Provogue Records / Mascot Label Group present “Silver Paper,” featuring Blackberry Smoke’s Charlie Starr, in front of the March 25 release of LEGACY: A TRIBUTE TO LESLIE WEST.
When Leslie West passed away in December of 2020, he left behind a towering legacy of epic recordings that few rock guitarists can match. But there was more to him than great songs (although, to be sure, he created a ton of them); there was his brilliant, idiosyncratic sound, a gargantuan earth-mover that razed arenas and stadiums across the globe. More than just paralyzing tone, though, he also had a touch nobody could beat. Stinging, swooning and sensual melodies leapt from his fingertips – with a deft flick of his wrist, he sounded like a Delta bluesman had picked up a violin. These elements and more helped to make West one of the most significant, influential and irreplaceable guitarists of the rock era.
In later life, West befriended Charlie Starr, singer and guitarist for the band Blackberry Smoke. Starr was in in awe of West, and he selected the soulful gem “Silver Paper” (from Climbing!) as his way of remembering his late pal. Responding to the muscular rhythm section of Rev Jones and Bobby Rondinelli, as well as the bravura keyboard playing of Mike DiMeo, Starr laser beams on the song’s joyous spiritual center and doesn’t let go.
I love ‘Silver Paper,’ and it’s got one of the coolest guitar licks of all time. Leslie played exactly what the song needed; his timing was impeccable. He played way back in the pocket, and it was so nasty and so great – the kind of things that you aspire to. I’m very proud to be part of this project. God bless Leslie West.Charlie Starr
Co-producer and Leslie’s long-tenured drummer Bobby Rondinelli shares, “Growing up as a Mountain fan, then playing with Leslie for the last eight years has been a dream come true. Co-Producing this record with my buddy Mick James was a labor of love. ‘Silver Paper’ with Charlie Starr – I think you’ll agree Charlie nailed it, and it was a pleasure to work with. Rev Jones, Mike DiMeo and myself on drums, I think Leslie would approve.”
Originally, Legacy was intended to be a retrospective celebration of West’s music on which the guitarist himself would perform some of his best-loved cuts with notable guests, along with a collection of new tracks. Two weeks before recording was set to commence, however, the guitarist passed away.
“We were so blessed to be working with home-run hitters on each song,” says Bob Ringe, “but each one underscores the fact that Leslie is the true MVP. This record really shows that his work stands the test of time. When I listen to the album, it makes me look up to the sky, and I can just see that big mountain of a man, Leslie West, with a smile on his face going, ‘This makes me feel good.’”
For her part, Jenni West sums the album up thusly: “Nobody in this world has ever made me feel loved as much as Leslie, and I feel so honored and grateful that I could give him this gift.” She laughs. “He would often say, ‘If it doesn’t make my balls rumble, it’s not right.’ And I think there’s some balls-rumbling tones on this record! When you’re listening to it, you might even think it’s Leslie playing – and that’s a good thing. He really believed that adage of imitation being the sincerest form of flattery. Even when some of the players do their own twists on the music, they’re still doing it in a way that’s authentic and respectful, and Leslie would have appreciated that.”