Lyle Workman hasn’t just had a successful career – he’s had three. As a versatile sideman and session guitarist, he has toured and recorded with Beck, Sting, Frank Black, Todd Rundgren, Norah Jones, Bryan Adams, Sarah McLachlan, Jellyfish, Ziggy Marley and Tony Williams; as a film composer, his credits include the blockbusters Superbad, The 40 Year Old Virgin and Forgetting Sarah Marshall; and, as a songwriter and solo artist, he has penned hits and earned praise from rock heroes like Steve Vai and Steve Lukather. Workman now unites his various endeavors with Uncommon Measures, a stunning and stylistically diverse instrumental album featuring a 63-piece orchestra recorded live at Abbey Road. The track Noble Savage, from the album Uncommon Measure,
Bursting at the seams with soaring arrangements and virtuosic performances, Uncommon Measures’ plays like the score to an epic film from another dimension, mixing elements of progressive rock, jazz fusion, classical and choral music with gleeful abandon. Its nine tracks are living, breathing entities, constantly growing and evolving in ways both subtle and drastic. Their production is similarly unpredictable, veering from larger-than-life bombast to whispered intimacy and back, sometimes within the same piece. The result is extraordinary – a captivating, transportive song cycle that manages to scale the heights of joy and sadness, love and friendship, self-discovery and celebration, all without a single word. The track North Star,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Gjwm4KZgWI«This record ties together all the different threads of who I am as an artist» explains Workman. «It was four years in the making, but it’s really the culmination of a lifetime in music».
Grand as the album is, Workman’s eye for detail and gift for melody remains front and center throughout. Painting vivid, emotional portraits with his evocative guitar and keyboard work, he creates an immersive, cinematic universe drawn entirely from the depths of his subconscious in spontaneous, improvised writing sessions. «I’ve always felt like the muse is much more intuitive and in touch with my emotions than I am», he continues. «Writing these songs, I tried to just go into this tabula rasa state of mind, a meditative place where I could let the music tell me where to go».
Born and raised in California, Workman taught himself guitar as a youngster by playing along to songs by The Beatles. His taste would expand over the years (Genesis and Yes brought him to Mahavishnu Orchestra and Miles Davis, which led him to Ravel and Debussy), but his love of a perfectly crafted pop song saw him co-write the Todd Rundgren produced hit single I Don’t Mind At Al’ for the band Bourgeois Tagg, who he had joined after leaving music college, before he began picking up work.
Lyle Workman – Guitar, Keys, Composer, Arranger, Producer, Video
Abe Laboriel Jr. – Drums
Sam Wilkes – Bass
Wade Culbreath – Vibes, Marimba, Xylophone
Charlie Bisharat – Violin
Orchestrated and Conducted by John Ashton Thomas at Abbey Road, Studio 1
Mixed by Rich Breen
Mastered by Dave McNair
Orchestra Recorded by John Barrett, Assisted by Chris Parker
Pro Tools Operator – George Oulton
Abbey Road video shot by Stan Snow.