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Interview with Guitar International Magazine

by: Matt Warnock


    There’s probably a really good chance that if there were more high-school Art teachers like Michael Shouse that classrooms would be filled with interested teens across the country. It’s not often that kids can say that their teacher is a monster guitarist whose latest album, Alone on the Sun, is receiving critical acclaim across the board. Recently called “Joe Satriani on Steroids,” Shouse’s playing is not only full of chops, but contains a melodic quality to it that draws the listener in, only releasing them when the final notes of the record ring off into the ether.

    On top of it being a great album, the title track was recently named the Gold Winner: Gods of Indie Guitar 2011, Alone on the Sun is a multi-layered product that gives listeners the usual audio files, but also includes tabs so that guitarists can learn their favorite Shouse licks and songs, as well as videos. It is truly a multimedia experience, and one that is sure to be a hit with guitar fans the world over. If you’d like to check out the tabs for the songs on the record, you can also visit Michael Shouse’s Download Page on his website.

    Guitar International recently caught up with Michael Shouse to talk about Joe Satriani, his new record and why he chose to release a multi-layered product rather than a plain, old CD.


Matt Warnock: Your music has been described as “Joe Satriani on steroids.” How do you react when you read something like that?


Michael Shouse: It makes me proud and laugh at the same time. I’m not the man, Satriani is. I’m just starting out, but I try to be creative and melodic and that’s why I think people compare me to him. It might be the look too. I shaved my head a year before him and I wear shades because I have a disfigured eyelid from birth. I’m sure that contributes to the comparison. When you want people to know your name and your music, it’s hard to not be put in a comparison early on. Honestly, I don’t really want to be compared to other players, but if it has to be someone then Satriani is fine by me.


Matt: You play guitars, keys and sing on the album. Do you consider yourself a guitarist who sings and plays keyboards or a multi-instrumentalist who plays guitar?


Michael Shouse: I’m definitely a guitarist. I like to think of myself as a musician that plays the guitar. Theory is transcendent and I can use it with keyboards or any other instrument. Thanks to midi, it’s a little easier these days to do this.


Matt: The album features several bassists and drummers. When you’re writing a new song do you have a specific group of players in mind, or do you choose the line up once a song is written?


Michael Shouse: Well, for this CD I did the guitar locally, then searched on different websites and found these great musicians. I sent an email clip of each song and asked if they wanted to play on it. All were very happy and excited to do so. After hearing the drummers play on their first track, it gave me an idea of what I thought were their strengths and what future songs might suite them best. It was the same thing with the bass players. The project was unique in that I never met any of the musicians, and in most cases never talked to them other than through email.

After recording the guitar, I sent those tracks to the drummers, and they recorded where they were. Then, I rough mixed that and sent it to the bass players. After everything was recorded I went to Nashville to have it mixed and mastered. I really liked this process. I gave each musician total freedom, unless I had a specific sound in mind or if I didn’t like something, then I would ask them to change it. So, they really put a part of themselves into the record, and I know they’re proud of what they did on the CD.


Matt: You released an enhanced CD with a music video and guitar tab. What was the inspiration behind this and do you think this is the way things are going for the future of guitar CD releases?


Michael Shouse: I also act and my brother and I do independent films and shoot videos. He wanted to try some flying rig and green screen with HD effects. So, we shot the video to the title track and he came up with the video concept and did all the work. I definitely think that all instrumental guitarists should put either videos or tab with their CDs. I hated it when I was growing up and I’d hear the CD and have to wait months for any tab to come out, or never get any at all.

    Every lick on the CD was an original idea. I’ve been tabbing them and writing and storing them for a few years now. Knowing that I’m a new player on the scene, I really wanted players to be able to look at what I did and see the innovative things on the CD. In the future you can count on all my CDs following the same format. A real multi-media experience, not just a CD.


Matt: That must have been a major project, probably almost as much time as it would take to record an album.


Michael Shouse: It was , but as I recorded, I would look through the tons of ideas and pick several that I liked for each song. I didn’t use the same lick on more than one song, giving each its own identity. I would use those licks and create variations and also improvise when necessary.

    Knowing that I wanted to put the tab on the CD, I tabbed things out as I recorded the album. The only instrumental song on the CD I didn’t tab was “Dead in Memphis.” Although I had tab for the main lick and melody, most of the song was improvised, and I just didn’t have the time to go back and tab it all out.


Matt: What guitars are you using on the album?


Michael Shouse: I only play Carvin. I got my first in ‘92 and I have never played anything else. I own seven Carvin guitars and I played most, if not all, of them somewhere on the CD. I strung my seven-string very unusually for “The Arabian,” which gave me the chance to do things that would have been impossible on a six-string.


Matt: Are you planning on touring this year to support the new record? What’s in the works coming up for you in the New Year?


Michael Shouse: Not currently. I would love to, but only if I can get signed by a label or company that could put me out there with someone. I’m a full time art teacher and there aren’t many local venues for this type of music. But, I would love to get a gig opening for someone on tour.

    “Alone on the sun” will be part of a compilation CD called, Gods of Indie Guitar 2011, which will be out in the next couple of months, so I’m excited about that. Reviews, magazines and webzines are pretty much the extent of what I’ve done so far in hopes that someone gives me and my music a shot.


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4 out of 5 stars

 

   Over the years we’ve seen music slowly shift its emphasis away from solid musicianship to other more marketable skill sets. Fact is most of the biggest hit’s in 2010 were nothing more that creative sampling, via a BOLD IN YOUR FACE MIX with an artist that possessed many cosmetic heavy attributes. Kind of like Ramon noodles for the ears. I don’t have to mention the names – you already know the usual suspects. True – there is a time & place for a marketable song, but what’s even more disturbing is even even Hard Rock has shifted it’s empathies over to  shall we say the “Light Side” delivering Power Pop music that is over polished, clean cut & highly corporate in nature Whatever happened to Sex Drugs & Rock n Roll?  It got transformed into Condemns, Vitamins, & Nickelback. Oops looks like I did call someone out. Sorry folks but you can’t mention Motley Crue, Nirvana & Nickelback in the same sentence. Well I just did it but it was to make a point.

    So across my desk slides the new CD by Guitarist Michael Shouse or (SHOUSE) for short. What I heard put a smile on my face, finally an artists that finally gets it. Alone on the Sun by Shouse is some of the best new music I’ve heard in quite some time delving full tilt rock n roll that takes no prisoners. You want hard rock, you want musicianship that is packed to the hilt with high adrenalin? Look no further. This CD covers all the bases delivering solid playing & amazing songwriting & music that just lets it all hang out.

    Alone on the Sun by SHOUSE takes us back to the early & late nineties hey day of guitar driven rock. It’s a polished sounding musical production but doesn’t sound overly corporate & is served hot to the touch with great playing, solid writing, & a jagged edge musical delivery. It’s definitely a musical production that gives us a breath of fresh air & takes us back to our glory years before everything started sounding like – well Nickelback. 

 

- Sydney Wilson  (Skope Magazine)  http://skopemag.com/2011/01/19/shouse-alone-on-the-sun



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This is a first class effort from the music to the CD packaging. This enhanced CD even features a music video and tabs to play along with the title track "Alone on the Sun."

The video was a little cheezy, but the CD more then made up for the video attempt.

Shouse reminds me of the world most noted shredder Joe Satriani. He even took on the same look with the shaved head, sunglasses. Shouse does play Carvin guitars not Ibanez, but who's keeping score? I didn't notice if he had on the sneekers. The one noticeable difference between Satch and Shouse is when the two tried to sing. While Joe attempted to sing on the "Flying in a Blue Dream" release, Shouse actually isn't attempting....Vocally, he can flat out bring it! (**) Combining elements of southern rock to his vocals takes a few of his songs away from the Satriani proto-type and gives some depth and relaxation to a music format that can be a bit fatiguing on the listener after 45 minutes of 30 notes per second arpeggios. Shouse even puts in the classic Satriani power ballad (which I might add was a great song). My personal favorite was "You can Fly" because it was so Joe.

Did the studio make the listening experience better? Did the studio make it worse? One thing Shouse never quite copied was the signature tone of Satriani. Shouse sounded great overall but at times I felt his guitar was a little thin in the mix. Vocals where excellent and the sound stage was spot on.

Final conclusion. Overall, this was the work of a true shredder. Shouse has the chops and isn't afraid to use them. This CD gets 4 1/2 stars. I took a half point off for how the guitar sounded in the mix on a couple songs, but it was hardly noticed by the casual listener. I highly recommend this CD. Especially since Satch has spent the last year doing that God awful Chicken Foot CD.

