TY OLIVER – Heartstrings

TY OLIVER - Heartstrings
  • 7.5/10
    TY OLIVER - Heartstrings - 7.5/10


Release date: April 4, 2008

User Review
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Northern California native guitarist, Ty Oliver, turned some heads back in 2005 when he released his debut solo, instrumental album Healed Through Time. The comparisons to Satriani and Vai were plentiful and rightly so. Now, three years later, Oliver returns with a follow-up release in Heartstrings and proves that he has the songwriting skills to be more than a “Young Steve Vai.”

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines the term “heartstrings” as “the deepest emotions or affections,” which seems like an apropos title for this release, as Heartstrings sees Oliver focusing on more of a melodic, emotion-filled approach than its predecessor release. This translates into a few more passive moments and the fact that Oliver focuses not on “melting your face off,” but applying more attention to song structure and entertainment. This translates into some spectacular melodies (e.g., on opener “Sunset Sky” and the track “Made Of Memories”) that are memorable and actually tug at the listener’s emotions … and dare you say it … “Heart Strings.”

The memorable album opener in “Sunset Sky” is followed by the equally impressive “Chasing Angels,” which opens with some harmonics and reverb that is reminiscent of Missing Person’s Warren Cuccurullo. Awkwardly, the song seems to ride on a simplistic, straight and narrow drum timing foundation that is thankfully rescued by some impressive fretwork by Oliver. “Made Of Memories” is the true highlight of this disc with its strong, fluid melody and nice “wah-wah”-based guitar lines by Oliver. This track alone represents how mature of a songwriter Oliver has become since his debut.

“When Then Was Now” is another high energy-filled rocker that is fueled by more artistic expression by Oliver and his guitar. All of this is capped off by the track “Space Jam,” which features guest solos from some of the underground guitar scene’s most talented prospects in Matt Cafissi, and Neil Rambaldi, as well as a guitar appearance by otherwise drummer, Matt Sotelo of Decrepit Birth.

Bottom line, Heartstrings sees Ty Oliver progress more as a songwriter versus delving deeper into unentertaining guitar meanderings. Oliver shows on this release that he can write a memorable melody that leaves an everlasting impression on the listener and propels Oliver into being more than a Steve Vai sound-alike. While the release contains a fair share of slower tracks within it, there is still plenty here for the guitar aficionado to chew on!


Ty Oliver – Guitars, Keyboards, Drum Programming
Matt Sotelo – Bass, Drums, Production
Finn – Bass
Bobby Burns – Bass
Jake McCuen – Drums
Glenn Behanna – Drums


  • Scott Jeslis

    Scott is one of the partners at Metal Express Radio. He handles a lot of Metal Express Radio's public relations, screening of new music and radio scheduling. On occasion, he also does reviews and interviews. He has been a proud member of the Metal Express Radio crew since 2004.

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