Guitarist Kevin Breit Dazzles With His Quirky Brilliance
"Many tribute releases tend to suffer from an excess of adulation, often reducing them to the level of sing-a-longs
by professionals. Instrumentalists tend to be less hidebound by these considerations, and that’s the case with
Run Neil Run, where the
Sisters Euclid profoundly re-think 10 Neil Young tunes by twisting them in an off-kilter direction.
"It doesn’t disappoint, and the reason is the guitar pyrotechnics of Kevin Breit, the looming presence behind
Sisters Euclid. Breit has an encyclopedic grasp of all riffs - guitar or otherwise - that have come along over
the last 80 years. His own ideas are quirky, adventurous, expansive, and invariably touched by Blues, Rock, Latin,
Country, Pop and Classical influences. It’s all filtered through his distinctive style, so something emerges that
is always intriguing.
"If Breit’s name seems familiar, it’s probably because you’ve heard him on an album or two by k.d. lang, Cassandra
Wilson, or Norah Jones. Sisters Euclid also feature Ian DeSouza on bass, Gary Taylor on drums, and Rob Gusevs on
keyboards, and they’ve developed a cult following at Toronto’s Orbit Room.
"This is a sensational listen. Much of the credit is due Breit who stretches out the melodies with his nifty
slide, and then creates a series of moods that slowly build into a climax.
"There’s a raft of well-known Young tunes like Southern Man, Harvest Moon,
Ohio, Cinnamon Girl and Heart
Of Gold. The latter is absolutely entrancing, and easily the best
of the bunch. I really admired how SE handled such lesser known songs like Love
Is A Rose and Needle And
The Damage Done.
"If you’re looking for the widest possible range of sounds that can be culled from six strings, and if you
also want to be transfixed by an interpretative houdini, then let Kevin Breit and crew do the trick."
- Gary Tate
"With a program of nine songs by Neil Young, Sisters Euclid offers a
tribute that blends jazz and blues with hard-hitting rock. Elements from Young’s days with Buffalo Springfield
and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young show up, but the emphasis leans toward his country blues lines.
"Sisters Euclid, which is based in Toronto, is Kevin Breit’s band. The group's connection with Neil Young
runs deeper than an appreciation for his folk and country appetite. Young was born in Toronto. This tribute album
honors a native son who has gained worldwide fame for his fiery guitar as well as his original songwriting.
"Love is a Rose comes
with a comfortable country twang, while Ohio
meanders through lonely city streets, and Cinnamon Girl simmers gently in the shade of a majestic and aging tree. Breit’s guitar interprets
each selection with moody impressions that flow seamlessly around a central theme. Heart
of Gold lets the band drive uninterrupted on a long-distance journey
through space and time while Breit slides in and out of focus. His electric guitar exhausts the impression long
before closing up, so the band repeats with an endless scenario.
"Long May You Run
rambles slowly over a country texture that blends folk and blues into a melancholic impression. The testament that
Sisters Euclid offers Neil Young comes straight from the heart with empathetic clarity."
- Jim Santella
All About Jazz
"Sisters Euclid, a Toronto-based group, release an instrumental tribute
to Neil Young next week. It's called Run Neil Run,
it's bluesy, it's got great big guitar riffs, and it's soulful. I've talked about tribute records before and how
in most cases the covers are slavish interpretations of the originals. That's not the case here. These guys definitely
take liberties with some of Neil Young's biggest hits and i admire that. For example, the original version of Ohio
is just over three minutes. Sisters Euclid's version is over seven minutes long.
"Sisters Euclid are Kevin Breit, who plays guitar, Ian DeSouza on bass, drummer Gary Taylor and Rob Gusevs
plays keys and Hammond B3. For the last two years, these four have been rocking the Orbit Room on College Street.
They've released a couple of records but this one is set to make the most noise.
"If anyone who has albums by Cassandra Wilson, Norah Jones
or kd lang looks at the
liner notes of those records they'll see the name of one of the members of Sisters Euclid. Kevin Breit has played
with all those artists. Also on the most recent album by one of my favourite singers, Peru's Susana Baca. He's
an incredibly talented, innovative guitarist. If you put all the records he's appeared on together, you'll hear
blues, jazz, roots, rock, strains of classical Indian and Middle Eastern styles in his playing."
- Errol Nazareth
Metro Morning, CBC Radio
"People who adore the ragged simplicity of Neil Young and also love adventurous,
guitar-based instrumental music should definitely check out this tribute to the Can-Am rock legend. Sisters Euclid,
the Toronto-based quartet composed of guitarist Kevin Breit, keyboardist Rob Gusevs, bassist Ian De Souza, and
drummer Gary Taylor, have recorded wordless versions of nine of Young’s most famous songs. Strangely enough, unless
you’re really paying attention, you might not even recognize them as Neil Young tunes, because often the original
arrangements get totally turned upside down.
"The CD kicks off with a brilliant take on Southern Man, where Gusevs’s Hammond B3 organ delivers a verse of the Confederate anthem Dixie before Breit’s overdriven guitar
blasts in where Young’s cutting lyrics would lay waste to the racist. Helpless is another showcase for Breit’s emotional range and technical dexterity, as he effortlessly
plucks and bends the strings to conjure Young’s simple and beautiful melodies. (No wonder Norah Jones latched on
to him as her main touring and recording guitarist.) Love Is a Rose gets a jazz-funk workout, while The Needle
and the Damage Done is given one of the heavier makeovers, with Breit’s
searing slide-guitar and Taylor’s intense drumming propelling Young’s damning indictment of heroin abuse.
"The quartet takes an experimental approach on Cinnamon Girl, which is completely unrecognizable from Young’s riff-driven original, and also makes
it tricky to mine the melodic vein in Heart of Gold. They’re an eclectic bunch, those Sisters Euclid, and in their musical universe nothing
is obvious. But you will have an interesting time."
- Steve Newton
August 17, 2006
"One of the central, life-giving features of Neil Young’s music is the
constant push and pull between the instruments and Young’s wavering voice. Take his voice out of the mix and you’re
left with some nice chord progressions. An album of nine instrumental versions of some of Young’s most famous songs,
then, seems like the perfect recipe for disaster.
"Sisters Euclid must have given this conundrum some thought when they recorded Run Neil Run because, rather
than taking the easy road and turning in a bunch of tunes where the biggest change is transposing the melody from
voice to a guitar or keyboard, the Sisters have come at the songs with their heads in an improvisational space,
using the original songs as a blueprint to build something of their own. Sometimes the source material is still
recognizable, as in Helpless
and Long May You Run,
but more often the songs become something completely different.
"The Sisters’ takes on Young’s songs are not always successful - Heart
of Gold doesn’t hold up as an amped-up jazz fusion piece - but most
of the time the conversions work. Hands down, the best moment on the album comes on Young’s scathing anthem, Southern Man, where the Sisters add a
little something extra by layering in the melody for the Civil War ballad Dixie
- Eden Munro