Vic Dillahay seated with his Klein Electric guitar

With his wide-open tone and unique compositions, Colorado-based guitarist Vic Dillahay blends a myriad of styles into an unmistakable voice. For over 20 years, he has refined this distinctive sound with numerous jazz ensembles, Liam O’Beirne’s progressive Celtic band Indigent Row, and the fusion trio Graphite Addiction with Pete Ehrmann (Generations) and Tim Carmichael (3ology). His discography is equally eclectic, having appeared on over 25 albums ranging from swing jazz to electronic noise.

“Interesting experiments with a cheeky attitude.”

Bernhard Hellmuth (Sven Melo)

“Music to Squeak By”, Vic’s ninth solo album, draws on this diverse background. Inspired by the classic guitar instrumental albums of the 50s and 60s, like those of Howard Roberts and The Ventures, it runs the musical gamut from jazz to blues to funk. There’s even a somewhat-warped boogie thrown in for good measure. While it was originally intended as a vehicle to collaborate with old friends on some of his original tunes, the shutdowns caused by COVID-19 changed it into a more solitary project. Vic plays or programs all the instruments on this recording for an intensely personal take on these compositions.

“Love the near atonal feel to some of the guitar work, and strong melodies in other progressions. ”

Wayne Cox (The Professor and Naomi Kay

The record opens with “Grin”. A fusion tune that manages to evoke both Pat Metheny and Toto, it sets the mood for an eclectic set that still cracks a smile. “Penguin Eddie” follows, with an instrumental funk tribute to a tale of attempted penguin abduction. From its smooth harmonies and dulcet tones, “Laetitia’s Lost Chords” would be firmly in the easy-listening camp if not for its constantly shifting meter. “Serva Jugum” continues to warp time, but with a hard-driving gopuccha yati-inspired groove that gives way to solos on a funk waltz. “Kiddo” closes side A with a 12-tone row disguised as a swing ballad. It’s a tribute to Vic’s grandfather who was, as he puts it, “he was both a lover of irony and completely tone deaf.”

“Beautiful and tasty playing!”

Guy Darby

Side B opens with “Smolkin’s Boogie”, a quick boogie-woogie blues that wanders through a few more keys than usual. “Half The Times I’ve Failed”, originally written as a example for lessons, is a study in melodic constraint and the lack thereof, as it moves from moody monotone to free noise. “Frickle Frackle” is a minor blues because every guitar album needs one. A tongue-in-cheek take on the exotic guitar genre, “Somewhere East of Omaha” intentionally misses a smörgåsbord of world influences, landing somewhere else entirely. “Ricky Loves LuLu” closes the album. There was a bridge by Erie, Colorado with these words graffitied on it that Vic would drive under on his way to college in Denver. When the railroad repainted it, “Ricky Still Loves LuLu” appeared the next week written in the the same handwriting. In his words, “that deserves a song”.