Travel the world in an hour exploring an array of cultures along the journey. Prodigious guitarist Lawson Rollins (www.lawsonrollins.com) is your tour guide on “Full Circle,” a riveting global adventure crammed with culture and masterful musicianship that will be released July 16th. Authoring all 12 songs for the set that he produced with multi-platinum producer Dominic Camardella (Ottmar Liebert, Flora Purim, 3rd Force), Rollins’ hopes to harness the massive fan base that he’s cultivated for the solo guitar videos showcasing his blindingly fast and precise technique that have generated over 7.5 million YouTube views.
On his fourth album, Rollins demonstrates a new level of maturity, restraint and confidence in his craft as a songwriter by applying less layers of ornamentation to the still lush landscapes, which shifts the focus to the evocative melodies dexterously plucked on guitar. He plays classical, flamenco and electric guitars, keyboards and drum programming on “Full Circle” with the album title reflecting the visceral return to his stylistic roots. The world beat soundscapes trampolining his guitar gymnastics are a multicultural mélange constructed of Afro-Cuban rumba, bossa nova, samba, Middle Eastern, Japanese folk, tango, reggae, rock, classical and jazz. Rollins is surrounded by the same astute musicians that played on all three of his previous releases: Camardella (keyboards, piano), Grammy-winning violinist Charlie Bisharat, bassist Randy Tico, percussionist Dave Bryant and saxophonist/flutist Richard Hardy.
It’s a forward motion march into the melody and a driving groove on “Momentum,” the album opener and first radio single highlighted with hints of Japanese folk music. A sultry tango setting makes “Point of Attraction” a sensual guitar, piano and string section tryst. Thumping bass and a pulsating drum beat propel the frenetic “Pursuit” into a runaway rumba that surprises with an Appalachian fiddle and an exotic sax and accordion interlude. In order to get the pure and powerful guitar tone heard on the soaring bossa nova “Flight,” Rollins utilized a new custom Lester Devoe guitar along with sophisticated vintage microphones and pre-amps combined with cutting edge technology. “Horizon” floats alluring world jazz hues over samba rhythms. Rollins’ guitar is vividly fragrant on “Bloom,” another bossa nova/samba blossom. The title track recalls his earlier work as a member of Young & Rollins although the salsa number follows a more modern path. Middle Eastern nuances cast a mystic spell on “Serpent’s Tale,” which shuffles along a potent reggae beat. “The Offering” is a beguiling beauty – delicate, vulnerable and emotional. The sprawling “Gone From Here” clocks in at close to 9 minutes. On the majestic passage that swirls rock and rumba, listeners behold the unusual sound of Rollins on electric guitar (he doesn’t own one so he borrowed it from Camardella). Another piece that Rollins also describes as a “journey piece” that incorporates 4 songs into one ambitious composition, “Shifting Seasons” is one of the most diverse cuts on the record. It seamlessly stitches folk motifs, Asian elements, and rumba and bolero rhythms. The tender “Promise” is an elegant dialogue between Rollins nimble six-string and lyrical string section swatches from Bisharat’s graceful violin and Cameron Stone’s yearning cello.
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