(Cross the) Heartland: Pat Metheny Group, “American Garage” (1979)

Probably the most rock-oriented track from Metheny’s early catalog (we’ll have to wait for Zero Tolerance For Silence or Imaginary Day to hear something like this again), “American Garage” definitely had me cranking up the volume.

Looking out over the long timeline of Pat’s career, it’s kind of strange to see him playing what can almost be described as “simple” music. Those opening chords carry a lot of weight, but they’re not exactly harmonically rich. But hey, I mean that in the best possible way. I have to, because I absolutely love the song.

Yes, the tension that quickly builds between each successive chord is released as the band drops away and Pat takes off on a short solo which morphs into the B section of the tune. Things really heat up when Metheny takes his next solo, particularly when the transition back to the introduction begins: this might be the only time I’ve ever seen Pat play an actual shuffle. No, I’m sure of it!

I’ve included a very early live version of “American Garage.” It’s just so much fun to see these guys actually rockin’ out, you know?

Up next: The Epic

[amazon_enhanced asin="B001EE8PO4" container="" container_class="" price="All" background_color="FFFFFF" link_color="000000" text_color="0000FF" /] [amazon_enhanced asin="B001EE4NU4" container="" container_class="" price="All" background_color="FFFFFF" link_color="000000" text_color="0000FF" /] [amazon_enhanced asin="B001BOX2YK" container="" container_class="" price="All" background_color="FFFFFF" link_color="000000" text_color="0000FF" /]

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to Jazz.com, Blogcritics.org and Salon, he writes several weekly features including the Friday Morning Listen, (Cross the) Heartland, WTF! Wednesday, and Sparks Fly on E Street. Follow him on Twitter: @msaleski. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.