  1. -Charles Harrelson  (Founder of EVOR)  www.evor.com


Footnotes (**) The lead vocals were done by Gene Booth, although I did sing backup, Gene is who he is referring to. Again if only he had read a little before writing.


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On the back cover he looks like he’s burning in the fires of the almighty, but the music just smokes with God-given fury. We’re talking about the 2010 CD from Kentucky based heavy metal guitarist "Michael Shouse", entitled "Alone On The Sun". Shouse’s music is definitely instrumental hard rock / heavy metal but it’s done well and he’s clearly put some thought into the packaging, design and music concept. The album features some fine backing musicians and there’s even a vocal track to add to the fun. The CD also features an enhanced feature, including a music video for the title track, guitar tabs and more. Commenting on his release, Shouse adds, ‘I haven't played another persons music in 22 years. I did however decide to learn all I could about the guitar and to be an instrumentalist when I first heard Satriani's "Surfing With The Alien." I loved how he arranged and focused on the melody but was also creative. My faves are Satriani, Gilbert, Wylde, Petrucci, Malmsteen, Vaughn. I’ve never learned any of their stuff, but have gotten ideas from listening to them. Every lick on the CD is an original lick. I have been coming up with them over the last few years. There are things on there that have never been done or attempted on the guitar. That’s why I wanted to put the tab on the CD. The guitar on the back of the CD cover is a 7 string Carvin, like all my guitars. All I play is Carvin. The 7 string is strung differently, it has regular 6 strings and the first string is a middle E string. It gives me 2 octaves of E next to each other, which gives me the weird licks on "The Arabian". Find out more about other reviews and the musicians on the CD on my site.' www.mikeshousemusic.com


  1. -Robert Silverstein    www.mwe3.com



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Shouse - Alone On The Sun


Lexington, Kentucky’s Mike Shouse fell for the guitar at the age of seventeen, seduced by the sounds of Joe Satriani.  It wasn’t long before he also found Steve Vai, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and several other icons of the classic and alternative rock and heavy metal.  Shouse dedicated himself to learning everything he could about the guitar.  Along the way he also developed his skills as an artist and became an educator in art.  These days Shouse teaches art, teaches guitar on the side and continues to write and play original songs.  His latest offerings are in the form of Alone On The Sun.


Alone On The Sun opens with "Bionic", a dynamic guitar-led instrumental full of vicious licks and runs.  Shouse introduces the song with a kitschy take on the opening monologue of The Six Million Dollar Man.  Shouse blends the lyricism of Eric Johnson and the fire of Steve Vai here, veering toward the heavier side sound-wise.  Shouse's pick work is almost maniacally fast here.  "Man Of Constant Sorrow" is a heavy blues/rock take on the classic blues tune; an above average take built around great pacing and an almost disturbing harmony mix on the vocals.  "The Arabian" is a guitar-led instrumental full of the tricks and traps of 1980's heavy metal.  The song is contemplative in its own fashion but prone to explosive outbursts and longitudinal riffs.


"Choices" finds Shouse engaged in more of a pop/rock instrumental with a decent melody.  For all of the focus on the lead guitar, there's a great deal going on here behind the lead for those who want to dig into it.  "Shock And Awe" is as dynamic as the title implies.  You could see this being used as the soundtrack to a wartime propaganda film on one of the major news networks, or perhaps even concordant to a flight scene in Top Gun 2.  "You Can Fly" shows off Shouse's mellower side without losing a lick of energy.  This quiet moment precedes the technical brilliance of "Dead In Memphis", which opens with a Memphis blues/rock riff and moves quickly into a straight-ahead rocker with influences courtesy of Eddie Van Halen.  Shouse goes to town here, perhaps his greatest moment of abandon on the album.  Alone On The Sun closes with "For Alex", a lyric instrumental that sounds like incidental music from a 1980's Rat Pack film.


Shouse proves his guitar chops on Alone On The Sun, a surprisingly engaging album considering its focus on primarily instrumental rock tunes with guitar lead.  Such releases often are highly self-indulgent and self-referential.  Shouse avoids this trap, staying centrally focused while nurturing each arrangement to its fullest potential without losing the guitar focus.  That's not to say that Shouse excels at every step, but even the less exciting moments are eminently listenable.


Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)

Wildysworld.com


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Sounds like:   Joe Satriani on steroids


The Artist I recently checked out the latest CD from guitar wizard Michael Shouse entitled Alone on the Sun. Turns out Shouse comes to us from Lexington, Kentucky.  He is one of those composers out there that is instrument oriented – in his case the guitar. As to be expected the guitar is the focal point of this music.


The Band Standard 4 piece line-up which includes Shouse of guitar, Gene Booth on vocals & a barrage of session players. I would say he possesses above average to advanced rock playing abilities.  Make no bones about it folks Shouse is a shredder delivering amazing guitar rhythms & solo guitar work that breaks the sound barrier. Timing is spot on within the hard rock grooves. Vocals from Booth are rock solid. The Music possesses a heavy metal to hard rock stigma. All in all great workout music. Definitely high adrenalin rock with a late eighties, early nineties flair. The Songs All pieces are progressive & dynamic delivering aggressive guitar attack against solid low end rock rhythms. The Vibe Overall dark, powerful, loud  & at times explosive. Simply put  - music that is in your face & full of musical curve balls & cool off time signatures type stuff. The Production is professional grade, though I gave Shouse a low mark here because it feels like it was released in 1988 or 1995. Though I liked it, this CD is not the most marketable record  I've ever heard. The Good Honorable mentions go out to the above average playing abilities from Mr. Shouse & Company. Guitar enthusiast & gear heads will not only love the Mach 4 speeds, but the technically savvy playing of all the members involved. The Bad CD sounds like it’s stuck in the 80’s with a Hair Metal vibe that just isn't as popular as they used to be. There are powerful bands out there nowadays who have made the successful transition. The Ugly Souse should consider doing the same & modernizing his sound a bit for the next CD.


The Verdict From beginning to end Alone on the Sun will not only keep you on the edge of you seat, but will melt your face off in the process The Bottom Line If you need high octane music to work out to - look no further.


Markus Druery


Indieshark Music Critic


http://www.indieshark.com/Michael%20Shouse%20CD%20Review.html


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Instrumental shred guitar albums are a lot rarer these days than they used to be and for good reason. At one point in time you couldn’t blink without seeing another shred album and eventually they all began to make each other irrelevant. 2010 is a good time to bring out an album such as this because as hard rock and heavy metal are going through somewhat of a commercial resurrection, shred guitar is all of a sudden back in fashion.


Mike Shouse has been playing in and out of bands of varying degrees of success for the past twenty years, and has only now decided to create and release something entirely his own. His obvious influences are clear enough, with ALONE ON THE SUN sending obvious cheerios to guys such as Joe Satriani,  Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen, John Pettruci and even Carlos Santana. There are obviously other musicians who have inspired elements of this album but those guys are the easiest to hear without trying too hard. There are a couple of little things on offer here to break up the monotony that these type of albums are usually criticized for, especially in the sci-fi influenced intro that really helps give the album some reason, also there are two songs that feature vocals contributed by Gene Booth, who I must admit is someone I have never heard of. Another point of interest novelty wise is the fact that three different drummers and eight different bass guitarists where hired for the sessions and all swapped around to ensure that no two songs on the album feature the same three musicians. I’m not sure whether this makes that much difference, but I’m sure it would have been a lot of fun in the studio.


As far as shred guitar albums go there really isn’t much to say other that most of the music here is done quite well if not a little robotic in nature at times. No doubt Shouse is a spectacular guitarist that is probably only a small bit behind the giants of the shred genre, but the actual songwriting is occasionally lacking and it does feel that technical ability was rated higher than song structure at times during the writing period. The more enjoyable aspects of the album are actually the occasional times that the foot comes off the pedal a little bit for some jazz or flamenco inspired guitar pieces, but that’s not to say that the shred assault isn’t welcome, as it most definitely is.


If you aren’t a fan of technical guitar showcase albums, ALONE ON THE SUN will certainly not change your mind and should be skipped, but for any budding guitarist out there, or any fans of Vai and Satriani, this album will certainly tickle your tastebuds and is easily worth the admission price.


Written By ZeeZee (myglobalmind.com)  (Australia)


Rating : 7/10


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   A mostly instrumental genre bender; shred guitar, metal, rock, and some blues all on one album! Michael Shouse pulls triple duty on guitar, keyboards, and backing vocals throughout Alone On The Sun. Shouse is joined by bassists Trip Wamsley, Sean Taylor, Scott Hubbell, Alun Vaughan, Kyle Honea, Byron Santo, Josh Kerr, and Travis Nichols. Drummers Charlie Zeleny, Joey Sanchez, and Diego "Grom" Meraviglia; and vocalist Gene Booth.


