Points North
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Points North

San Francisco, California, United States | INDIE

San Francisco, California, United States | INDIE
Band Rock Alternative

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"Points North "Road Less Traveled""

Points North is a instrumental rock trio comprised of guitarist Eric Barnett, bassist Uriah Duffy (ex-Whitesnake), and drummer Kevin Aiello, and their debut for Magna Carta Records is titled Road Less Travelled. These three are all seasoned veterans of the music scene, and you can hear all the experience, miles, and wisdom they've accumulated on the road and in the studio throughout this very enjoyable CD.

From the first song "Vast Horizons", you instantly hear the influence of Steve Morse and his two bands The Dixie Dregs and The Steve Morse Band. Barnett is an extremely talented player, whose lyrical style blends influences from Morse, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, and Eric Johnson. The songs the band have put together are extremely melodic instrumental rock tunes, instantly memorable and containing plenty of tasty soloing, mostly from Barnett, and rock solid rhythms. Barnett's electrifying leads on "The Phoenix" are jaw dropping, while other tracks like "Grace Under Pressure", "Barney", and "The Source" combine lush textures, jazzy sophistication, and rock firepower. "Steve's Morsels" almost comes across like a tribute to the Deep Purple/Dixie Dregs/SMB legend, as Barnett lets loose with a flurry of gymnastic, rapid picked solos and riffs that that has Steve Morse stamped all over it. On "Maiden Voyage" the trio settle into some serious prog-metal styled grooves, with Duffy and Aiello really locked into a tight rhythm and Barnett laying down a wide assortment of meaty riffs and fleet fingered leads. Damn impressive!

Road Less Travelled is one hell of an enjoyable instrumental CD from Points North. The band has been out on the road with acts such as Uli Jon Roth, Blues Traveller, Kings X, Eric Johnson, UFO, Michael Schenker, Al DiMeola, Steve Morse Band, George Lynch, Pat Travers, and many others in recent months, so chances are you might get a chance to see this hot band opening up for some of your favorites. If so, prepare to be amazed.

- Seaoftranquility.org


"Points North "Road Less Traveled""

Points North is an interesting trio of first class musicians, guitarist Eric Barnett´s style reminds a bit of Steve Morse and Eric Johnson, he is brilliant. You might know bassist Uriah Duffy´s name from his time in Whitesnake, on this album "Road less traveled" he gets to show what a terrific bassplayer he is. Behind the drumkit, they´ve got veteran drummer Kevin Aiello that back up the other two like a true pro. We´re talking instrumental guitar rock here in the same vein as Dixie Dregs, Dave Sharman and even Rush at times. They even got a song named "Grace under pressure", that one smells like Rush for miles. The opener "Vast horizons" is more of a fusion rocker and it´s also one of the best tracks here along with the energetic "High wire". Ohyeah, let the guitar do the talking!


- Melodic Net


"Points North "Road Less Traveled""

What musical masterpiece would have resulted had Eric Johnson continued in the vein of Ah Via Musicom? What fresh prog/fusionoid hell could have been unleashed had Rush focused on nothing but "YYZ"-like instrumental anthems?

With the release of their Magna Carta Records debut record, Road Less Traveled, the Bay Area-based instrumental trio, Points North, taps into our dreams and answers these burning questions by turning our sonic fantasies into realities


Spearheaded by guitarist Eric Barnett (a finalist in Guitar Player magazine's Guitar Superstar competition), drummer Kevin Aiello and newest member, bassist Uriah Duffy (Whitesnake, Christina Aguilera), Points North stands on the shoulders of iconic artists The Police, Rush and Dixie Dregs, but, as the title of their debut album suggests, clearly cuts its own artistic path. Simply put, Points North is a leading light of modern instrumental guitar music, single-handedly helping to revitalize the genre through their technical prowess, superior musicality and compositional skills.

Ranging nearly every human emotion known to man, tracks on the band's self-produced Road Less Traveled, such as "Vast Horizons", "The Phoenix", "The Source", "Maiden Voyage", "Sweet Solitude", "Grace Under Pressure", "Barney", and "High Wire" speak to where the band has been as individuals (and a unit) as well as where they're going. With themes such as rebirth and transitory emotional states, Road Less Traveled takes the listener on a kind of musical voyage.

"The title, Road Less Traveled, felt like a description to us," says Eric Barnett. "In this day and age of pop music, being in an instrumental band is, in and of itself, a statement."

"Points North was never designed to be what it is today," says Barnett. "It was always just the three of us getting together to play music we wanted to play and have fun with it. What Magna Carta saw in us spoke volumes about what our potential might be. I have to sometimes pinch myself that I get to play this style of music to audiences - Magna Carta Records


"Points North "Road Less Traveled""

Points North hails from California and consists of members Erick Barnett (guitar), Uriah Duffy (bass) and Kevin Aiello (drums). From reading the musicians’ autobiographies on their website, I expected them to crank out some impressive music. I wasn’t disappointed. Not even close.

