Greensburg guitarist releases solo instrumental album, ‘Bold Horizon’
Drew Bentley of Greensburg is a self-confessed “tone freak” when it comes to guitars.
“I think it took me a lot of time to find a voice that is unique and worthy of being recorded,” he said of the sounds on his first full-length solo outing, “Bold Horizon.”
Bentley, 50, who has taught guitar lessons at Bentley & Romito Professional Music Lessons locations in Penn Township and Irwin for the past 14 years, used nine guitars to record the 10 tracks on the album.
“This was a mission to create the best possible product I could,” said Bentley, who has also won the Monroeville Guitar Center’s “King of the Blues” contest multiple times. “The sheer amount of work that goes into producing a record is just unbelievable.”
It helps that Bentley has a recording studio built into his business’s Penn Township location, where he produced “Bold Horizon.” He shares the space with a dozen music teachers, some of whom helped record the album.
Having started playing guitar in 1977, Bentley can draw on four decades of playing as well as listening to music.
“I’ve always loved instrumental guitar music,” he said. “Guys like Steve Vai and Eric Johnson are who I aspired to be,” Bentley said.
He doesn’t consider himself a guitar “shredder,” though.
“I play fast, but my favorite players blend different styles, which is something I did with this record,” he said.
Considering he began learning guitar just as the bombastic sound of 1980s rock music began to soar in popularity, it’s no surprise to hear its echoes in the chunky, distorted guitar of songs like “Distant Worlds” and “Muscle Car.”
“The Van Halen thing is definitely there,” he said.
But Bentley’s interests include jazz and classical music as well.
“My practicing is very specific,” he said. “I try to practice from 9 a.m. to noon every day, and it covers everything. I play Bach, I play jazz melodies. I also play in a wedding band, so we do songs in every possible genre.”
That versatility is evident in the lithe, jazzy guitar lines that snake through songs like “Daydreams” and the title track.
WDVE 102.5 FM has played “Miles Apart,” which is a showcase for Bentley’s blues chops, and he said he’s received a lot of positive feedback on the hard-driving “Muscle Car.”
Currently, Bentley is scheduling dates and putting a band together to present the album’s songs in a live setting, while still making time to teach more than 60 guitar students.
He hopes fans of any genre can find something to like in “Bold Horizon.”
“It rocks, but it has the feel of the blues and a little of the sophistication of jazz,” Bentley said. “All musicians are trying to figure out who they are, and this record is who I am.”
Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, [email protected] or via Twitter .