Fly South
(Allen Hinds Music)


Southern-born 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 returned recently with not 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. There’s 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. Allen’s 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. There’s 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. 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 unusual.

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 Crosby’s 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.

mwe3: “Yonder Hills” is track four and it’s 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... it’s mind boggling for sure. I’m 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 White Lies”?

Allen Hinds: I have a 1965 Martin 000-28, that is absolutely great. I’m not sure how many guitar tracks. I layer in lieu of not being able to play keyboards.

mwe3: Track seven “Boo’s 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. It’s 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 here.

mwe3: On The final track on Fly South, “Blues For OK Tarpley” has a touch of the Beatles track “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)”. Was that done intentionally? That ending on side one of Abbey Road is still pretty influential! Is that your favorite Beatles track?

Allen 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...

mwe3: Your other recent album is the 2017 CD debut with Wonderland Park. How did you team up with Peter Hastings and Chris Wabich and what’s 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.

mwe3: 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... That’s not the problem. Lessening the bureacracy is okay, but it’s his character that
depresses me. Even my conservative friends don’t 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 eternal!


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