They have an impressive list of equally impressive bands and musicians they’ve shared the stage with. But with the talent and accessibility found in their music, it isn’t hard to see why.

The musical talent on display here is simply stunning; most notably Eric Barnett’s playing. He sounds almost exactly like John Petrucci, in both sheer speed and how the melody is used in the major solos. He’s one of those players that makes guitar players think “I’m such a bad musician” after hearing him. I’m having trouble thinking of a song in particular that epitomizes this, but each one works to illustrate it. The bass playing and drumming are no slouch though, but one will have to listen hard to hear the amazing stuff they’re doing. Despite this, Barnett’s guitar steals the show.

Road Less Traveled keeps reminding me of Liquid Tension Experiment’s softer passages, as if the entire album is one of them after another. The songs still move along at lots of different tempos, but never are they metallic. This makes for a small problem; the songs are very similar to each other after a while, that you’ve had enough of hearing the same sort of thing. But they’re good enough to make you want to come back to them.

Their record label compared this album to Eric Johnson’s Ah Via Musicom and Rush’s song “YYZ.” I agree with them. There are definitely elements of prog rock all over, but it stays mild enough for anyone to stomach it. That is, people who can stand instrumental albums, as this is one.

Road Less Traveled is a great instrumental prog rock album that fans of prog rock, instrumental music, and virtuosic playing will love. It may sound a lot like an emulation of LTE, but at least it’s a good enough record to stand on its own.



Key Tracks: High Wire, Jubilee, Maiden Voyage

Daniel Erickson- Muzikreviews.com Staff

February 21, 2012
- MuzikReviews.com


Discography

Road Less Traveled - Debut Release
March 13, 2012
Released by Magna Carta Records

Points North Demo
2009

Photos

Bio

Points North creates melodic guitar-driven instrumental music, combining musicianship and a modern aesthetic with classic tones, song structures, and pop sensibility.

Some of the diverse and noted artists Points North has played with across Northern and Southern California include:

- Blues Traveler

- Eric Johnson

- Al Di Meola

- Steve Morse

- UFO (featuring Vinnie Moore)

- Larry Carlton

- Michael Schenker (UFO, Scorpions, MSG)

- Steve Lukather (Toto, legendary studio musician)

- Pat Travers

- Ronnie Montrose

- Gary Hoey

- George Lynch

- Uli Jon Roth (Scorpions, Electric Sun, Sky Academy)

- Eric Martin (Mr. Big, Eric Martin Band)

Who we are:

Eric Barnett

Eric Barnett began playing music at age 5 as a violinist, attending Manhattan School of Music and Juillard summer programs. After switching to guitar, Eric attended GIT in Los Angeles in the late 80's, and played and taught music there until 1991. In the early 90’s Eric worked in New York as a studio musician, including with noted performer/producer Kenny Vance (Jay and the Americans, Steely Dan). Eric has shared the stage with national acts as diverse as The Offspring, Henry Rollins, Ween, and The Lemonheads, and most recently (with Points North) the Michael Schenker, Uli Jon Roth, Larry Carlton, and Al Di Meola. Additional recent accomplishments have included an unprecedented 18 month stint as the Pro champion on the respected music competition site guitarwar.com, and recording the lead track for a videogame to be released internationally on Playstation and Nintendo Wii for Crave Entertainment.

In 2008 Eric was a finalist for Guitar Player Magazine's Guitar Superstar competition.

Points North represents a long time dream of Eric’s to develop the guitar as a lead instrument and primary voice.

Uriah Duffy

Not many musicians boast a range which encompasses everything from hard rock to hard funk and everything in-between: hip-hop, pop/R&B, gospel, soul/disco, neo-soul, indie rock, jazz-rock, blues/folk, reggae, house -- even a flamenco/metal hybrid. But stylistic restrictions and genre barriers go out the window when you’re talking about Uriah Duffy, who has recorded with and/or toured with artists and groups as diverse as Whitesnake, Christina Aguilera, Alicia Keys, Sly & the Family Stone, GQ, Goapele, Too $hort, Taj Mahal, Messenjah, Lyrics Born, Ledisi, Talib Kweli, Pat Travers & Carmine Appice, the Coup, Chris Clouse, Martin Luther, Andy Caldwell, Flamental, and the First A.M.E. Church.

Duffy’s seemingly effortless versatility, which allows him to shift from Larry Graham-esque slap bass to hightly-technical Jaco Pastorius-like jazz licks to headbangin’ Steve Harris finger-blisterers, has made Duffy a hot commodity in the musician community. His influence has been particularly felt in the Bay Area, where he’s been a mainstay of its heavily-independent music scene, and a connecting link between the region’s many different stylistic niches.

Kevin Aiello

Kevin Aiello is a seasoned, veteran drummer who grew up in the SF Bay Area. Having played in many working bands over the years covering many styles, Kevin brings versatility and an amazing range of musical knowledge to Points North. A long-time fan of instrumental music, Kevin's solid foundation and visually exciting approach is the perfect compliment and adds a fine finish to Points North.