    Shouse does an incredible job at taking shred guitar into new place... shred style blues anyone? And one better on Shouse, while showing shred guitar versatility with genre cross-overs most wouldn't expect, he does it well. Too many musicians attempt cross pollination but come off sounding half-assed. The only thing you'll find with Alone On The Sun is balls to the wall musicianship from Shouse and friends.


Choice cuts are "Bionic", "Dead in Memphis", and "Don't Remember Me".


Alone On The Sun gets a solid 4 out of 5.


  1. -Michael Meade        www.tasteslikerock.com/reviews.html


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Single critique by TAXI.com for “Man of Constant Sorrow” from the album “Alone on the sun.”


Style - "sounds to me like a combination of flamenco and grunge, which is an interesting way to present this wonderful old chestnut."


Melody - good music in verses and memorable "hook"

"The Melody line has a yearning quality that really tugs at the heart strings."


Structure - well written structure

"I like how your arrangement builds in intensity as the performance unfolds."


Lyric - first line makes me want to hear more, engaging, cohesive, good use of imagery, rhymes well, communicates emotion to listener, vocal helps to sell song

"The lyric is genius, and it's made more powerful by the fact that the vocal performance sounds so compelling."


Title - "I've always thought this song has a wonderful title. Its so incredibly evocative."


Overall Comments: " Michael - This is such an interesting way of arranging this classic old tune. The song actually lends itself well to a grunge style arrangement. I love that you've chosen to carefully build the dynamic as the performance unfolds. By the time the whole band is in the arrangement really sounds intense. Of course, it helps that the vocal is so convincing. It really inhabits the narrative. I believe what is sung, and that's important, especially since this is a cover song. In terms of technique, the instrumental performance seems pretty flawless. You've obviously surrounded yourself with some seriously talented musicians. The quality of the recording is also extremely professional. To be honest, there isn't anything about the track that doesn't seem impressive. Nice job!!


Rating overall - 9 of 10 www.taxi.com


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Album Title: Alone On The Sun

Artist: Shouse

Reviewers Name: Matheson Kamin

Rating:  5 stars (out of 5)

Title of Review: Band creates the complete package with the debut release.


 

Review:


Michael Shouse is a Kentucky-based guitarist who has been influenced and inspired by the likes of Vai, Satriani and Belew, among other instrumental rock guitarists. After taking notes from the guitarists who preceded him, Shouse now has the knowledge and ability to teach his predecessors a thing or two about guitar playing (when he isn’t actually busy teaching the next wave of guitarists to play).  


Just recently, Michael Shouse went into the studio and recorded his newest mostly- instrumental rock album. The newest release from Shouse is entitled Alone On the Sun. Like most rock guitarists who spend their time creating rock instrumental albums, Shouse creates his music by incorporating, not only rock, but also other genres into the songs, as well. The first track of Alone On the Sun, “Bionic” (along with containing a clever parody of The Six-Million Dollar um…….. Guitarist, as the intro), includes a few hints of heavy metal, as does “Shock And Awe”. And the songs “You Can Fly” and “For Alex” have a jazz-like vibe to them.


In the process of recording the tracks for Alone On the Sun, Shouse enlisted a group of eleven musicians to help create the release. Together, Mike, the three drummers, and eight bassists would combine together to create twelve unique trios (containing guitar, bass and drums), one for each track on the album. Having one unique musical outfit for each song ensured that each track would have its own unique sound and personality. This also guaranteed that each song would sound fresh, since no three musicians created more than one song on the album as a group.


While eighty percent of the album is instrumental, there are two tracks that feature vocals. For those tracks, Gene Booth joins Shouse on vocals. Booth provides the vocals for the power ballad “Don’t Remember Me,” and on the song “Man of Constant Sorrow,” the song most recently recognized from the movie Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?

With Shouse having grown up in Kentucky, it seemed only natural to have included just a little bluegrass flavoring to the album; although, with the arrangement of the song “Man of Constant Sorrow,” you’d hardly recognize the song as being a tune that has been recorded and performed by many bluegrass artists over the years. Shouse not only is a very good musician, but this track also proves he has the skills as an arranger, as well.


Shouse recorded the vast majority of Alone On the Sun while he was using an electric guitar. There are, however, a few quickly passing hints on the release where the guitarist shows his playing ability and technique on the acoustic guitar. You can hear all-too-few bars where the acoustic carries the momentum on “You Can Fly”. With “Man of Constant Sorrow,” the first ninety seconds of the song feature the acoustic as it creates the familiar structure to the bluegrass standard before Shouse changes the feeling of the song by adding the electric guitar to the mix.


The guitar is Michael Shouse’s instrument of choice. So, Alone On the Sun was created in a way to showcase Shouse’s strengths as a guitarist. However, there are some instances where you can also hear Shouse adding a few embellishments to the music by playing the keyboard on part of the title track. Although the brief time the keyboard is part of the mix, you can tell that Shouse is a multi-talented musician.


If the impressive body of music that makes up the album of Alone On the Sun by Shouse isn’t enough for you, the extras included as part of the CD-Rom part of the package should make the album worth checking out. As part of the computer side of the release, you get the video for the title track to the album, and you also get the charts to learn to play the songs that are included in the release. The tablature for the disc is almost like having one-on-one sessions with Michael Shouse himself.


Hard rock heavy metal, jazz, and even hints of bluegrass all help to help Michael Shouse to create a varied and entertaining new release. If rock guitarists make up a large part of your music collection (or even if they don’t), Alone On the Sun by Shouse is definitely worthy to be added into that collection.



Review by Matheson Kamin, Ariel Publicity   -     www.reviewyou.com(US)


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   Alone on the Sun is reminiscent of a party that has long since ran its course, but leaving behind in its wake is some of the most impressive solo guitar work to ever come off the assembly line. This CD is a solid statement from start to finish and has a classic Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Jennifer Batten, Tony MacAlpine, rock feel to it. I would classify this music as Progressive Hard Rock with a strong emphasis on the guitar. You’ll find catchy melodies layered everywhere, & of course guitar solos that will make your head spin. Logging in at just over 44 minutes, the CD kicks things off with “Bionic” a dynamic intro piece that serves up dynamic progressive rock crescendo delivering aggressive guitars, driving rhythms, & sizzling guitar work from Shouse. Track 2 “Man of Constant Sorrow” shifts gears a bit with mesmerizing acoustic guitar intro, eventually lending itself to progressive rock explosion delivering full tilt guitar, sizzling bass lines, & Layne Staley type vocal delivery from singer Gene Booth. Track 3 “The Arabian” serves up more 80’s type rock rhythms complete with Eruption-type into with arpeggios that will put your jaw on the floor. The music has everything you would expect from a production of this flavor, including music that is rock driven but in itself very progressive, dynamic, & explosive. Shouse also brings to the table many impressive session players including 4 drummers, 7 bass players, which provide a lot of musical variety via the 3 piece standard. But getting back to Mike S. – note for note, song for song his guitar showmanship will command your respect, & is highly diverse, melodic, & served hot to the touch. Sometimes hitting hard, while other times delivering a classical progressive rock flair – he’s fearless & pretty much lets it all hang out. Make no bones about it folks Mike Shouse knows how to play guitar. From passionate “Alone on the Sun” to explosive ”You can Fly” to dark “Shock & Awe” to the bluesy “Choices” to dynamic “Alone on the Sun” & “Dead in Memphis” this CD pretty much has it all. The CD ends with a tranquil “For Alex” a peaceful melodic rock ballad waving you in for a safe landing.

    “Alone on the Sun” has the aftertaste of a vintage 80’s early 90’s musical production. Perhaps it was released 20 years too late? The year is 2010, & although the music scene has changed dramatically over the past 20 years, there are still artists like Mike Shouse who somehow manage to re-invent himself amidst all the Guitar Hero hype & manage to pull it off somehow. I also don’t like the way the snare sounds on Track 1. All songs over 4 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. I don’t like the way Track 3 fades out.

    From start to finish “Alone on the Sun” CD is one hell of a ride. The strong suit is clearly the guitar showmanship, melodic delivery & overall musical consistency. This CD will be a joy for guitar enthusiasts out there who enjoy technically savvy guitar, shredding solos, & a classic 80’s late 90’s rock vibe. So if you like your guitar served hot to the touch, with solos that are fast and furious, "Alone on the Sun" belongs in your hands right now.


  1. -Cyrus Rhodes, Indie Music Digest (www.indiemusicdigest.com)


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   Shouse swings hard out of the gate with the power punch "Bionic"  ( intro'd by a cool shout out to the great Steve Austin). Tracks to follow are equally hard and melodic. Case and point is "Choices", a bit mellower fare, still, this track rocks hard. Another guitar-iffic track is "You Can Fly", with killer riffs and rockin' drums. The artist shows a good ear for this blend of instru-metal music. It's all over his "Alone On the Sun" cd, worth much more than one listen.


