any Amp.It will sound fabulous running it through a Fractal Audio FX What I would really like to hear as far as demo sounds are concearned. Is how the Amp responds just Guitty Cable and Amp. I have always believed that is always the best way to listen for that elusive sound that drives you crazy inside your head!

  2. SHG says:

    “I found it tough to really hear the amp because of all the stuff he’s got on his signal.”

    Huh? I hear a couple of delay repeats and that’s it. Sounds like a sweet straight-into-the-amp tone.

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