Blues Bytes


October/November 2011

an associate

Order this CD today

Jim Allchin
Sandy Key Music

Jim Allchin

Jim Allchin’s debut CD Enigma was released in 2009, only two years after he decided to become a full-time musician and it showed a little of the potential of this guy. This latest CD, Overclocked (Sandy Key Music), takes the story forward to a new chapter, and shows how many facets this musician has to his repertoire.

The CD contains 13 original songs by Allchin, performed by the band, which consists of Jim Allchin on guitar and vocals, backed by Chris Leighton and Ben Smith on drums, Garey Shelton on bass, Ty Bailie and David Gross on keyboards, Scott MacPherson on tenor sax assisted by the New York Brass, and Glenn Lorbeck on rhythm guitar. Backing vocals are supplied by Martin Ros, Mycle Wastman and Keely Whitney.

The title track, “Overclocked,” is the opener, and unfortunately it opens up with some faux crackle as though it’s a ‘50s vinyl – this gimmick was done to death 15 years ago and I didn’t like it then, even less now! However, it doesn’t detract from some excellent music, a heavy rocking blues that sets the listener’s ears alight.

A jazzy “Willow Tree” follows, and this morphs into “Back In The Swamp” and then into another rocking blues “Don’t Tell me What To Do.” Track five, “One For The Money,” has Keely Whitney on vocals, and this shows her great voice to much better effect than you can hear on the backing vocals. She also handles the vocals on a later track, “Perfect Game.”

The CD continues with a mix of styles and tempos, before slowing down with the melodic closing track “Opening My Eyes To Love,” an instrumental that could easily have come from the Gary Moore songbook.

There isn’t really a strictly blues track on this CD, although there is some really proficient rocking blues, and it you like that style of music, then you will undoubtedly like this CD. The CD is also a good showcase for the talents of a very good musician in Jim Allchin.

--- Terry Clear

Being the technological doofus that I am, I first listened to Overclocked, the new CD by guitarist Jim Allchin, with nary a clue as to his identity. I had no idea that Allchin is a former executive for Microsoft, who stepped down in 2007 to become a full-time musician. Upon learning of Allchin’s true identity, it made no difference in my assessment of his talents or his latest recording……both are jaw-droppingly impressive.

However, Allchin is no newcomer to music. As a youngster growing up in rural Florida, working a dirt farm with his family in the late ’50s and ’60s, he was inspired by the music of Jimi Hendrix, and learned to play trumpet and, eventually, guitar. Struggling as a musician, he ended up going back to school to study Computer Science and found himself at Microsoft in 1990. After a health scare in 2003, Allchin decided to return to music in order to “make sure I do all the things I want to do.”

The title track opens the disc, starting out with a somewhat restrained guitar shuffle intro that suddenly explodes into a hurricane-force electric havoc……an excellent way to kick things off. The breezy, swinging “Willow Tree,” is next, replete with horns and smooth background singers and Allchin’s smoking guitar. “Back in the Swamp” is a catchy Chicago-style shuffle, while the feisty “Don’t Tell Me What to Do” is a Texas shuffle like SRV used to play.

The slow blues “One for the Money” is one of two tracks that features guest vocalist Keely Whitney (the other, “Perfect Game,” is a pop-styled duet) and a solo from Allchin that had to have left his strings smoking. “Fall” is a soulful instrumental and “Dr. J,” about a older musician sitting in with a band, rocks as hard as anything on the disc. “Mr. Unknown” revisits the days of classic R&B and allows Allchin a chance to show his formidable vocal chops. “Flirt” is an uninhibited rocker.

“Just Playin’ With Me” brings things back to the blues and redefines the word “uptempo,” with a wild sax break and even wilder guitar solo not far. “The One” is a cleverly-written slow blues, and the soaring instrumental, “Opening My Eyes To Love,” ends things on a lovely note.

Allchin’s guitar work is just incredible and his vocals are smooth. He’s surrounded himself with an impressive set of musicians, including Ben Smith and Chris Leighton (drums), Garey Shelton (bass), Ty Bailie and David Gross (keys), two marvelous horn sections (one in Seattle and one in New York), Glenn Lorbecki (rhythm guitar) and background vocalists Martin Ros, Mycle Wastman, and Keely Whitney.

We often see people that are successful in other ventures do vanity projects in fields that they’re interested in, but not necessarily gifted enough to pursue otherwise if they weren’t successful elsewhere. Rest assured that this is not the case with Jim Allchin. One can only wonder how much farther along his career would be if he hadn’t stopped momentarily to dabble in the computer software business. Blues fans and guitar geeks will want to get their hands on this disc immediately.

--- Graham Clarke
Read Graham's blog


[Pick Hit][What's New][Surprise][Flashback][Feedback][Back Issues][Home Page]


The Blues Bytes URL... 
Revised: November 21, 2011 - Version 1.00
All contents Copyright © 2011, Blue Night Productions. All rights reserved.