  1. -A&R Select Music Review (Hollywood, CA)


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   Mike Shouse is an “electric” guitarist in every sense of the word, charging out of the gate with the Six Million Dollar Man-inspired cooker “Bionic.” “Man of Constant Sorrow” features vocalist Gene Booth, who brings a Godsmack-meets-Chris Cornell quality to the piece. Shouse shifts gears for the Mediterranean-flavored “The Arabian,” and gets into hard-rocking bop mode for “Choices.”

    The title track smacks of Joe Satriani, where a killer melodic hook is developed along tandem guitar and piano leads. Shouse later takes respite with the acoustic-tinged “You Can Fly.” This is a well-orchestrated tune that really shines a spotlight on the guitarist’s versatility. “Don’t Remember Me” is another strong vocal track by Booth, its cynical lyrics addressing personal fate.

Shouse handles all guitars, keyboards and backing vocals with a strong roster of contributors rounding things out. Fans of guitar shred and wide-ranging six-string fireworks will appreciate this player’s considerable talents.


- Eric Harabadian, Progression Magazine(US)

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   Michael Shouse is a guitarist and composer from Lexington, Kentucky (USA) with 20 years of experience on his back. He is always studying new guitar techniques and is also involved in film making, sound editing, and writing for specialized magazines. On his first album, “Enter the Soul” (2001, Digitrax Multimedia Hazard, KY), he played everything from bass to vocals, helped by Jason Poff (bass on two songs) and Dwight Dunlap (drums and percussion). He also had a song - “Man” - included in the compilation “International Anthems: Vol. 1” (2002, CD Smash). For his second self-produced album - “Alone on the Sun” (2008) - Shouse employed an extensive list of session musicians (see below). Each one has a brief biography at Shouse’s homepage. As a man who was born and raised in old Kentucky (Southern USA), Shouse is deeply rooted in the musical tradition of his homeland, and his compositions are impregnated with folk, blues, bluegrass, and rock. But Shouse can see farther than his sunglasses will let him, and joins those old rhythms with new ones, cementing them together like bricks into a solid wall. The achieved sonority is a fusion of Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Electrified Blues and Bluegrass, with some Spanish scales inserted here and there – with similar musical styles of "Stevie Ray Vaughan", "Paul Gilbert", "John Petrucci", "Joe Satriani", "Zack Wylde" and "Marty Friedman".

    “Alone on the Sun” can be heard in a single spin. It brings 8 totally instrumental pieces and two songs that are brilliantly performed by Gene Booth – a man that incarnates the voice of the Southern Style. One is “Don’t Remenber Me” and the other is a new version of Dick Burnett’s “Man of Constant Sorrow” (1913). For those who watched the movie “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” by the Coen brothers, this is the song that makes George Clooney‘s fake band to achieve a tremendous success. It could be worthless to include a song that has been recorded by almost everybody (including "Bob Dylan" and "Rod Stuart"). But Shouse rearranges the old classic in the most creative way, executing it with a surprising Heavy Metal verve that turns it into one of the best tracks of the record. On the instrumental tracks, Shouse exerts his technical virtuosity with the precision of a guitar Master, building scaffolds of riffs upon which he elaborates long and exuberant solos, beveled to match each piece with precision – as done by Instrumental Heavy Metal guitar players of the 80’s and 90’s – but never forgetting the old feeling of the South. The guest musicians follow the cues left by Shouse and contribute with a secure rhythm section, without missing a chance to add something of their own.

    The best tracks are: “Bionic” (introduced by quotations of the old TV series “The Six Million Dollar Man”); “The Arabian” (with original use of bells); “Alone on the Sun” and “Shock and Awe” (with abusive use of pedal effects). Those who are fond of the Southern style will appreciate the equally good “Choices”, the ballad “You Can Fly” and the electrified boogie-bluesy “Dead in Memphis”. The album closes very well with “For Alex” - a neoclassical sad ballad.

    As suggested by the title, “Alone on the Sun” is really hot - and tasteful as a plate of Kentucky fried chicken with coleslaw salad – you can have it daily without ever getting fed up. Shouse is really recommended for fans of "Steve Vai", "John Petrucci", "Joe Satriani", "Marty Friedman", and other heavy instrumental guitar players. Band members and collaborators involved in Shouses’s project are:  Mike Shouse – all Guitars, Keyboards, Backing Vocals; Gene Booth – Vocals on tracks 2 and 9. Bassists, in order of appearance: Trip Walmsley  (track 1), Sean Taylor  (tracks 2 and 9), Scott Hubbell  (track 3), Alun Vaughan  (track 4),  Kyle Honea (tracks 5 and 6), Byron Santo  (track 7), Josh Kerr (track 8) and Travis Nichols (track 10). Drummers, same: Charlie Zeleny  (tracks 1, 4, 6 and 10), Joey Sanchez  (tracks 2, 7 and 9) and Diego “Grom” Meraviglia  (tracks 3, 5 and 8)...  


  1. -Marcelo Trotta (Brazil)  www.progressiverockbr.com

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In the world of hard rock instrumental guitar music you normally have those that can play with great technical precision, and those that write great melodies. It’s not too often that you get a player that can do both of those things, but Mike Shouse is definitely one that can.

   Upon hearing the first track (“Bionic”) of Shouse’s second disc, “Alone On The Sun,” you might think that you simply have a shredder, but it turns out he can do so much more. When Shouse is not playing in a flashy shred style, he brings an almost lyrical way of playing to these great songs. Songs like “You Can Fly” and the title track, “Alone On The Sun,” will have you singing. Almost all of these songs have great structure and amazing technical expertise. You can hear Shouse running up and down the fret board, but it always sounds like it’s going somewhere. So many shredders make the mistake of throwing all the great licks out there, but they have no rhyme or reason, no structure. Shouse never overplays and seems to stay focused on each song.

   My favorite track on the disc, “Shock And Awe,” is an amazing piece of work. I couldn’t begin to tell you how he gets the brilliant “wah-wah” effect (I would imagine it’s a pedal….) that sings the song, but it’s played to perfection.  This song seems to have a couple of verses, a nice solo, and then a concluding verse. It really is a wonder the way this guy constructs these songs, and I think “Shock And Awe” should be a blueprint for all hard rock instrumental guitarists.

   Many would compare Shouse to Joe Satriani, and that would be very fair. He is a lot like Joe, and to me that’s a wonderful thing! But make no mistake, these songs are all Mike Shouse, and there are a bunch of great ones on display here.


  1. -Scott Itter www.drmusic.org


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    "He sounds like 80s Steve Vai and he looks like modern day Joe Satriani (okay, so he sounds a little like Satch too). Southern-bred guitar instrumentalist Mike Shouse has jam packed his sophomore effort with catchy, toe-tapping, rock guitar inspiration. What was surprising and quite possible the best part of the album was the two vocal tracks (Gene Booth on vox) "Man of Constant Sorrow" and "Don't Remember Me." Both tracks mix gritty southern rock style with intricate and virtuoso guitar mastery Shouse's instrumentals are great, but his vocal tracks are that much better."


4 out of 5


  1. -George Dionne  http://www.rock-is-life.com/reviewsinbrief.htm


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    There are a lot of ace guitarists out there lately, including a flock who mainly prefer to let their instruments do the talking, in the tradition of someone like Jeff Beck, who was giving fans vocals-free platters back in the Seventies. Over the years, some axe-slingers have made projects of reinterpreting familiar songs with their fingers – how about “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” for instance? Ah, but for many aficionados, one true test of a guitarist's effectiveness is whether he does a good job of coming up with distinctive new tunes that engage and stick with the listener. A Guitar Institute alumnus named Michael Shouse carries on in the tradition of Joe Satriani and Steve Vai and others, by delivering both the shredded lettuce of lickage and the meat-and-potatoes of good beats and melodies, rounding out a satisfying musical meal for the discriminating rocker. One bold move is Shouse's use of a flamenco-style intro to “re-invent” the bluegrass classic, "Man of Constant Sorrows." Shouse went with some stock martial sound-effects to start “Shock and Awe,” which also features a satisfyingly-chunky bass line, and solid drumming from Charlie Zeleny. Michael Shouse is a new-age guitar hero who definitely deserves a listen.


