and L.A. based guitarist / composer Allen Hinds has long been
appreciated by supporters of jazz-rock instrumental music. American
instrumental rock guitarists are occasionally underrated, say compared
to the legendary English blues-rock guitarists, yet thankfully there
remains a number of brilliant and still rising American fusion aces
looming large on the current 21st century progressive Americana guitar
scene. Long considered one of the most accomplished American electric
guitarist / composers, Alabama born fusion favorite Allen Hinds
one, but two fascinating guitar-centric albums. First off, the new
for 2017 Hinds solo masterpiece is called Fly South, as in
returning to one's home as Allen relates the story of the untimely
passing of his daughter Katie. Theres a wistfully nostalgic
sort of sonic deja vu permeating the ten tracks on Fly South. Allen
has said that many of the tracks were written on acoustic guitar and
they do have an acoustic effect, yet on other cuts, his electric guitar
just soars into the jazz-rock stratosphere. Allens roots are
in the American South, Alabama specifically, and on Fly South
you can literally hear the soul of the South, with his guitar sound
echoing the genius of great Southern guitar pioneers like Dickey Betts
and Duane Allman as well as modern masters like Pat Metheny and Robben
Ford. The band backing up Allen on Fly South includes veteran
fusion drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, bass players Abe Laboriel,
Jimmy Earl and Jimmy Johnson, and keyboardist Matt
Rohde, who are all among the many fine musicians adding to Fly
South. With a mind-boggling array of memorable melodic cadences,
the southern hospitality is never far away on Fly South - an
album that aims to please spin after spin. Also recent on CD by Allen
Hinds is a 2016 jazz-rock instrumental fusion trio outing called Just
Get In, recorded with his side band called Wonderland
Park. The sound is very Hinds-esque as Allen shares the music
writing with bassist Peter Hastings with the sound enhanced
by drummer Chris Wabich. Theres a friendly, jam-like
effect on Just Get In yet the cohesion of the players is near
perfect and borders on sonic ESP. All told, each of these two recent
albums featuring guitar ace Allen Hinds are right up there among the
finest fusion discs of this fleeting decade. www.allenhinds.com
presents an interview with
The Fly South Interview
Why do you call your new CD Fly South and can you tell us something
about the cover art? The fonts are great and the cover painting is
Allen Hinds: Well, I grew up in the South, most of my family
and childhood friends are still there... But last year my daughter
passed away suddenly... so I flew south for her services...
and that extremely sad and depressing information is why it's called
Fly South. The picture on the cover was a shot my daughter
had taken. We had talked days before her death and I had decided to
use several her photos on my CD.
mwe3: Track two on Fly South is Buckley.
Is that about the late Jeff Buckley? You were saying he was a great
guitarist and influence. How did you meet Jeff and how would you describe
his musical influence?
Allen Hinds: Well yeah, Jeff was a school mate. We used to
play jazz standards every day together, but he really came into his
own, as we know, after he left school. So the song morphs from an
almost Aerosmith vibe into the jangly type of stuff Jeff would play,
but it's more about evolving, changing and not being afraid to.
mwe3: You dedicate track three, Joni to Joni Mitchell.
You even live near where Joni lived in the Hollywood Hills. Tell us
about where you live now and what you like about it and what about
Joni inspired you to write Joni? What Joni Mitchell albums
or songs do you like best?
Allen Hinds: Well, I have owned every Joni album and CD and
just worshipped her music and her lyrics. The song was written with
one of her tunings... probably David Crosbys and yeah, the birds
you hear at the beginning are from daybreak up here in Laurel Canyon.
I live a few blocks from where she first lived with Graham Nash.
Yonder Hills is track four and its a great title.
Where did you get the title idea from? Is that track a look back to
your trademark fusion sound? You were saying how much Vinnie Colaiuta
brought to the sound of Fly South.
