Rock for the MiddleAged
Meet Mario (Rainbow at Midnight Records)
Mario Da Silva

By Paul Moffett

South America produces more than its fair share of excellent acoustic guitarists. Sao Paulo, Brazil native Mario Da Silva, who now lives in the US and teaches guitar at Belmont University in Nashville and Indiana University Southeast in New Albany, is another in that tradition.

Da Silva's, debut CD, Meet Mario, is a collection of nineteen classic American rock unes, most from the Sixties. Six are tunes by the Beatles, two by Led Zepplin, two by James Taylor, two by Steely Dan's Walter Becker and Donald Fagen. Toss in an Eagles tune, two versions of Chris Crosses' "Sailing" and the love theme from "St. lIlmo's Fire" and you have a boomer acoustic soft rock Muzak standard. Except that it's too clearly the work of one individual to be acceptable to Muzak.

A confident professional, Da Silva's guitar technique is crisp, his fingering amazingly quick and his mastery of the material readily apparent. One impressive thing to know is that the recordings were all done without overdubs, except for improvisional leads on four tunes. Because these tunes are widely known, he faced the challenge of putting his own stamp on them without moving so far away that listeners have trouble recognizing the tune. This he accomplished, even on chestnuts like "Norwegian Wood" and (sigh) "Stairway to Heaven."

Mark this one down as the perfect gift for that baby boomer buddy of yours who doesn't listen to all that much rock music any more. This one might well remind him or her of why he/she loved the music way back then while allowing him/her to forget how loud it used to be.