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Garsed & Helmerich

Garsed & Helmerich - Exempt - 1994 - Legato

Australian guitarist Brett Garsed and Chicago guitarist, engineer and producer T.J. Helmerich are renowned for their unique playing styles. Brett uses legato plus hybrid-picking combining picked notes with notes plucked with the right hand fingers, somewhat similar to Allan Holdsworth. T.J. uses an 8-finger legato tapping style. The two guitarists’ compositions are all exceptional and the two players complement each other brilliantly to produce a marvellous brand of fusion. Arguably it would have been a better album without the vocals, but the album is HR by A.O.O.F.C. Listen to On The Virg’s “Serious Young Insects" album which features the incomparable Virgil Donati on drums with contributions by Brett Garsed & T.J. Helmerich [All tracks @ 320 Kbps: File size = 160 Mb]


1 Horizon Dream (4:58)
2 Yerba Buena Bells (6:00)
3 Miranda (5:26)
4 Letters from Home (6:08)
5 Then a Crow Came Out (3:49)
6 Mr. Banacreas (5:46)
7 Exempt (6:05)
8 Lonely Guy (4:26)
9 Loch Rannoch (5:12)
10 Rikki Strange (4:53)
11 Tomorrow (4:44)
12 Carried Away (5:58)

All tracks composed by Brett Garsed & T.J. Helmerich


Brett Garsed – Lead, Acoustic, & Slide Guitar: Lead Vocals on “Tomorrow”
T.J. Helmerich – Lead & Acoustic Guitar: Lead Vocals on “Rikki Strange” & “Carried Away”
Gary Willis – Fretless Bass
Paul Mirkovich – Keyboards
Bobby Rock – Drums
Richie Gajate Garcia – Percussion


Brett Edward Garsed (born April 20, 1963) is an Australian musician, best known for his work as a guitarist with John Farnham and T. J. Helmerich, as well as being a former member of the American band Nelson. Garsed was featured on Derek Sherinian's solo records Planet X (1999) and Planet X's Quantum (2007), and more recently Sherinian's Molecular Heinosity (2010). Garsed was born in rural Victoria, Australia and began playing guitar at age 12 after hearing Deep Purple's Ritchie Blackmore play "Speed King". After about a month of initial lessons, he continued to teach himself and formed a band composed of his two cousins and a mutual friend and began playing live. In July 1985, Brett was featured in Guitar Player magazine’s “Spotlight” column, which was devoted to exposing new talent to the rest of the world. This encouraged Brett to give up his job as a licensed plumber and pursue a career as a professional musician, prompting him to send demo tapes to as many record companies and management companies as he could find. “I wasn’t looking for a record deal. I just wanted to get into a good band.” One of the tapes was heard by Ross Fraser of the Wheatley Organization, which led to an audition for a short tour by Australian superstar John Farnham. Farnham, at this time still a member of the Little River Band, was planning a solo album and invited him to be a part of the project. The resulting album, Whispering Jack, went on to become the biggest selling album in Australian history, followed by sellout tours of Australia and Europe. Garsed continued to tour and record with Farnham until early 1989, when he was invited to the US to audition for Nelson, a band led by Gunnar and Matthew, sons of the late Ricky Nelson. The audition was a success and the resulting album, After the Rain, went on to sell in excess of three million copies and yielded a national No. 1 ('Love and Affection') as well as two Top Ten follow-up singles. In early 1990 Brett also recorded Centrifugal Funk for Mike Varney's label Legato Records, an intense guitar album featuring Frank Gambale and Shawn Lane. For most of 1991 Garsed toured the US with Nelson, and spent ‘92 recording Quid Pro Quo with Chicago-born guitarist T J Helmerich after the duo decided to sign to Varney’s label. With Nelson on a seemingly permanent hiatus, Brett and TJ pursued their career promoting Quid Pro Quo, which featured Bobby Rock on drums, Gary Willis on bass and Paul Mirkovich on keys. Greeted with critical acclaim worldwide, the pair recorded the follow-up album Exempt in 1993. In 1996 Bobby Rock released Out Of Body, a progressive rock album featuring Brett on guitar. In 1994 Garsed also filmed an instructional video for REH/Warner titled Rock Fusion which covers, in detail, his unique approach to guitar improvisation. Garsed’s most recent recording projects include the Uncle Moe’s Space Ranch album featuring TJ Helmerich, Gary Willis, Dennis Chambers and Scott Kinsey, the Tapestry album which was released under the band name Mojo and features Ric Fierabracci on bass and Kofi Baker, son of Ginger Baker on drums, and more recently his debut solo album Big Sky with Fierabracci returning for bass and production duties and Toss Panos behind the drums. Brett returned to Australia after 14 years in Los Angeles and completed the seven-month-long “Last Time” tour with John Farnham. His first solo album, Big Sky, was released in 2002. After nearly a decade, he followed this up with Dark Matter in 2011. In 2004, Rock Guitar Improvisation, his second instructional DVD was released covering many aspects of his technique. This DVD also included some live footage. In 2011, Brett is currently taking part in the John Farnham "Whispering Jack - 25th Anniversary" tour around Australia, revisiting the parts he created on Australia's highest selling locally made album. Garsed also released his solo album Dark Matter in 2011. Garsed is mainly an improviser guitarist, renowned for his legato and hybrid picking technique, a combination that provides him with an extremely fluid sound to his playing. He has also mastered a distinctive slide guitar sound, specially noticeable in his latest releases. Rather than relying on scale patterns and figures, he's stated to play with a relative pitch approach, that allows him to play the melodies in his mind. A fundamental component of his music is the use of wide intervals and chromatic passing tones. His early influences were Ritchie Blackmore, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, David Gilmour and Jimi Hendrix. This later expanded to more diverse styles such as Leo Kottke, Allan Holdsworth, Rory Gallagher, Scott Henderson, and Edward Van Halen.


T. J. Helmerich is an American musician and audio engineer. Helmerich is known for developing a unique 8-finger style of playing his guitar. He has produced/engineered over 90 releases, working with some of the biggest names in the music industry. He has played/toured with Dweezil Zappa (Zappa Plays Zappa), Planet X (band), Autograph (American band), Paul Gilbert, Eddie Jobson, and others. He has been featured in popular guitar magazines nationally/internationally in ads, articles, reviews and lessons. Together with Australian guitarist Brett Garsed, the duo helped define the direction of instrumental guitar music throughout the '90s and establish the genre now known as "Rock Fusion". Helmerich resides in North Hollywood, California. He teaches guitar and audio engineering courses at Musicians Institute in Hollywood, California, where he created their "Recording Institute of Audio Engineering" (RIT) program. He held the directors seat at RIT for 10 years and has taught at the college for over 20. He can be caught performing regularly with an "all-star" line up at the world famous The Baked Potato club.

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