The Paul Gilbert Get Out of My Yard instrumental guitar album from the year 2006 is the subject for today. Gilbert, founder of the band Mr Big and band member of Racer X, is widely considered to be a guitar virtuoso. His proficiency with the instrument is hard to match and it’s truly hard to dispute the fact that Paul is right up there with the greats although there are many out there that will probably refute the claims in this opening.
We live in a world where opinions are abundant, often overly abundant and a strong amount of evidence can be found for that by simply looking at the feedback of any album released by any artist ever.
So, it came as no surprise to me when I stumbled across a somewhat mixed bag of reviews for the Paul Gilbert Get Out of My Yard solo album the other day. I saw plenty of praise for Paul’s guitaring and I also saw some criticisms too.
“Paul’s mastery of the guitar finally reaches its pinnacle on his first full instrumental album.”
“Great stuff Paul. I’ve just about worn this CD out listening to it so much. Curse of the Castle Dragon and The Echo Song are my favourites. Other good ones are Get Out of My Yard and Twelve Twelve. A great album. Definitely worth getting.”
“Terribly boring. Some moments and tracks worth checking out, but definitely not worth a second listen. Just another guitar w***ery album.”
“The widdly widdly heavy tracks get a little faceless – and the variety of songs was, for a while, enough to batter down the walls of my former disagreements with the widdle master. Unfortunately, after revisiting other stuff of his I sort of rediscovered my dislike. Stuff’s alright but self-indulgent and fairly pointless. He doesn’t sing on this record though, which definitely makes it more bearable.”
The rest of the reviews were somewhat similar. It was all very polarised. It was either a masterclass, or mindless shred.
Truth is, I saw these reviews coming before the page even loaded. It’s like reading the YouTube comment section on a Yngwie Malmsteen video but to be fair, I think there’s more to it than “you either like this kinda thing or you don’t”.
There is such a thing as mindless fret burning shred which after a short while, becomes dull and hard to digest. So, what do we have here? Is the Paul Gilbert Get Out of My Yard album a masterclass crafted by a guitar genius? Or, is it just a bunch of notes? I’ll give you the truth.
Paul Gilbert Get Out of My Yard #1 Get Out of My Yard
The album kicks off with the title track. First impressions mean a lot and this was one hell of a minute and a half worth of first impression. Get Out of My Yard erupts with a powerful and meaningful showcase of perhaps what’s to come in the rest of the album. Less than two minutes in and jaw is already on the flaw. The opener is a terrific appetiser which leaves me ready for the main course. Pure a cappella badass guitar. The likes of which can only come from a true master.
Paul Gilbert Get Out of My Yard #2 Hurry Up
The second track on the Get Out of My Yard album is Hurry Up, a track that’s almost five times longer than the previous one. Is it five times as crazy? No. In fact, it’s almost the opposite. The track feels very eighth note driven and the beast is very much contained. There are some cool moments but this one is all about the vibe and the mood and thanks to a clever arrangement, I don’t find myself bored at any time. Hurry Up isn’t a track that pops out and it isn’t one that you’ll ever list in your favourite guitar tracks of all time, but it’s perfectly serviceable and you can get lost in it easily if you sit back and enjoy it. A nice experience.
Paul Gilbert Get Out of My Yard #3 The Curse of Castle Dragon
The Curse of Castle Dragon is one of the tracks that a reviewer highlighted as a personal favorite in the above snippets. Were they right to like it? I’d say definitely yes. Truth is, I was gripped from second one with that quirky string rake thing. That first second paved the way for a feels like home sounding rhythm which was cranked up a notch from the standard. The precision and timing of Paul’s guitar playing is something that all guitarists should admire, very impressive indeed but as we know, impressive doesn’t make a song. Thankfully, this track is more than just a technical showcase although, it is that too. It has a sense of drama to it and the entire performance is packed with an emotional punch. Some will naturally find it a bit oney and a twoy, but to me, The Curse of Castle Dragon is an exciting and chaotic adventure.
Paul Gilbert Get Out of My Yard #4 Radiator
This next track radiates a different kind of vibe as it opens. Almost calm. Then, it all kicks in, retaining a moderate tempo but bringing in an impactful punch which has been present in every track so far. Radiator moves away from the other tracks though as it breaks free from a tightly constrained rhythm but is it perhaps a little too far removed from a tight structure? This one could quite easily be perceived as a little muddled but I can’t help but love the artistic approach. I enjoyed the track but I felt that it lacked a real focal point for me to latch onto. This is a track that does interesting things but it almost needs a simple hook along with It which is a weird criticism because I still found myself hooked throughout.
Paul Gilbert Get Out of My Yard #5 Straight Through the Telephone Pole
Are you looking for something that’s more of a songy song than the previous track? Well, Straight Through the Telephone Pole is maybe the one for you. This track has a very good arrangement and I love the driving pace and the overall positive mood of the piece and that riff! Brilliant. The lead guitar work is fun and pretty much the opposite of self-indulgent shred. The licks have intention and meaning. Then there’s that middle breakdown section which is the highlight of the album so far maybe probably. Just what the track needed. I love when a guitar part can make me smile.
Paul Gilbert Get Out of My Yard #6 Marine Layer
We’ve something different next with Marine Layer which features a different approach to instrumentation. We have a bright and warm acoustic guitar taking the centre stage with a piano partner. Paul’s guitar and the piano part (performed by Emi Gilbert) dance together like… I don’t know dancing… Like some people who’re good at dancing and the result is quite beautiful. This track is an extremely pleasant one and a nice change of pace too.
