Fresh off a monthlong tour is the sweet spot for a great band with great players, if you want to see a truly memorable show. On Saturday night, hometown favorites Gasoline Lollipops will unveil their newest album, "Soul Mine," at the Fox Theatre, and the band's recent tour through the Netherlands makes this homecoming one you don't want to miss.
"Soul Mine" is an exceptional-sounding record with a deep and wide sound that shows off everything this band is capable of. You get guitarist Donnie Ambory's truckin' Telecaster magic; singer Clay Rose's prose, nylon guitar and his trademark two-tone vocals; Alexandra Schwan's perfect-fit backing vocals; Jeb Bows' always masterful violin accompaniment; and "Bad Brad" Morse's room-filling standup bass.
I learned that the new album was Rose's first attempt at recording engineer duties for the typically self-recorded group. Sweet Jesus Clay, keep it up. "Soul Mine" is the type of product that makes me really proud of the Front Range music scene.
Go have a great time at the Fox and pick up a copy. Doors open at 7:30, and another intriguing local duo, The Farmer Sisters, opens the show, followed by Bella Duro.
Wrapping up amps
If you've been reading this column the last several weeks, you know how I feel about amplifiers. Old amplifier technology tends to be better in sound-related ways, but of course the trade-off is size, weight and heat.
And given the trends of everything else tech related around us, we prize size, cool operation and portability above many other factors.
I know I've come down hard on modern Class D amplifiers because of sonic compromises, but actually, the last few years have seen encouraging advances in the Class D technology.
A friend recently asked me about my stated preference for linear amplifiers and specifically asked why guitarists lean toward old school tube amplifiers.
If there's anything I want to leave you with on the topic of amplifiers, it's that the design really does have a lot to do with the sonic experience.
But guitarists use tube amps for a different reason than audiophiles do. Tubes, besides being good at retaining micro detail when used as input stages of audiophile linear amplifiers, also have a characteristic you can take advantage of to create interesting sound.
If you overload a tube's input, the sound gets distorted in a pleasing way. I think that combined with the detail is why many guitarists prefer tubes, but recent popular guitar amps have started using Class D amplifier modules that have been improved to sound more linear and natural. And with a tube distortion pedal, any of these, like a solid state Mesa Boogie amp, can be made almost indistinguishable to its incandescent brethren.
Guitar amps will always be heavy because of the giant magnet attached to the speaker, but new advancements mean that elusive sound may be a little lighter on your wallet. And even though we have almost a century of music reproduction under our belts as a species, it's cool to know we're still finding ways to improve it.