  1. -Rob Swick (www.allaccessmagazine.com)


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.........’Alone on the Sun’ rightfully deserves to sit alongside the works of the guitar gods of this world. No, I’m not being held up by gunpoint, because Shouse’s playing is truly immaculate, and well, he’s among the few instrumental guitarists who have finally ensured that the production and band musicianship has leapt from ‘supporting’ to ‘playing with’ the lead guitarist (a truly miraculous achievement worthy of celebration). Through this lens, hands down, Shouse has excelled at his craft, creating an album that any instrumental guitar purist will drool over for years to come. And as much as I hate to say it, it’d be indecent to assign anything less than a 9.0 out of 10 to ‘Alone on the Sun’.


- Alex Jasperse (Canada)  (www.musesmuse.com)


    This is the last paragraph of a long review. You can read the entire review at

http://www.musesmuse.com/mrev-shouse-alone.html


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RATING - ****(4 stars)         


     "Mike Shouse is no newcomer and we can clearly hear that in this new album entitled 'Alone on the sun'. 10 very interesting and well structured tracks with a strong instrumental rock feel a-la Vai and Macalpine. Discrete production and good sounds. I will immediately mention 'Man of constant sorrow', sung by an excellent Gene Booth. A real rock song with Satch-like attitude. The melodic influences of Vai and Satch are also audible in the pleasant 'Choices' and 'Alone on the sun'. Excellent phrasings, never boring, please us with nice guitar lines instead of the usual super-virtuoso technical solos without feel. 'Shock and awe' is a great metal song, based on a very good riff. We also have a very entertaining boogie with 'Dead in Memphis' as well as the other vocal track 'Dont remember me', with the again excellent Gene Booth. What to say...an excellent record very well done, never boring and lifted by a true tasteful rock'n'roll. Bravo Mike ! Great album, a must have !"



  1. - Matt Cafissi / Guitar Chef Magazine (Italy)     www.guitarchef.cjb.net


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  Kentucky guitar slinger Mike Shouse looks like a cross between vocalist Rob Halford and guitarist Joe Satriani; thankfully he plays more like the latter and definitely doesn't sing. Reflecting influences which include Gilbert, Petrucci, Vai, Wylde, Vaughn and many others, Shouse has been at his craft for 20 years, and on his second independent release 'Alone On The Sun,' it certainly shows.

    Shouse definitely has his chops down. He can shred with the best; fortunately for us, Shouse has some genuine creativity. Tunes like 'Choices,' 'Alone On The Sun,' or 'You Can Fly' demonstrate that he can craft a whole song developing a melodic arrangement and also blister up and down the fret board. Shouse also displays versatility: his guitar style can move between hard rock and heavy metal within a song. When he does this he keeps your interest for what's next rather than simply reminding you that he's a lick busting guitar hero. Most of the greats already know that we know that they know that they can play; Shouse never over indulges to the point of false humility. I think he knows we hate that stuff. Yet, with that said, for simply amazing kick ass and sizzling fret work you can't beat 'Bionic' (if you skip the ludicrous intro) and 'Dead In Memphis.'

    Regarding the latter, realizing he's from down south Kentucky way, you would expect some of those southern influences in his music. It rises on 'Dead In Memphis,' 'Don't Remember Me', and on the best track, the reworking of the classic folk/bluegrass number, 'Man Of Constant Sorrow' (which dates back to 1913 and has been recorded by the likes of Bob Dylan and Rod Stewart).

    Additional positives would include the outstanding supporting cast Shouse recruited as backup, with my kudos in particular to drummers Charlie Zeleny and Diego 'Grom' Meraviglia and bassist Kyle Honea. The only significant downsides were in the production which was mostly uneven and even horrible at times as on the opening cut 'Bionic.' If it were not for the promise of Shouse's guitar work ahead, I may have not made it past the opening track.

    Overall, Mike Shouse's 'Alone On The Sun' is a solid expression of his experience, skill, and style as a guitarist. His compositions, though seemingly more of the same from another guitar virtuoso, demonstrate his ability to craft a complete melodic composition involving all participants and still soar on his guitar at the same time. Recommended!


  1. -Craig Hartranft www.dangerdog.com


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.......The wonderfully-monikered Shouse is a little bit of each, standing like an enflamed Vin Diesel upon the cover of Alone on the Sun with all the shadowed, pseudo-intensity one expects from this genre. Lathered with a thick layer of self-serving frenzy, Alone on the Sun is quite appropriately titled, sounding as if the work of an isolated artist with little perspective on their pet indulgences. The result is an album of high technical proficiency and tricky jamming.......Shouse is actually Kentucky-based guitarist Mike Shouse, who, it should be noted, has more guitar talent than fifteen men combined.


  1. -Kevin Liedel (Norway)     www.muzikreviews.com


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SHOUSE ‘ALONE ON THE SUN (INDEPENDENT)


    MIKE SHOUSE is the name of this guitarist, who sent me his CD ‘Alone on the sun’, which is featuring high quality instrumental guitar based Melodic Hardrock, although on 2 songs we can hear vocals. However, the main topic is of course Mike’s guitar. Mike is playing of course quite well, not shredding all the time like most players, but more creating melodies with his guitar. Must-have for the fans of instrumental guitar based Hardrock. Recommended if you’re into the LION MUSIC kinda releases. More info at: www.mikeshousemusic.com  and email at: mike@mikeshousemusic.com


(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


  1. -Gabor Kleinbloesem (Strutter Magazine, Holland)  www.strutter.8m.com


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Metal Express Rating: 7.0/10


    Alone On the Sun is Mike Shouse’s second Instrumental CD on an Independent label consisting of eight Instrumental tracks and two vocal tracks. One of the vocal tracks is a Rock version of a well known Bluegrass hit titled “Man Of Constant Sorrow.” Hailing from Lexington, Kentucky, it can be understood why Shouse decided to put the two vocal tracks he selected on the new album, especially “Man of Constant Sorrow.” After playing for twenty years and being versed in numerous styles of music to boot, this second Instrumental album by Shouse should be all the proof one needs to see how far Mike has evolved over the years. Mike opts to open his new album with a tune labeled “Bionic.” Luckily the third track “The Arabian” starts off better than its predecessors did. While clearly an Instrumental tune and nothing more, it has some substance to it and seems to go to different places throughout the entire tune. It has some pretty good guitar work by Mike in it as well. The bass and drums form a strong foundation for the tune and the repetitive nature of the bass line is one that sticks with you even after the song is over. “Choices” is a good track to follow up with and again shows the versatility of Mike’s guitar playing. This is a nice tune that shows many different styles of intricate guitar work backed up by some fine and solid drumming and bass playing. Some real nice guitar on that one definitely. The title track is next in line. When one listens to the title track of any album, one usually expects to hear something special or better than the other tracks on the same album. In this case “Alone On the Sun” isn’t that special that you can’t wait to hear it again nor is it much better than the other tracks. What is true however is the fact that more of Mike’s guitar work and style that hasn’t been touched upon yet shines through and blends nicely with some more fantastic bass and drum work. “Shock and Awe” opens right off the bat with a catchy guitar riff that is complemented with an equally persistent and deep pounding bass line that is a strong foundation or backbone of the tune. It allows Shouse to go off and wander with his six-string while a strong rhythm section holds down the fort. Mike has some more electric (no pun intended) moments in this one. One can hear some very soft yet effective guitar play leading up to the opening moments of the song that are way too cool to pass up mentioning. It’s nothing mind-blowing but it deserves notice.  “You Can Fly” has a beautiful sounding acoustic opening that’s a lead in for Mike taking over with his electric. This track has a very strange and unique bass line that doesn’t just end there. The drumming and the guitar work also take a hit. This is just a very weird sounding track from the time signature perspective. It’s not a bad thing in any way but takes some time in getting used to. “Dead In Memphis” opens with a bang. It has you rockin’ in no time flat with its energy that is hard to miss. Mike’s playing is interesting enough that makes one curious to see what he will come up with next throughout this track. The closing track is titled “For Alex.” Unfortunately not knowing who Alex is or might be brings us to a dead end as far as the title is concerned. The good thing is that the song has a beautiful sound to it done with just the right amount of feeling, much slower and mellower than the previous nine tracks but done in a very tasteful fashion. A nice surprise for the finish indeed. This sophomore project of Shouse has him performing all of the guitar work, keyboard duties, and backing vocals.  Shouse did all of the recording and composing at his home studio and used eight different session bassists along with three different session drummers from all around the world to aid him in the making of his latest release. The final product is what it is and will undoubtedly form different opinions by all who take the time to give it at least a once over. Is this record worthy enough that you must run to the store the day it is released…NO, but if you are a true Instrumental or guitar fan, it is good enough to pick up a copy for your collection. Happy listening!


  1. -GEORGE FUSTOS www.metalexpressradio.com


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Budotzi Productions

Music Reviews

Artist:  Mike Shouse


    At first you might think your on a ride at Disneyworld, when a voice from the past (Six Million Dollar Man) invites you to hear a bigger, better and faster Mike Shouse.  The first cut from "Alone On The Sun" is  a fret burning rendition of a song you may have heard before, but not quite like this.  An obviously well practiced guitar man, Shouse makes a fine first impression.

