swingset

Glenn Jones

Glenn Jones- Barbeque Bob in Fishtown (Strange Attractors Audio House)

It would be an understatement to say that guitar soli has had an important resurgence in the last ten years or so. Maybe in the increasingly maddening digital era the voice of six (or twelve) acoustic strings rings with a naturalist sensibility, a voice of clarity amidst the chaos.  Thankfully Glenn Jones quietly gives us a traditional album of guitar soli that delivers in a way so few modern players can. Over the course of nine tracks Jones plays immaculately executed solo guitar, without forsaking composition or style. All the elements merge to create a dynamically steady album that transitions from Banjo to six and twelve string acoustic guitar seamlessly. What comes through most is the emotive aspects of his playing, such as on the meditative “Snowdrops (for Robert Walser)” with its gentle slides or the sheer romanticism of “For Wendy, In Her Girlish Days”, which stands as a gorgeous ballad, capable of instigating nostalgia by the first chorus. Technicality and record collecting can only take one so far. Glenn Jones has stepped beyond those limits and made the best guitar soli album this year by exhibiting a rewardingly self assured comfort. It seems natural, effortless but clearly the result of decades of craft. It may not be the flavor of the month but its rewards will surely endure when all today’s bluster has been forgotten.

by STEVE LOWENTHAL on 5/17/2010 in Reviews, Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

Robbie Basho – Bonn Ist Supreme (Bo’Weevil)

In the great trilogy of the new guitar movement in America in the 1960’s three names immediately come to mind: John Fahey, Leo Kottke and Robbie Basho.  The extreme short of it is that Fahey was the deepest, Kottke was the craftsman and Basho was the mystic. If these narrow definitions ring even remotely true than it makes sense that Basho would be the last to get his due and find his audience. In the last few years Basho’s sounds could be heard echoed in the movements of many in the current solo guitar strata. The time has now come and this posthumous live recording from Germany in 1980 reveals the answer to some looming doubts some may have about his later period works. Bonn Ist Supreme shows Basho in command of both his playing and voice. Running through selections from throughout his catalog Basho shows just as much depth as Fahey and skill as Kottke but where they remain rooted in Americana Basho travels to the east and India without ever abandoning his fundamental folk based idioms. This inflection deflects the crass cultural jacking that some artists fall head first into appropriation. Basically, Basho makes music that remains uniquely his own. Rescued from a box of second generation tapes supplied by Cul De Sac’s Glenn Jones, Bonn Ist Supreme has a gritty quality that makes classics like “Rocky Mountain Raga” seem all the more authentic and provides insight into his later Windham Hill catalog which some dismiss as “New Age”. The Bo’Weevil label does a great job with the package and Jones’ liner notes are well crafted and informative. Any fan of the guitar should track this down. Lets hope there are some other rarities unearthed from Basho that result from this. This should really be pressed up on vinyl as well. Any takers?

by STEVE LOWENTHAL on 5/4/2008 in Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , ,