From the April 2015 edition of the Pulse.
Jury of My Peers
Cedar Rapids guitarist Dave Paris can make guitars sing. In Jury of My Peers, he lets them do all the singing.
A compilation of guitar-fueled rock ballads, Jury of My Peers is all instrumental. Most of the time the guitars are spraying a flurry of 1980s-style lead riffs. The album is like a compilation of 1980s and ‘90s power ballads but without nine minutes of repetitive lyrics.
The final track, “Author of Fate,” has a big anthem sound to it. It puts a clear punctuation on the album buts also demonstrates that instrumentation alone, even in a rock album, can add enough gravitas to be captivating.
Paris’ lead guitar has more than a one-note voice. Paris plays an echoing, crying blues guitar in the appropriately named Blue. In “Wood Wire, Wind,” some harmonica and slide guitar adds a rustier blues style.
For “Penguin,” Paris’s staccato picking seems to simulate birds talking. While it’s Paris’ leads that carry the album, accompaniment adds the right depth and layers to the songs to give them their full impact.
“Funky Song of Praise” has a heavy bass and funk guitar to give it a funk sound. Competent layering gives “Seeds on Stones” its souls as well. “Night Before Last” features adept violin bowing.
This album is a distilled treat for fans of vintage rock ballads and screaming guitar solos — like an all-syrup Slurpee or just the center of an Oreo.
—John Molseed, Pulse