    With "Man of Constant Sorrow" we get a dose of a southern acoustic with a blast of 80's electric lead fills.  It's a catchy groove that may rock a few bars down south.  In "The Arabian" a Van Halen sounding guitar speaks to us over a "Kashmirish" backdrop.  Again this song accentuates the clean and quick finger moves of Shouse.  "Choices" starts off with a nice groove double octave lead.  This is definitely lead guitar music.  So if your a fan of Satriani, Johnson, Van Halen, I'm sure you'll dig the environment of this entire collection.

    The title track "Alone On The Sun" demonstrates the lead guitar prowess of Shouse once more.  Although I would love to hear a bit more vocal work in these songs,  they are still thoroughly entertaining.   "Shock and Awe" begins with a war going on, the sounds of gunfire with a deep chord structure underneath eventually grinding into an impressive strong performance on all levels.

    Don't let the beautiful acoustic start to "You Can Fly" deceive you, more fret melting action is soon to be heard.  Classy, and well produced there's not an inch of complaint.  Followed up by "Dead In Memphis" a ZZTOP gone insane rocker complete with the flat tire drum beat.

    Van Halenesque at first "Don't Remember Me" soon takes a hard edged life of it's own with strong vocals that match the composition.  I'll re-echo my thoughts again, more vocals on all of these selections would be a positive.

It's obvious over the course of this album including the final cut (For Alex) that Mike Shouse is a masterful guitarist with a knack for well groomed arrangements and guitar tones. 

    Mike Shouse is a multi-instrumentalist, and all around entertainer in many aspects including the movie industry.  Check out Shouse on sonicbids.com.  I promise there won't be a wasted minute.


- John Tenting

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  Mike Shouse is a guitarist from Kentucky. He has released this rather good new CD called 'Alone In The Sun' under the moniker of SHOUSE.  The self financed CD features eleven tracks showcasing Mike's tremendous style. Track one is called 'Bionic' and borrows its theme from The Six Million Dollar Man, it’s a fast and furious affair. 'Man Of Constant Sorrow' features vocals and is a bubbly guitar driven rocker. The song is reminiscent of L.A. Guns crossed with Jerry Cantrell. 'The Arabian' is another guitar work out, I hear a lot of Satriani effects on this track especially with the slight Eastern influences, very good instrumental. 'Choices' is a slower track, more melodic based and has a Y&T meets Satch vibe. Next up is the neo-classical/melodic title track 'Alone In The Sun'. This is a temperamental memorable track. I love the ambience of the song and the way the entire vibe builds quite quick, the only let down is the drum machine clatter which makes it a little tingly sounding, a good solid track, possibly inspired by Joey Tafolla and Michael Lee Firkins. 'Shock And Awe' is more of a fun rocker, a really cool vibe on this track clearly inspired by Satriani's 'Surfing With The Alien' crossed with Mattias Ia Eklund from Freak Kitchen. 'You Can Fly' is a rock-solid jam number, very melodic and interesting where 'Dead In Memphis' let the side down being a little off-putting and not going with the flow of the other material, seems to slog along more than go for the gullet and in for the kill. 'Don't Remember Me' is the second vocal led track, the vocals here are more raspy, this again is pretty catchy and as the song builds, it has a vintage edge laced against a modern feel, without doubt the best of the vocal tracks. Last up is 'For Alex' is charismatic balladic ditty oozing heaps of melody. For an independent release the production is a little abrasive. I feel it would be interesting to hear a jam-packed vocal led album than multi instrumentals because lyrically the vocal led songs have potential. 


- Nicky Baldrian, Fireworks Magazine, (UK).



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  This is a so called Enhanced CD: Meaning this disc contains extra’s such as a video of the title track Alone On The Sun and in this case, also the guitar tablature so you can play the songs for yourself - if you are proficient in playing the guitar and can read it that is. These extra additions to the CD were put on to make the album worth every penny, I would say. Although the black cover with red lettering on the inside hurts my eyes and I find it difficult to read the text, may be because the words appear to have a sort of a shadow.


    Let me take your attention to the man and his music. The man is Michael Shouse, a guitar player hailing from Kentucky in the USA. From what I have read and heard this must be his second solo album, for me it is a first acquaintance with Shouse. Main influences in Shouse’s music are great guitar players like; Joe Satriani, Steve Vai and John Petrucci. Co by naming these guys as influence and stating you could teach them a thing or two sets expectations high for the album.


    Thus my exploration of the album starts. I must say the album starts surprisingly with a nice twist. We hear narration telling us the doctors are able to recreate the man called Shouse, make him better, faster i.e. sounds like the start of a television series from my earlier years, back in the seventies - The Bionic Man/Woman and not surprising may be then why the track is called Bionic. Apart from the nifty start this is nothing more than guitar shredding. After hearing this song, I was sincerely hoping I'd get to hear better stuff.


    Second track on the album Man In Constant Sorrow is one of the two track that have vocals added - the rest is instrumental. Now there is no doubt that the musicians playing are all very talented and play their bits solidly, but I have to say that the vocal addition to the song did not improve on progressive rock sound. Man In Constant Sorrow appears to be nothing more than a standard, well played and composed Nu/Metal song. And I now start to have serious doubts as to do a track by track review of the album. Listening to the next track The Arabian made me definitely decide to not review track by track. Doing such a review would have me making the same remarks over and over again.


    The complete album Alone On The Sun is not bad, no not at all, in fact it is a decent album. If you are a real lover of shredding guitars you must absolutely try it. It’s worth a go, but if you’re not in favour of shredding nor fast guitar playing you better not.


    In realizing the album a whole can full of musicians were used: we have Gene Booth on vocals (track 2,9) – Charlie Zeleny, drums (1,4,6,10) – Joey Sanchez, drums (2,7,9) - Crum, drums (3,5,8) – Trip Wamsley, bass (1) – Sean Taylor, bass (2,9) – Scott Hubbell, bass (3) – Alun Vaughan, bass (4) – Kyle Honer, bass (5,6) – Byron Santo, bass (7) – Josh Kerr, bass (8) and Travis Nichols, bass (10). Michael Shouse plays all guitars and keyboards and does backing vocals.


    Concluding, Alone On The Sun is a good listen but that is it for me. My expectations have not been met, but then I am not very much into this type of shredding. I like instrumentals, instrumental guitar music but I expect to be surprised or at least taken on an imaginative journey, which I was not.


Conclusion: 6 out of 10


-GERT HULSHOF (Dutch)   www.dprp.net 

"Alone in the Sun" is (mostly) a guitar instrumental album that focuses on Mike Shouse's incredible guitar prowess as well as his ability to give his musical tracks various emotions, feels and atmospheres. There are a couple of vocal tracks here that work well but, interestingly, they don't work any better or any worse than the instrumental tracks ... and that's the real test for an album of this type, a test that Shouse passes beautifully.

Shouse's biggest talent is that he can play as fast as he wants to (and often does) but he also knows that fast isn't always the best way to capture the sound he's looking for. Instead, Shouse uses his guitar to give his music texture and attitude, to paint soundscapes that envelope the listener. Every single track here seems to tell a story of its own, often without any lyrics. Pretty impressive.

The vocal tracks are sung by Gene Booth and Booth does a fine job as well. If Shouse decides to do a full album with vocals, I'd recommend he keep Booth happy. The cover version here of "Man in Constant Sorrow" is a delicious highlight. I also especially like the first track, "Bionics," which includes bits of the theme from "The Six Million Dollar Man." Remember that? "We'll make him stronger, faster and better than he was before." That's not a bad review for this CD, either.

Also included in this enhanced CD is a music video for the track "Alone in the Sun," guitar tab and more.

- Scott Bolton   www.roughedge.com

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    Kentucky guitar session player, virtuoso and teacher Mike Shouse released his debut solo project “Alone on the Sun” in June 2010. This CD features 10 very strong compositions, which seem to focus on showcasing his versatility and virtuosity on his instrument, rather than forming a commercially viable product.

    The album kicks things off with a hooky, rocky piece that sets the tone for what’s to come. Initially I thought the spoken “Six Million Dollar Man” intro a little pretentious, but as soon as Shouse starts riffing and rocking out, it becomes clear that we are in fact witnessing a guitar demi-God launching into his initial address and “Bionic” is therefore, a very apt title for this scorching opener. Right from the start this CD rocks, delivering tune after tune of hard-hitting yet melodic anthems. By the time we reach “You Can Fly” we have braved an onslaught of the most amazing riffs and licks, as Shouse dances nimbly across scales and modes. “You can Fly” starts with an expertly recorded acoustic guitar, which then launches into an atmospheric groove, again pressing the right buttons and throwing the listener into a whole different set of emotions. The album continues to the end, delivering a consistent standard of material each and every time. Also of note is the penultimate track which has guest vocalist Gene Booth providing an excellent delivery and making this song complete. In some ways, it is a shame that he does not feature on more of this material, as I’m sure that his voice would compliment the guitarist rather than overshadow him.