Allen Hinds: Vinnie is no doubt, a genius, musically...
not just a great drummer. He and Jimmy Johnson brought this one to
life. When I write I program drums and play bass but after that, when
I add the caliber of these guys, well... its mind boggling for
sure. Im not sure where that title came from.
mwe3: Heartfell is a more acoustic-based track.
Did you plan on slowing things down on track five as it ends the first
side of the album? If there is a vinyl version that is...
Allen Hinds: I actually wish I had put the songs in a different
order. If you listen to the first two songs you would get the impression
the whole CD is only fusion. Heartfell was
just me and my acoustic again. No plans on a vinyl edition as of now.
mwe3: Track six is Little White Lies. What guitars
are you using on that track and how many guitar tracks are on Little
Allen Hinds: I have a 1965 Martin 000-28, that is absolutely
great. Im not sure how many guitar tracks. I layer in lieu of
not being able to play keyboards.
Track seven Boos Folly is one of the funkier tracks
on the Fly South album. Did you add that one in to bring some
humor or lightheartedness to the album? Do you like to add some humor
in your music?
Allen Hinds: I wrote that at four in the morning before the
session with Vinnie. Just my 1956 Strat. Maybe a little verb and delay
only. Its a funny song and I thought of my cat Boo.
mwe3: Track eight, Old Mill Pond is also kind of
acoustic-based, yet it also has a kind of trademark Hinds sound on
it. Where is the old mill pond and what inspired that track? Is there
a kind of nostalgic air on Old Mill Pond? For some reason
it sounds like childhood's end
Allen Hinds: Yeah, there is a magical place in Alabama down
a narrow dirt road, where you come to this house built on top of a
waterfall, a dam that used to have a big water wheel. On the dammed
side of the falls is the most serene still water pond with Spanish
moss and lots of rocks. We used to float around on inner tubes.
mwe3: June 15th is another kind of acoustic track.
How many guitars are you adding in on June 15th and what
inspired the title?
Allen Hinds: My daughter's birthday was on June 15th. She would
have been 35. Many guitars and the great Maxayn Lewis on vocals. We
have a band called The Cookies and she regularly sits in with my band
mwe3: On The final track on Fly South, Blues For
OK Tarpley has a touch of the Beatles track I Want You
(Shes So Heavy). Was that done intentionally? That ending
on side one of Abbey Road is still pretty influential! Is that
your favorite Beatles track?
Hinds: Haha, you noticed
Yeah it just came out that way.
An accidental Beatles rip off. It happens. All their songs are my
favorites. They are by far the biggest influence in my life...
Your other recent album is the 2017 CD debut with Wonderland Park.
How did you team up with Peter Hastings and Chris Wabich and whats
the chemistry like with Wonderland Park and how did the band come
together so to speak? Does Just Get In show another side to
your musical personality?
Allen Hinds: Maybe my best friend, Peter Hastings is more known
for his animation. He created/produced Pinky And The Brain, Animaniacs,
Tiny Tunes and others. He has a huge house and we used to have these
jams. He and I both attended Berklee then M.I. together and he wanted
to capture the stuff I do live. When I stretch out is when I am at
my best I believe. Wonderland Park is the street I live on.
What else is new and interesting in your life these days? I guess
with new leadership our country is going through yet another transition
period. Are you hopeful for the future and what other plans are you
taking on for 2017 and beyond?
Allen Hinds: I am not hopeful with Trump in power. My mother
was politically active and involved and would never shy away from
getting into talks with locals in Alabama at the Wal-mart or wherever.
(lol) I have many conservative friends... Thats not the problem.
Lessening the bureacracy is okay, but its his character that
me. Even my conservative friends dont care for him... his agenda
maybe, not him. I am currently mixing a Cookies CD featuring my trio
with Maxayn and Bobby Watson
(Rufus, Michael Jackson, Billly
Preston) And remastering my first CD Fact Of The Matter. Travelling
some later this year to Netherlands, Taiwan, Japan..etc. Hope springs