Joel Paterson – Let It Be Guitar! | Album Review

Joel Paterson – Let It Be Guitar!

Ventrella Records

CD: 16 Songs, 43 Minutes

Styles: Spectacular Beatles Covers, Instrumentals
Google time! Do a search for “most covered band of all time.” It’s no surprise the top honor goes to four lads from Liverpool: John, Paul, George and Ringo. According to, the Beatles beat out their nearest competitors – Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, and Frank Sinatra – by an astounding margin. Second place goes to “Traditional Folk,” which is a genre instead of an individual artist. That goes to show you how perennially popular the Beatles are, and how time-honored. Maverick Chicago guitarist Joel Paterson pays homage to them on his latest, Let it Be Guitar! Joel Paterson Plays the Beatles. It features sixteen spectacular covers, several of them lesser-known Beatles offerings. For sure, there’s “Drive My Car,” “From Me To You” and “Can’t Buy Me Love,” but how long has it been since you’ve heard “Michelle,” “Things We Said Today,” or “No Reply?” Therein lies one of the chief delights of this CD. A second one?

Joel Paterson’s guitar might as well be a living being of flesh and blood. It converses with you: chatting, chuckling, moaning, gently weeping. It tells stories within songs, causing listeners to imagine what might have been going on inside the Beatles’ heads as they composed 237 of them, as listed on Wikipedia. Joel’s instrument of choice is a mentor and boon companion, not just a vehicle for victory. Another of Paterson’s gifts is presenting all of his material, whether old or new, in a refreshing manner. His music possesses a definite 1950s surfer vibe updated for a new decade of the 21st century. He even makes the head-scratcher “Her Majesty” sound great (is the final note missing? No, as it turns out). No matter how many Beatles releases you own, or how many albums containing their covers by blues artists, this one’s absolutely unmissable.

Joining Joel (guitars, pedal steel, lap steel, tic-tac bass) are Beau Sample on upright bass; Alex Hall on drums, percussion, vibes organ and piano for “No Reply”, and Chris Foreman on Hammond B3 organ for “From Me to You,” “Can’t Buy Me Love,” and “Drive My Car.”

All the tracks here are terrific, but yours truly would like to draw special attention to two of them: “Things We Said Today,” number eight, and “I Don’t Want to Spoil the Party,” number ten. First of all, why didn’t these two songs hit #1? Second of all, Paterson’s versions should. “Things We Said Today” contains fabulous fretwork and wonderfully-weird echo effects. “Party” is so country-catchy that it might as well be an offering by Tim McGraw, not Paul McCartney et al. Both selections have superior melody, tonal quality, and earworm potential.

In the mood for a fresh take on the Fab Four? Pop this in your stereo and Let It Be Guitar!

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