    The CD is packaged in eye-catching flame and shadow graphics with fire reflected in Shouse’s sunglasses. The cover is wholly appropriate given that this work is totally “hot” however I couldn’t help but be amused by the designers decision to remove Mike’s derrière in order to fit in some of the typography!  

    Perhaps due to the fact that Shouse has crammed so much substance and energy into this album (so as to showcase his immense talent and flexibility in one disk) it represents the absolute antithesis of easy-listening. For this reason, I don’t believe it has much mainstream commercial potential other than for those who really appreciate the technical brilliance of what he has achieved. In other words; aspiring guitarists and musos, and those who turn away from the mediocre and mundane high-charting music in favour of the avant-garde. The distinct lack of vocals (or even space for vocals) deliberately sets it apart from the commercial rock genre.

 

    Overall this is an incredible debut album from Shouse. One which demands to be played loud! Mike Shouse is undoubtedly a demi-God of the electric guitar. His seemingly effortless licks, riffs and chops communicate to his audience and command our respect. If you are impressed with the work of acts such as Bozzio-Levins-Stevens, or crave the technical brilliance of Satriani and Vai, you will no doubt appreciate the work of Michael Shouse. I for one, will certainly await his next work with baited breath.

 

Your 10 star rating average –

**********  9/10


-Neil Thomas   www.rocknrollview.com

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Interview with Guitar Clinic Magazine


01-   Hello Michael, thanks a lot for the opportunity of the interview.  Please start by telling us how you got interested with music and who were your first  influences?

Thanks Rafael, and thanks to Guitar Clinic. Ive been involved with music, in general, for most of my life. I played the saxophone through school. When I was a senior in high school I saw the music video to Van Halen's "Jump" and freaked out over the solo and what Eddie was doing. Thats the moment I wanted to try gitar. A friend of the family let me borrow his guitar and amp, and I quickly picked it up on my own, learning from a VHS tape for beginners. My parents bought me a cheap guitar and I never looked back. In college I heard Satriani's "Surfing with an Alien" and I decided that I wanting to do that and learn everything I could about the guitar.

02-   Have you ever taken guitar lessons?
    
 I am self taught, but I did take some lessons on Classical guitar when I was in college. I loved it but saw no future in it. I didnt like or want to play cover songs and playing the classic master's peices felt like I was copying and not creating, which is what I wanted to do.

03-   Your newest album called "Alone on the sun" is very cool and we can see a lot of different influences. How did you come up with the idea for this album?

I never had any want to create an instrumental album initially. A close friend and guitar student, Alex Hudson, died in a car accident and I wanted to record an instrumental for his memory. That was the first track and it is the longest and last track on the CD "For Alex". A mutual friend, Travis Nichols, played bass on the track as well. From there I wanted to keep going and I recorded the CD over the next several months. The title track "Alone on the sun" came from the fact that I am an instrumental rock guitarist from the poorest part of Appallachia Kentucky and I am the only one in the state.

04-   How did you choose the vocalists for your album? Since you got two vocal tracks.

Gene Booth sang vocals on the CD. He is a good friend and lead singer for the rock band "Stitch Rivet". We first met when my brother and I shot a music video for the band. I loved his sound and asked him to record with me.

05-   What was the writing process like? Did you write the lyrics too?

I did all of the writing and recorded all the guitar at home with Pro Tools to a click track. I then got several bassists world wide to record the bass and after that I sent it to one of the three drummers on the CD. After I had all the tracks recorded, I took it to Nashville and had it mixed and mastered by Nashville great Billy Decker. It was really cool. I never met or even talked to any of the musicians other than through email. There are two vocal tracks on the CD. The first is an original rock version of the bluegrass classic "Man of Constant Sorrow" made famous by the George Clooney movie "O brother where art thou." The second, "Don't Remember Me", is an original song I wrote.

06-   What was the gear used on the album for the recording process? And what was it like?

I only use Carvin guitars and Marshall amps. I recorded at home with Pro Tools on my Imac. The effects I use are simple, Boss distortion and reverb, Crybaby Whah and Digitech Whammy pedal with Zoom noise reduction. There arent many musicians locally that I thought would fit the project so getting master musicians from all over the world was really great and each player brought their own unique style and sound which helped make each song more have its own identity.

        07- Your endorsee Carvin Guitars. Tell us about them.

I have played Carvin since 1992 and have never played anything else. No where can you find a better instrument, individually hand made, with the level of support as with a Carvin. The few times that I have had a pot go bad or I had some fire damage recently they always fix it back to new and usually only charge me shipping. I own seven guitars including 4 6 string electrics, one acoust electric, one classical electric and a seven string electric.

07-   Please leave a message for our viewers;

I just want to say how much I love Guitar Clinic and what you do for guitar enthusiasts world wide. I would hope that everyone checks out the new enhanced CD "Alone on the sun" which you can buy on numerous sites and on ITunes. If you buy the CD, it comes with the music video to "Alone on the sun", which you can also watch on Youtube and the guitar tab to the instrumental tracks. Also, visit the website www.mikeshousemusic.com and read the over 30 world wide rave reviews the CD has gotten as well as interviews and news. You can also download the tab and backing tracks for the instrumental songs for FREE!


 -Interview by Rafael Nery  (www.guitar-clinic.net)


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    The cover of Mike Shouse's CD "Alone on the Su"n looks hot. It's the sun after all. That might be cliche in some forms but it works here because the playing is hot. too. In other words, the motif fits. Mike Shouse is a wicked guitarist out of Eastern Kentucky and alumni of the well-known Guitar Institute of Technology in Hollywood, CA. He's also a guitar teacher at the Music Institute in Lexington, KY and columnist for Music Entertainment Magazine. The focus here however is guitar, lots of guitar.

    The CD opens up with a fun intro twist on the Bionic Man on the track "Bionic". If this has anything to do with finger dexterity on the guitar neck and speed runs I'd like to inquire on where I can get bionic fingers. The track is fast, upbeat and a great opener to showcase the essentials of what Shouse is all about. Track 2 is "Man of Constant Sorrow" featuring Shouse's friend Gene Booth on vocals in a demi Alice In Chains sort of vibe over some ambitious acoustic guitar strumming by Shouse. I should mention that there are a number of other players on the CD on drums and bass guitar, too many to list here but kudos to all for laying down a great foundation to support Shouse's guitar work. Shouse's playing is exceptional throughout the CD but a couple of other tracks that stand out for me are "Choices" and "You Can Fly". I dig Shouse's feel over the groove particularly on those songs. Honorable mention goes to "Don't Remember Me" which again features Gene Booth on vocals and the closing track "For Alex". The playing and technique on display here is definitely in the range of work by the giants in this genre (virtuoso instrumental guitar) and should be quite enjoyable for fans of great, fast guitar work.

     Shouse credits guitarist Joe Satriani (Heard Surfing With the Alien and it was all over.) among his influences which also include Steve Vai, John Petrucci and Zack Wylde. I'd personally add a little Yngwie Malmsteen in there,too. The influences are pretty clear; I can hear all in his playing though I think Shouse has carved out enough of his own style to avoid copycat comparisons. The CD is very well put together and I love the CD+ format that includes (when viewed on a computer) tablature (wow, how cool is that?), a video and other nifty extra content. Shouse's playing, packaging and the content are all top-notch. Well done.

     I have a very hard ear to please and I know I'm not the average, normal listener. "Alone on the Sun" is a really good album by a very talented guitar player. So what's missing? It's probably nit-picking but for me, the mix and production are solid but not captivating. All attention is on the guitar (obviously) and the drums are quite clear. Bass guitar, not so much unless one of the rare solo spots surface. I prefer a bit more clarity there. There are a few minor inconsistencies in the tightness of the band here and there, most listeners won't notice or care, but it may be due to having different players across the 10 tracks on the album. Those little details though make it just shy of the mark set by artists like Satriani, Petrucci (Dream Theater) but overall it doesn't detract from Shouse himself. Like I said, I'm nit-picking and the bar in this genre is ridiculously high. In a similar vein, some tracks have more depth and punch than others, again likely due to the variety of players on the CD and perhaps different recording environments. Give credit however to Billy Decker for mixing and mastering and also to engineer Brandon Schexnayder for maintaining a cohesive sounding album with several different drummers and bass players. Engineers often don't get enough credit for that. The other thing I would love to hear (and it's often common in this genre) is more dynamic nature and variety in the backing tracks. More tone changes or a bit of odd time signatures here or there really makes an instrumental song pop when the main focus is essentially one long guitar solo.

