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This Way
Acoustic Alchemy
This Way
Genres: Blues, Jazz, New Age, Pop
  •  Track Listings (11) - Disc #1

Acoustic Alchemy are the British acoustic guitar duo of Greg Carmichael and Miles Gilderdale, and with "This Way" they are celebrating a remarkable two decades since their debut with 1987's Red Dust. For all this time the...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Acoustic Alchemy
Title: This Way
Members Wishing: 4
Total Copies: 0
Label: Narada
Original Release Date: 1/1/2007
Re-Release Date: 6/5/2007
Genres: Blues, Jazz, New Age, Pop
Style: Smooth Jazz
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 094636512426, 094636512457


Album Description
Acoustic Alchemy are the British acoustic guitar duo of Greg Carmichael and Miles Gilderdale, and with "This Way" they are celebrating a remarkable two decades since their debut with 1987's Red Dust. For all this time they have been a quiet phenomenom, constantly topping the jazz charts in the USA, being nominated for GRAMMY's and touring the world. Following the pop-soul vibe of 2005's "American English", the duo have delivered their most aggressive and swinging, hard rocking and artfully jazzy disc to date. The regular touring/recording band of Terry Disley, Snake Davis, Fred White, Julian Crampton and Greg Grainger are joined by guests such as the buzz-of-today pianist Neil Cowley, trumpeter Rick Braun, saxman Jeff Kashiwa and, on the reggae-tinged Ernie, the great Specials Trombonist, Dennis Rollins. Just two tracks, "Out of Nowhere" and "This Way" feature only the duo - the rest are a fine mix of old-school soul/jazz, funk, reggae, and rock with a mixture of electric guitars, acoustic guitars and the horn section all combining to create a smooth but completely passionate album of classy jazzy guitar music.

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CD Reviews

Get the earlier Nick Webb stuff first
David D. | St. Louis | 03/12/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)

"This album is good but not great. ALL the early stuff was beyond great. They are, in fact, my favorite instrumental group. But after Nick Webb passed away, AA became just 'ok.' If you get all their earlier stuff, and want more, then get the post Webb stuff. But not before! The order they came out in was: 1. Red Dust and Spanish Lace. 2. Natural Elements. 3. Blue Chip. 4. Natural Elements. 5. Reference Point. 6. Back on the Case. 7. The New Edge 8. Against the Grain. That was the last great album. On all 8 of these there is not one bad song. More than that, more than half of them are just sensational. A careful, thoughtful weaving of melodies you can't forget, with bridges that take you someplace else. Great, great, great. The group was actually started by Webb and Simon James. The current leader, Carmichael, came along after James left the group. Webb always played the steel string and James...and later Carmichael....played the nylon string guitar. In my opinion, the group was always about Webb. He played lead on the vast majority of songs. Wrote most of them too. After he left, the whole chemistry changed. Not bad stuff, but not the best instrumental group ever, IMHO. There's an interesting compilation of the pre-Carmichael stuff called Early Alchemy. Not bad stuff either and you can hear earlier versions of some of their classic songs. Get these 8 albums. You won't be sorry."
Who are Acoustic Alchemy?
S. A. Gilchrist | Charlotte, NC | 07/03/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Acoustic Alchemy is, or was based on the foundation of two acoustic guitarists with a simple standard format around their playing. Drums, Bass guitar, and some keys. Contrary to an earlier review, when AA bought their flight to the States from England by winning a talent competition to play aboard American Airlines(also AA...cute~), they did so as Greg Carmichael and the late Nick Webb... not Miles Gilderdale. Nick actually recruited Greg to form AA. Gilderdale did not enter until after 1997's Positive Thinking (which Nick contributed some song-writing to help in the transition that Greg would continue forward and keep AA alive). Nothing against Miles, and not to nit-pic about detail, but one cannot mention Acoustic Alchemy in the same breath without Nick Webb...but the fact is, the music that was truly AA unfortunately died in Nick's absence.
I've loved these guys since I bought the 1987 MCA Sampler LP that also included Larry Carlton and other up and coming instrumentalists. The element that made AA was the 'focus' on the acoustic guitars through the fresh, infectious melodies of Nick and Greg. They fused many styles, but always with a catchy hook and melody. I was fortunate enough to see these guys live in 1993 prior to their release of 'The New Edge'and also met them after the show(as they often met with fans for autographs) & was a definite highlight as far as live shows go. Really nice English lads! ((Get the 'Best Kept Secret' DVD!~and the counterpart CD, 'Arcanum'! ie: a nice moment when they were in Florida for a gig, and visited the launch of the Columbia Space Shuttle, inspiring them to dedicate a song to the awe that is 'Columbia')).
Since Nick passed on however, it appears to me that the formula that created AA was lost and to cover up for it, the acoustics that would grab you, draw you in and not let go, suddenly became mulit-layered, multi-instrumental, I-hate-to-say-typical, pop-Jazz that only leaves me wondering. Sounds good, and I'm glad that Greg's getting recognition through awards and all, but only pales in comparison to the years prior to the wishfully optomistic 'Positive Thinking'. I applaud Greg for continuing the dream, and I certainly wish him the best, but I'm sad to say, AA has left behind it's 'Natural Elements' for a more safe and formulaic environment.

Drifting away?
jazzy | 07/25/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Ever since "Red Dust and Spanish Lace" and "Reference Point", Acoustic Alchemy has long been dominating my acoustic guitar jazz collection. Greg Carmichael has fine-tuned their sound since Nick Webb's passing but this album seems to have lost their signature sound even more (I think it kinda started from "American/English" already). There's hardly any track to remember, or even impress from the whole CD. The guitar sound is almost like background music overshadowed by other instuments among quite a few tracks. CDs like "The Beautiful Game", "AArt" are great through their reorg, but this one is losing their depth and clearly drifting away from their core style.
Real Acoustic Alchemy, WANTED!!!"