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Eddie Heinzelman

Wherever You Go – 2018 (One Louder)

Reviewed by Jim Hynes

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CDs by Eddie Heinzelman

If you're at all familiar with session guitarist Eddie Heinzelman, it's from his fine work, both in the studio, and live in a duo format with Radney Foster. This is Heinzelman's second solo album, "Wherever You Go," an upbeat, rocking outing. There's plenty of his blazing guitar, mostly electric on these 10 songs. It's not a pure country effort at all, although it's in the mix alongside Americana, roots rock and some extended jamming too.

Heinzelman has taken off the shackles here, leaving the constraints of a Nashville studio player behind. He composed nine of the songs with the title track co-written with Foster who also sings on it. Two are purely instrumentals. "Dammit Mary" is his ode to the acclaimed songwriter Mary Gauthier. As Heinzelman says," her songs are so good, they make me cuss." He follows with a gentler tune, "The Road," an elegy to his wife, often in his thoughts while touring.

While Heinzelman plays all guitars, he gets help from Greg Martin of the Kentucky Headhunters for slide on the guitar work-out "Dandelion," "American Idol" alum Kendra Chantelle who provides harmonies throughout and producer Casey Wood who also plays drums. Tommy MacDonald, a seasoned Nashville session musician is on bass along with John Lancaster and John Henry Trinko, both sharing keyboards.

The two strongest tracks are "The Heart Knows What It Needs," a terrific story song and "Lonely Outweighs Regret," where he puts temptation into an honest perspective. "Miss TLC" is straight ahead rock, as if it came from a blues-rocker. The title track is a joyous, bouncy tune where Heinzelman's and Foster's voices blend well, supported by Chantelle's harmonies as Heinzelman tears it up with his slide guitar.

Not only does Heinzelman display his immense guitar skills, but these tunes attest to his command of songwriting too.