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Peppino D’Agostino, Stef Burns: Bayshore Road

That especially pungent cheese known as guitar wankery, whose smell is ubiquitously generated in Guitar Centers around the nation by jean-shorts-clad ax-slingers auditioning news ways to impress commission-hungry salesman, can be sampled in great stinking chunks throughout Bayshore Road. This acoustic-meets-electric CD is a collaboration between fingerstyle stalwart Peppino D’Agostino and Stef Burns, former six-stringer for hair metal mavens Y&T. Session man is as session man does, and since Burns has played heavily supporting others-including the pop-appeal likes of Alice Cooper, Pablo Cruise and, ahem, Michael Bolton-it’s not often his Stratocaster ever emotes a genuinely personal phrase.

The swaying, swelling “Inner Sanctuary” sounds like any generic Pacific Coast anthem made to back a cruise-ship ad, and the piercing, reverb-soaked wails of “Beyond the Dunes” are pure, empty melodrama. D’Agostino plays somewhat of a supporting role, laying the foundation for his partner’s excessiveness with plucky, overaccented rhythm. When D’Agostino does take solos, they are like Burns’: unmemorable and overrendered. It’s all too much, this show of hot licks and cold emotion. And if Joe Zawinul’s “Birdland” elicited a sickening feeling when you heard it on a Weather Report album, stand back.

Originally Published