     Don't let my fanaticism over small details in the production detract the listener from the fact that Shouse is a phenomenal guitar player, perfectly adapted in this genre and style and "Alone on the Sun" is one entertaining album. I think Shouse will be around quite a while and all he needs is exposure (without too much sun). Now where do I sign up for bionic fingers to help my guitar playing?

 

J.D. Stefan (www.musicemissions.com)

Rating: 9/10

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Artist: Shouse
Album: Alone On The Sun
Label: Independent Artist
Website: http://www.mikeshousemusic.com
Genre: Instrumental, Guitar Rock
Sounds Like: Joe Satriani, George Lynch, Eric Johnson
Technical Grade: 9/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 9/10
Commercial Value: 7/10
Overall Talent Level: 10/10
Songwriting Skills: 10/10
Performance Skill: 10/10
Best Songs: The Arabian, Alone On The Sun, Dead In Memphis, For Alex
Strengths: Musicianship, Instrumentation, Songwriting

CD Review by Wes Boyd:

Lexington, Kentucky guitarist Mike Shouse teams up with a group of studio musicians to bring you his 2010 full length CD “Alone On The Sun”.  This is Shouse’s sophomore effort, following 2001’s “Enter The Soul”.  Shouse is an accomplished guitarist of over 23 years and has made a name for himself as performer, teacher, and artist.

The CD opens with a corny knock-off of the old “Six Million Dollar Man” intro which, admittedly, set my expectations for the work to follow very, very low. Happily, I could not have been more wrong.  I have long been a fan of Satriani, Vai, Johnson, and the like, and Shouse is a more than worthy entrant into the instrumentalist genre.  If another G3 tour was announced today and Shouse’s name was on the bill, I would buy my ticket with full confidence of a phenomenal show.

Shouse’s backing musicians shift for nearly each song, but their musicianship is every bit up to the standard that Shouse sets for each piece and the CD maintains a seamless feel despite the changing cast.  I especially like “The Arabian” as I can distinctly hear influences from George Lynch, to Queensrÿche, to Primus.  Not many groups can pull off that sort of amalgamation and make it sound completely their own. There is also a take on the American folk song “Man Of Constant Sorrow” which introduces us to Shouse’s vocalist for this CD, Gene Booth. And let me tell you, Gene brings it in droves.

Each song is well written, thought out, and holds you to the end.  A trained ear can tell the recording was done at a smaller independent studio, but overall the disc sounds great and I actually enjoy the independent studio sound.  It’s very dynamic and not overly glossy like a lot of today’s releases.  Mike’s guitar tone is dripping over with that signature Marshall tube warmth, the bass guitar is sonically huge, while clear and driving without being over bearing, and the drums are captured very, very well and spread across the stereo field in a very natural sounding manner.  You’d be hard pressed to find a better sounding independent release.

It’s difficult to really find anything wrong with this CD.  My only complaint, and with Shouse’s chops it’s not really a complaint, is that Gene is only featured on two songs.  That guy has some serious pipes and I am going to have to see if he has any more work out there. Unfortunately, with all of this wonderful tone and musicianship, Shouse will probably find very little mainstream success in commercial rock and roll as the iPod listening masses out there have very little interest in musicianship of this caliber.  I would not be surprised someday to learn of a large “underground” following of super-dedicated fans, but odds are you will never see Shouse in regular rotation on MTV…and in my opinion that is just fine.  If you think bands like Nickleback, Kings Of Leon, or, Seether are great and pay top dollar to see them every time they roll through your town, you probably wouldn’t appreciate musicians at the level of Shouse and his collaborators. But if you long for the days of actual guitar hero’s Mike Shouse will not disappoint.  “Alone On The Sun” is a very solidly written and recorded disc.  Trust me, once you get passed the intro you are in for one hell of a guitar driven ride.

 

  1. -Wes Boyd (http://carlitoreviews.wordpress.com/)


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SHOUSE "Alone on the sun"


4 Stars ****


    Prolusion. US guitarist Michael SHOUSE is based in Kentucky, where he has been a guitar teacher for a number of years. In addition, he has contributed to articles and guitar lessons for online sites and magazines. His first venture as a recording artist, "Enter the Soul," appeared back in 2001. "Alone on the Sun" is his second full-length album and was issued on his own label Spektrum in July 2010.

    Analysis. Albums instigated and issued by guitarists are a mixed bag, to say the least. Most of the musicians are highly skilled at what they do, and on a pure technical performance level it's hard to put a finger on the nature of they have recorded, unless you're a skilled and knowledgeable guitarist yourself that is. They tend to have a decent mix and a production for their endeavors too, and as such if merited on a superficially technical level only they should all be given a high rating. The commercial make-or-break for such projects resides elsewhere however, in the ability to craft pieces that are accessible yet also showcase the virtuosity and skill of the instrumentalist. And while I doubt if that is the aim of every guitarist who issues his own album, I'm pretty sure that quite a few dream of accomplishing just that. In the case of Michael Shouse we're dealing with a guitarist whose basis is in metal. He knows his shredding, neo-classical and melodic soloing from a to z and he has nifty fingers of the kind that will make wanna-be guitar gods think hard and long about just how much practice they will need before becoming accomplished themselves. Shouse could most likely walk into a free spot in most active metal bands today as far as skill and variety are concerned. Be it old-school hair metal, thrash or modern heavy metal, he knows the chops, riffs and soloing approach needed. This disc showcases his skills as an instrumentalist rather well, and on some occasions early on we're also treated to some really nice endeavors of the kind that made Satriani big a couple of decades ago: pace-filled, energetic pieces that manage to encapsulate the technical virtuosity within engaging and compelling themes. I'd pull out Shock and Awe as the best example of just that, with Choices and title track Alone on the Sun as the other excursions here that made me raise my eyebrows for aspects beyond mere technical performance. All of this is to my ears not too far away from vintage Satriani as far as the guitar and drum arrangements go, but with some nice touches in the bass guitar department as additional traits, and for the first in this trio for some unexpected compositional developments to, which I don't come across that often. The rest of the material is more of a hit and miss affair. Many pleasant tracks with just a bit too much emphasis on technical performance to really engage me, while the frantic boogie of Dead in Memphis and the dream-laden acoustic guitar and soloing workout that ends this disc, For Alex, didn't quite work as far as my musical tastes go.

    Conclusion. If you enjoy albums issued by guitar players in general and metal guitarists in particular Shouse has made a fine effort with "Alone on the Sun". Perhaps a tad too oriented on technical performance to make a grand impact on casual listeners, but those who like to immerse themselves in such productions should find this CD to be a very good example of this type of album.


  1. -OMB=Olav M Bjornsen www.progressor.net (Uzbekistan)



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    Superb Straight-Up Rock Music! The opening track, Bionic, sets the tone for the entire Award Winning Album. "GOLD WINNER - BEST OVERALL by Gods of Indie Guitar 2011" (a quote from Melodic Revolution Records website) and I can see why.  The second track, Man of Constant Sorrow, has a refreshingly unique pace and a totally Rocking beat.  It's always a sign of a good Album to remember where each song is in the playlist and this is no different.  Song three, The Arabian, brings in cranking melodic riffs in an instrumental that I didn't even notice was an instrumental until it was over.  The Superb Composition of this Album is highly visible in The Arabian.  The fourth track, Choices, gives us back to back anthemesque, masterfully composed instrumentals.  

    Shouse riffs and style are unique from other Artists so the wow factor is already in place for the fifth and title track, Alone on the Sun.  Track seven, Shock and Awe,  is a Rocking groove with fantastic melodic riffs and excellent percussion's.  

    This has been one of my favorite Albums since purchased in January and one I listen to any time of the day or night.  This is Straight-Up Rock Music with a Melodic Groove that doesn't care about moods or which way the World is turning.  

    You Can Fly is no exception to the Album and leads into Death in Memphis.  Track nine, Don't Remember Me, is an Epic Albumesque tune with a Powerful message, Superb riffs and there has to be something said for Gene Booth's vocals which are simply put, "Off-the-Chart Superb".   The final track, For Alex, is a change of pace from rest of the Album and melodically slower but don't let the slow get in the way. For Alex guitar is Superb and his masterful guitar work is something to hear throughout the Album and I highly recommend this for any Rock fan.  It's a must have Album for the library and one of the best music purchases I've ever made.  


- Bruce W. Waren (www.powerofprog.com)


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