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Tastefulness and classiness of guitarist George J. Gilliam's new album lifts the spirit

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The album title refers to guitarist George J. Gilliam's gentle touch. The playing on Gilliam's new album Steppin Lightly defines smooth; the icy coolness in which he handles his guitar delivers a spellbinding effect that doesn't fade even when the record has stopped playing. Clearly this was an album produced with not only a sense of purpose but veteran craftsmanship and spotless chemistry as well.

Joined by bassist Donnell Lambert and drummer Donald Dean (the record is credited to the George Gilliam Trio), Gilliam surveys the territory between blues and jazz, effortlessly weaving the two genres together. On the opening track “Step Lightly," Gilliam's gradually enveloping blues riffs produce waves of atmosphere; they create layers of mood that are strengthened by Dean's snappy drums and Lambert's hypnotic bass. Gilliam's dreamy textures in “Falling in Love With Love" are awakened by Dean's startling pounding; together they capture the rising intensity of romance, from the warm whispers of infatuation to the banging heartbeat of true love.

The crystalline prettiness of Gilliam's guitar gives Steppin Lightly an unmistakable air of romance. “Laura," for example, is awash with a profoundly yearning vibe. No words are needed to describe the feelings of deep affection that Gilliam is conveying here. “Beatrice," too, seems well suited for an evening stroll in the park with a spouse or lover.

The tastefulness and classiness of Steppin Lightly lifts and invigorates the spirit; in addition, it cleanses the mind of any negativity, producing a sense of healing that is priceless.

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