“Tom Sawyer” played as bumper music earlier today which went on a bit longer than that typically associated with bumper music and I got concerned.
A quick search revealed far more excitement than expected as I discovered the Alex Lifeson, Rush’s virtuoso on guitar, released two instrumentals earlier this month titled “Kabul Blues” and “Spy House.” Lifeson wrote both songs and brought in Andy Curran bass player for Coney Hatch on the two tracks along with David Quinton Steinberg for drums on “Spy House.”
Turns out, Lifeson has returned to music as he indicated months after drummer Neil Peart’s death that he no longer felt interested in or inspired to play music. The two new songs in fact come from a side project Lifeson has collaborated with Curran on, along with guitarist Alfio Annibalini and vocalist Maiah Wynne, called Envy of None. Plans include a new album of 10 songs released sometime this fall and expect the two instrumentals “Kabul Blues” and “Spy House” to sound a bit different as Wynne will add vocals.
Curran, in an interview with Ultimate Classic Rock, said Envy of None sounds far different from Rush describing the songs “as ‘trippy and dark’ with ‘pop elements’ mixed in.” Indeed, “Kabul Blues” and “Spy House” have little if anything in common musically with Rush. Listen to Curran discuss Envy of None and the new album at the hour and 56 minute mark with his fellow Canadians and music bloggers Deke with Thunder Bay Arena Rock and Mike LaDano:
Lifeson deals out some pretty cool guitar tones on “Kabul Blues” a three minute and 13 second long cut with some delicate Middle Eastern sounding pitches, almost haunting, but more mysteriously fun in nature with slight bluesy overtones. Similar to a movie score.
This one sounds more like a natural progression from Lifeson’s solo album Victor. A heavier guitar, often repetitive, but a short solo just past the halfway mark offers a little taste of Rush. It’s short, coming in about two and a half minutes, and more of a rock piece than “Kabul Blues.”
Both songs work as instrumentals so will be interesting to see what kind of vocals go along with it and how Wynne changes the nature and complexity of the songs. Lifeson certainly gets out of his 40 year familiarity on these two tracks but at the very least, new music from one member of Rush.
You can hear the two songs in the video below along with Lifeson discussing his collaboration with Epiphone for the new Alex Lifeson Epiphone Les Paul Standard Axcess electric guitar also released earlier this month, otherwise head over to Lifeson’s new website to hear the songs individually.