While he is best known as a sideman – the guitarist of choice for such singer-songwriters as Van Morrison, Randy Newman, Natalie Merchant, and Bonnie Raitt – John Platania is a musician who can also stand on his merits alone. With Blues, Waltzes and Badland Borders, Platania showcases his own talents, both as guitar player and composer.
The music on Blues, Waltzes and Badland Borders is eclectic and all over the map, showing influences from Stevie Ray Vaughn (“Texas Sexy Ways”) and David Gilmour (“Child Heroes”) to Robert Johnson (“The Highland Blues”) and Freddie Fender (whose Tex Mex guitar influence is heard throughout this discs). Each song plays like an aural short film, taking the listener on journeys that seem straight from Hollywood, each scene different from the next. Southwestern themes shine through many of the tracks, yet it’s never long before Platania changes key, setting the journey off in yet another gorgeous direction.
Platania is a musician whose talents range well beyond the recognition of his name. While it is doubtful that Blues, Waltzes and Badland Borders will do much to affect his legacy, those lucky enough to listen will no doubt come away convinced that John Platania is one of the consummate guitar players of his time.
Out now on Trainwreck Records.