Paul Gilbert Get Out of My Yard #7 Twelve Twelve
Twelve Twelve is another track that I’ve seen praised and I can certainly understand why but hold that thought. This is a track with a strong, powerful, and purposeful feel to it when it opens, but that purpose does fade for me soon after. Let me get it clear. Nothing in this track sounded bad. The guitar performance ranged from very good to remarkable but to me, this one felt a little like a discount store For The Love Of God. This wasn’t the case of mindless guitaring either. There’s a lot of expression in that guitar performance and a lot of passion too but the thing I think this track lacked was identity. Or direction. I don’t know.
Paul Gilbert Get Out of My Yard #8 Rusty Old Boat
Rusty Old Boat is a mixed bag for me. I’d say that it’s a track with a nice bounce and a fun hook but I’d also say it’s a track that doesn’t have the strongest arrangement when compared to other tracks from the album. This is the first time in the album where I say that I disagreed with some of the shred injections. I found the sections based around the hook much stronger musically and I’d have preferred the flashy flash lead parts to have been based around the same vibe as the hook. I wouldn’t say I disliked the solo parts. I just really really liked the verse sections. More on the positives. The dancing instruments are back. Loved the organ parts.
#9 The Echo Song
So, on paper, I probably should get bored with this by the two-minute mark. It’s very… Rhythmically consistent. But you know what? I didn’t get bored with it. This track feels like it was composed by a hyper intelligent robot. It was an interesting little journey and the zero-punctuation performance was precise and rather impressive. Was there room for further development? Maybe. Some of that crazy fast stuff may have been right at home here but having said that, I was kinda gripped anyway so Paul probably made the right call. The Echo Song really gave my brain a workout.
#10 Full Tank
I love a good guitar riff, so the tenth track on Get Out of My Yard should be right up my street, and it is. It’s a long one at just over five minutes, but it’s fine minutes of pure awesome guitar. This is a head nodding track that a guitar lover can get lost in if they allow themselves. Solid beat and the lead guitar work on this one is at times, absolutely breath taking. It has that “how’d he do that” thing about it that is quite frankly rather irritating but admirable. This one is a jaw dropper. If you truly love the sound of a rock guitar, you’ll love Full Tank. The track showcases what the instrument is capable of in the hands of a virtuoso.
#11 My Teeth Are a Drum Set
Next is the track that takes the title for best title on the album. But does it do anything else well? Short answer to that question is yes. My Teeth Are a Drum Set is another track that features a guitar performance that’s nothing short of godly. It’s a fast-moving track with some cool riffs that’s everything but mindless fast guitar playing. Everything is very locked in and the only word to describe it is wow. Similar to the previous track, this is right up there with the best instrumental rock guitar performances that I’ve heard. I can’t pick a single fault with it. Could it be better? No. It’s perfect.
#12 Haydn Symphony No 88 Finale
As you may imagine, this next track isn’t a Paul Gilbert composition. This track is based on a Haydn symphony from 1786. I normally love an electric rock guitar take on a piece of classical music and this is no exception. The mix of classical and modern is something that I always enjoy and Paul captures just what I like here with an impressive performance from start to finish. The guitar sounds grandiose. I feel like a mother f****** aristocrat listening to this.
#13 Three E’s for Edward
The penultimate track of the Get Out of My Yard album is Three E’s for Edward. A fiddly little acoustic piece that’s in short, bloody mind blowing. This is a very impressive acoustic guitar performance and he makes it seem so dam easy. It’s very notey, but I don’t see it as notey for the sake of notey. For me, it’s electrifying, ebullient and ecstatic. See what I did there? Impressive right? I can come up with three positive adjectives beginning with E, and Paul can do… That.. On acoustic guitar… The b******!
#14 You Kids
And so, we reach the final track on the album. You Kids. A big contrast in sound to the previous track as we get a loud, aggressive and in your face piece of music that has a real enthusiastic pace to it and a real positive vibe too. The riff work is on point and the lead guitar stuff is exactly what I wanted. It has that wow factor yet it remains locked neatly into that rhythm and vibe which takes us nicely to the conclusion. Fantastic track to end on.
I can honestly say that I have no idea what the negative reviewers that I quoted earlier were talking about. As I mentioned earlier, self-indulgent shredding is definitely a thing in music, but the Get Out of My Yard album wasn’t that. On the interest of balance, it wasn’t perfection personified either but I’m yet to listen to an album that was.
Does Get Out of My Yard contain any instrumental guitar tracks that would belong on the Mount Rushmore of that genre? Perhaps not, but there’s some bloody good ones on there that do push for such a spot. I wouldn’t say that the material is particularly melody driven, but I would say that the compositions/performances are ultra-impressive, gripping and inspiring at times.
Would I go as far as describing it as a masterclass? That was the question posed in the title of the article so I guess I should answer it. I’d have to say yes based on the competence of the composer and the tracks within are at worst above average and incredible at the other end.
Self-indulgent shredding is way off the mark. As for boring? I can honestly claim that I was not bored for a second. The time flew by while listening to Get Out of My Yard. It may not be an album rammed with mainstream friendly hooks but Paul kept me gripped throughout with his captivating and mesmerizing guitar.
That about wraps things up for my look at the Paul Gilbert Get Out of My Yard album. If you enjoy the review-based stuff, perhaps you’ll enjoy some of the following.
Hello. My name is Ryan J Mellor and I play the guitar. I’m also the creator of Eat Sleep Guitar Repeat. I’ve ben a guitarist for many years and my guitar playing has been described as “above average”. My guitar and music knowledge is somewhat impressive but most importantly, I have a passion for creating great guitar and music related content.