Phil Sheeran | Classical Gas

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Pop: 60's Pop Jazz: Orchestral Jazz Moods: Featuring Guitar
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Classical Gas

by Phil Sheeran

Latin jazz guitarist Phil Sheeran transforms this 60s pop classic by Mason Williams into an exciting, orchestral-cinematic experience.  World music rhythms and urban beats are blended with Phil’s signature, melodic finger-style guitar work.
Genre: Pop: 60's Pop
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1. Classical Gas
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Album Notes
Latin jazz guitarist Phil Sheeran transforms this 60's pop classic "Classical Gas" originally written and released by Mason Williams.  Phil describes the song as a fusion of classical guitar with that big Hollywood cinematic-orchestration sound blended with world music rhythms and urban beats. The song opens up with that recognizable guitar intro and melody followed by a flourish of flamenco guitar licks over staccato and tremolo strings… from there the song unfolds with unexpected new twists and turns as the orchestra expands and contracts with moments of large dynamic orchestral textures of strings, brass and percussion and other moments of intimate melodic classical guitar. I hope you enjoy this updated version featuring my signature finger-style guitar work and a bit of studio magic.
Produced recorded and mixed by Phil Sheeran with arrangement and orchestration, sequencing by Ben Newhouse and Phil Sheeran.  Guitars - Phil Sheeran. Mastering by Warren Sokol, United Mastering, Los Angeles, CA.  
Special thanks to my wife Philea for her love and support throughout this project and our many wonderful years together, you are my touchstone. To Ben Newhouse for your talent, support and friendship. To my late parents Frances and Harold Sheeran, I know they would’ve loved to hear this! 
There’s a blurred line between inspiration and perspiration but for the true artist it’s just love of the craft. The pursuit of creating something new - that has never been captured…with hopes that all the good ideas haven’t been used up.  In my world that’s composing, shaping and sculpting sound into something that goes beyond notes on a page, music that stirs the soul or at least that is the destination I seek.
This updated version of Classical Gas was born out of this aforementioned pursuit. The inspiration part started as a young boy growing up in Spokane, WA playing guitar and studying classical guitar and my offbeat persona’s love for instrumental music. I enjoyed listening to Classical Gas as a young boy on the radio in the 60/70s and then again as a budding professional guitarist in Seattle during the 80/90s.  Somehow the song always stuck with me over the years.  Later in life, I was living in LA pursuing being an artist/ composer and decided to create a new version of the song. I approached a fellow composer/orchestrator and close friend Ben Newhouse.
I told Ben about my idea of making a guitar and orchestra project and creating a new version of Classical Gas, something that was familiar yet a departure from the original Mason Williams version. We worked up a version of the song in 2007 that we both liked but ultimately felt the limitations of computer generated mockups at the time stopped the song from being released. The possibility of recording it with a real orchestra was considered as an option but ultimately proved too costly. So… the song was shelved.  Fast forward to 2018/2019 during the past eleven years I’ve been working in music production, recording, writing and producing music used in TV and multimedia using orchestration with computer generated instruments and also became involved in education. It started with teaching for a Recording Engineering College in Los Angeles “Pinnacle College” and then segued into teaching for “Berklee Online”, a subsidiary of Berklee College of Music, where I teach Orchestration and World Music Composition. During a teaching sabbatical in 2018, and some serious prodding from my wife Philea, I pulled Classical Gas off the shelf, dusted it off and decided it was finally time to finish and release it. I started reworking everything!

With the benefit of new technology, faster computers and better orchestral samples, it elevated the orchestral sound that I wasn’t able to attain eleven years ago (and a whole lot of late nights working in the studio!) FINALLY, the song that had stuck with me all these years felt complete and ready for release. 
So here it is… eleven years later…what started in LA was completed in my Arizona studio.  All the orchestral instruments, piano and percussion are all computer generated using orchestral instrument samples in the computer, (for those that might be curious I use a Mac Pro, 12 core computer, Logic Pro X for sequencing, Vienna Ensemble Pro, Vienna Symphonic Library for Samples and Vienna MIR PRO for convolution Reverb and lots of Universal Audio analog modeling plugins) only the guitar is real guitar recorded in my studio. Whew!!! That’s a lot of technology!
It has truly been a journey of inspiration and perspiration completing this piece. I’m now writing out the score with all the music parts so it can be performed live with a Symphonic Orchestra in concert.  It would be a dream to have it played at the Hollywood Bowl or Disney Hall just miles from my former North Hollywood studio where the idea was sparked and began its development!

Phil Sheeran Bio:

Phil Sheeran has established himself as a guitarist and composer with the national international release of his CD's "Breaking Through", "Standing on Fishes", "It's A Good Thing", "Orchid" and “The Marc Anthony Latin Guitar Tribute CD” plus two holiday albums, "I'll Be Home For Christmas" and "The First Noel", and his most recent live recording “Live Japan, Alone Together” Phil Sheeran and Leon Bisquera (piano). Phil's albums have hit #17 on Billboard's Contemporary Jazz and charted top 5 in the nation for air play on contemporary jazz and New Adult Contemporary stations. Phil has performed on the same bill as the Rippingtons, David Benoit, Richard Elliott, Michael Tomlinson, and Danny O'Keef and has recorded with such artists as Gregg Karukas, Eric Marianthal, Michael Gettel, Steve Kujula, Luis Conte, Andy Narell, Eric Tagg, Brandon Fields, Harvey Mason, and Will Kennedy just to name a few.

Besides playing jazz guitar Phil currently teaches on the faculty of Berklee Music Online, composes and produces music used in TV and multi-media, encompassing a fusion of orchestral and world music elements. In 2012 Phil authored and published the online class for Berklee Music Online “World Music Compositional Styles” and Phil's educational background is in jazz, classical and Brazilian music. Graduated from the prestigious Cornish Institute of the Arts with a BFA in music, Jazz composition and performance. Studied for a stint with guitarists Ralph Towner and Romero Lubambo. Phil signed with Sonic Edge Records of Los Angeles, California in 1990 and released his first two albums "Breaking Through" and “Standing on Fishes in 1990-91 and charted #4 NAC contemporary jazz radio. Phil was nominated by NAMA (Northwest Area Music Assoc.) both in 1991 & 1992 for Best Jazz Artist, Best Jazz Recording and Best Electric Guitarist. International releases to date include: Japan, Italy, South Africa and Brazil.
Review quotes: ---

"With Sheeran there's always more than meets the eye just as he eases our expectations with gentle declarations the guitarist fires up to explosive effect." Jonathan Widran, JAZZIZ, USA

"With a smooth, clipped-chord sound recalling Earl Klugh sunny, wide-open leads and memorable melodies." Hilarie Grey, JAZZ TIMES, USA

"Phil is an accomplished acoustic guitarist whose sound and style is a Jazzier version of Earl Klugh." Al Merritt, JAZZ NOW, USA

“Sheeran's original compositions explode with the emotional depth of an aria ... with Sheeran's fluid acoustic guitar at its lyrical epicenter."
Kathy Raglund, Seattle Times, USA



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