BTG reconstructs the Beatles
Mashing up bits of Beatles tunes into new sonic concoctions is nothing new, with George and Giles Martin's celebrated "Love" being the foremost example. But on Yesterday Never Knows (Hardwood), the Bartron Tyler Group crafted guitar-driven instrumental arrangements that also mess with the fundamental song structures, such as setting "Eleanor Rigby" to a Latin-inflected 6/8 groove and arranging "I Don't Want to Spoil the Party" for Duane and Dickey- like harmonized guitars. "Every song had to have some sort of angle to it" explains John Bartron. "Setting a tune in a different groove or meter allowed us to make these versions our own". For this album, Bartron deployed an arsenal of guitars that included a Lowden Acoustic, a Godin Multiac through a Roland GR-33, and a Wechter Pathmaker, and conjured Beatle-esque effects from a Line6 PODxt. Mike Tyler opted for a Parker Fly and an early-70's Gibson Les Paul Deluxe through a Boss GT-3 and a Vox Valvetronix amp, but also played an Epiphone Riviera 12-string and Oahu Diana lap-steel. "Most of the time we weren't concerned with duplicating the tones on the albums because our arrangements were so different for the originals", explains Tyler. "Instead, we would try to evoke the sounds that have become associated with the Beatles, such as an electric 12-string or a guitar through a Leslie." However they were arrived at, Yesterday Never Knows is chockablock with great tones and groovy guitar work, including gorgeous side work by Tyler.
The album opens with "I'll Follow the Sun", the melody of which is played over the "Taxman" groove. "We tried several different settings. the only constant being Mike's phrasing of the melody on slide," recalls Bartron. "We tried a half-time groove with a Luau feel, Travis picking the chords to 'Julia'- But nothing was clicking. Then, 'Taxman' came on the radio on the drive home, and when I hummed the melody along with it I knew we had it. We added the #9 punches, and for the beginning bassist Joey Fabian suggested a King Crimson-like variation, with Mike playing the intro riff in 6/8 on 12-string while I played it in 5/8 on acoustic". Tyler took the first solo playing slide on the Parker, Bartron added the warbling echo to his Lesile sound for the second solo, and the third solo Tyler played slide on the Epi 12-string. "The fourth solo has three different guitars with reverse delay, and the second bridge morphs into the acoustic environment of 'And I Love Her'", says Bartron. "For the finale we return to the Crimson arpeggios played an octave higher, while drummer John Hasty pounds out the solo from 'The End'- and the final chord just had to a major 6th."
The remaining arrangements are equally inventive, employing dropped-C tuning, bowed piano, solos tracked at half-speed to produce mandolin-like sounds, ambient recordings, and sampled Mellotron. "We were able to convey our obvious love and respect for the material while at the same time displaying a playfulness and spirit of experimentation that seemed appropriate for the tunes," says Tyler. "To me, the Beatles' willingness to explore any style of music that caught their fancy is one of the most enduring qualities of their legacy".
BARRY CLEVELAND , GUITAR PLAYER MAGAZINE
"BTG's "Yesterday Never Knows," — is smart, highly listenable and way off the scales with jaw-dropping musical acumen. It raises the bar on how to pay tribute to the most influential band of all time with reverence, adherence to historical detail and yet complete originality."
SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS
"BTG's Yesterday Never Knows is chock-full of inventive, irreverent, thoroughly modernized instrumental reworkings of Beatles classics that would make any fan smile and nod in appreciation. Imagine "I'll Follow The Sun" arranged with the rhythm section groove of "Taxman," an Americana-flavored, Bill Frisell-ish guitar soundscape, and a drum break borrowed from "The End," and you've got just the opening track of this highly enjoyable album."
BRYAN BELLER , bassist for Steve Vai, Mike Keneally, Z (Dweezil & Ahmet Zappa).
Like a Metaphor
"This is slinky, sexy, animated, and multi-textured instrumental music that effortlessly seduces listeners to undertake a journey of both comfort and surprise. While the CD played, I kept musing about awakening in a warm, sunny climate with some ravishing beauty who defined eroticism and sensuality. Not that this sort of thing has ever happened to me, but BTG’s music suggested what it might feel like if it ever did. The diverse and brilliant arrangements—which make evocative use of acoustic and electric timbres—are further enlivened by the exquisite tones and cagey phrasing of guitarists John Bartron and Mike Tyler. Everyone in the band (which also includes bassist Joey Fabian and drummer John Hasty) is obviously a good listener with a solid connection to the music and the idiosyncrasies of each player. For a moment of sublime beauty, check out 'How They Eat in Heaven,' and for a peek into the ingenuity and heart of the ensemble, listen to how the guys interpret the Beatles’ 'Don’t Let Me Down.' If you’re like me, Metaphor will become one of those treasured Sunday morning CDs that always seems to creep into the rest of the week.
MICHAEL MOLENDA, editor in chief, GUITAR PLAYER MAGAZINE
"At first I thought I was having a delayed acid flashback from some 70's Mr. Natural I took in a moment of weakness. Then I thought my cat Syd Vicious had gotten his tail caught on a turntable that was playing a Ventures album backwards. But finally I realized it was the BartronTyler Group playing and I could relax." (Will's appraisal of Like A Metaphor)
WILL RAY of the HELLECASTERS
Talking about Yesterday Never Knows... "These masterful renditions really surprised me. Interesting, beautiful, unique, and not like anything you would expect. The BTG slant on these tunes makes what is old, new again. This is really wonderful music expertly arranged and played!"
ANDY WEST, original bassist with the DIXIE DREGS.
"The Bartron Tyler Group kicks ass! We loved their eclectic style and
smooth grooves. We can't wait to have them back!"
BOB, GINA and DIBS, a.k.a. The Bone Morning Show, KSAN Radio, San Francisco
"This well produced, polished, energetic group CD melds perfectly with rock based music, as well as singer/songwriter formats. A favorite audience reaction band. Heads above other local acts in terms of professionalism and versatility.
"ROSALIE HOWARTH, Producer and DJ, KFOG Radio, Adult Rock, San Francisco
"Every once in awhile you get a CD that every time you play it, you know somebody is going to call and ask 'who is that?' The Bartron Tyler Group is not only frequently requested, they are constantly attracting new fans."
LISA ATKINSON, DJ, KKUP Radio, Cupertino, CA
Talking about Bartron Tyler Group live-in-the-studio performance: "Tangents has been on the air some ten years in the Bay Area and this is the best...the most impressive yet, I want to tell you."
DORE STEIN, Host of Tangents on KALW Radio, San Francisco
"Bartron, Tyler, and Hasty set a great example of dynamics, precision and flexibility. A large part of their fleeting, whimsical sound is the inspired play of John Hasty. He propels the group, at times like a tabla artist doubling on kick drum, at times like a funk player with off-beat tambourine, at times with a light touch like Danny Gottlieb on cymbals and snare."
MODERN DRUMMER Magazine
“Difficult to categorize their “Hardwood Music”- but the intelligent melodies, driving rhythms and tasty playing will put a smile on your face and a little space in your head.”
SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS
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