Category Archives: Acoustic Guitar

Review : Glenn Jones “Barbecue Bob in Fishtown” LP/CD (Strange Attractors Audio House, 2009)

Glenn_Jones_Barbecue_Coverby Raymond Morin

In the avant-rock band Cul de Sac, guitarist Glenn Jones and his bandmates combine fingerstyle electric guitar, krautrock rhythms and harsh electronics, creating a challenging, textured sound that defies categorization. In 1997, the group famously collaborated with acoustic guitar icon John Fahey and released the album The Epiphany of Glenn Jones. Now, over a decade later, comes the third solo outing from Jones, and on Barbecue Bob in Fishtown the spirit of John Fahey and his American Primitive approach is alive and well.

Though his band is known for their experimental leanings, Glenn Jones the solo artist is considered something of a traditionalist, and the Barbecue Bob… package is very much presented in the grand tradition of instrumental acoustic guitar collections of years past. From the light-hearted cover image and the eloquent, self-penned liner notes to the tuning references and instrument notes for each song, the art direction has a classic feel… the album could pass as an artifact from any point in the last 40 years. When the included booklet is flipped over and reversed, we’re treated to a photo-diary of Jones paying a visit to Belmont Nails, for what appears to be an application of fresh acrylics. All of this is the kind of stuff that guitar geeks eat up, myself included!

Well, as everyone knows, the best compliment to great packaging is great music (to listen to while staring at the great packaging, of course!) and on Barbecue Bob in Fishtown, Jones delivers some fine picking indeed. The album kicks off with the upbeat alternating bass of the title track, the bends and rolls evoking both Fahey and some of the modern purveyors of his style, such as Nick Schillace and Jack Rose. Jones’ style immediately stands apart from those players in its more relaxed attack, never quite approaching the tidiness of Schillace or the determined physicality of Rose. I find the easy, slightly ragged character of Jones’ picking to be very charming, particularly on “Barbecue Bob…”, “Dead Reckoning” and album closer “A Geranium For Mano-a-Mano”.


Glenn Jones – “A Geranium For Mano-a-Mano”

There are two brief banjo pieces on the album, and both are compelling listens. Mood and tempo-wise, “Keep It A Hundred Years” and “A Lark In Earnest” are very similar, a possible product of Jones’ relative newness to the instrument… but in spite of this, his knack for composition wins out, and the banjo songs stand up as some of the most melodically driven on the album. “Keep It…” contains some unexpected chord changes, keeping it interesting and unpredictable, while “Lark…” benefits from a simple, memorable melodic theme and some very nice finger-rolls.

Glenn Jones in action

Glenn Jones in action

“1337 Shattuck Avenue, Apartment D”, Jones’ tribute to Robbie Basho, is one of the most emotive tracks on the disc, and also its longest. In the liner notes, Jones explains that this loosely structured composition was one of many takes, and was chosen for its “uncertain” feel. There is definitely a palpable degree of uncertainty in the playing, with many of the notes fretting out around the 4 1/2-minute mark as Jones begins descending into dark, dissonant territory. Still, the emotional thread that runs through the song, coupled with the variety of the sections, keeps the listener wholly invested.

My favorite song on the album is “For Wendy, In Her Girlish Days”. This selection contains some of Jones’ most delicate and beautiful playing, and its primary theme is a nice hybrid of Leo Kottke-style alternating bass and chord voicings, supporting a vaguely British-tinged melodic approach.


Glenn Jones – “For Wenday In Her Girlish Days”

Glenn Jones is something of a staple in the current solo acoustic guitar movement, and Barbecue Bob in Fishtown makes a great case for why that is. Jones’ playing shows him to be a guitarist with a distinctive touch, an experienced player with a pleasing affection for traditional picking as well as a flare for varied and innovative composition.

Buy the LP or CD from Strange Attractors
Buy the LP or CD from Insound
Glenn Jones’ website
Glenn Jones’ on Myspace

Advertisements

Raymond Morin / Pairdown September Tour Dates

J_Rose_Flier_93009

Work & Worry’s own Raymond Morin will be going out on the road at the end of September, touring in support of this year’s “Holykyle” LP by Pairdown. He’ll be playing songs from Pairdown, his solo work as The Instances, some new instrumentals and a few chestnuts from the British folk and blues revival. Morin will be joined by Micah Blue Smaldone on a couple of dates, as well as old friends Shrinking Islands and Quoins.

9/25 – Skylight 307 (w/ Shrinking Islands, Heirloom) 307 Market St (upstairs), Philadelphia PA… 7PM
9/26 – 421 Bigelow Hollow Rd (house show w/ old friends! Invite only!) Eastford, CT… 8PM
9/27 – The Apohadion (w/ Micah Blue Smaldone, Listo) 107 Hanover St, Portland ME… 8PM
9/28 – Zuzu (w/ Micah Blue Smaldone, Quoins) 474 Mass Ave, Cambridge MA… 9PM
9/29 – Pete’s Candy Store (w/ St. Cloud, Underscore Orkestra, Tori Sparks) 709 Lorimer, Brooklyn NYC… 8PM
9/30 – Morning Glory Coffee (Pairdown duo, w/ Jack Rose) 1806 Chislett St, Pittsburgh PA… 7:30PM

For more info or directions, please email sortofrecords at gmail dot com.

Check out Pairdown on Myspace
Buy Pairdown’s LP from Sort Of Records

Jack Rose September Tour Dates

Jack Rose, one of my favorite modern fingerpickers, is getting ready to play a nice array of shows, quite possibly in your area. If you’ve seen Jack play before, you know that few can play American Primitive, raga and drone on the guitar the way he can. If you’ve never seen him, your chance is coming up quick!

Jack has a new record out, a collaboration with The Black Twigs, on VHF Records. Follow this link for more info and sound samples.

Dates from the Front Porch Productions site, venue links by W&W :

9/4 – Night Light (with The Black Twigs), Chapel Hill NC
9/5 – Venue TBA (with The Black Twigs – presented by Harvest Records), Asheville NC
9/6 – The Pilot Light, Knoxville TN
9/8 – Eyedrum, Atlanta GA
9/9 – Farm 255, Athens GA
9/11 – New College, Sarasota FL
9/13 – Venue TBA, Orlando FL
9/15 – The Engine Room (Co-presented by WVFS), Tallahassee FL
9/16 – Strong Stead, Pensacola FL
9/17 – Bottletree, Birmingham AL
9/18 – Venue TBA (presented by MiniCine), Shreveport LA
9/19 – The Conservatory, Oklahoma City OK
9/20 – Replay Lounge, Lawrence KS
9/22 – The Oriental Theater, Denver CO
9/23 – Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Omaha NE
9/24 – The Hideout (with David Daniell and Douglas McCombs), Chicago IL
9/25 – Open Lot, St. Louis MO
9/26 – The Black Sparrow, Lafayette IN
9/27 – Bear’s Place, Bloomington IN
9/28 – The Swan Dive, Louisville KY
9/29 – Natasha’s (presented by WRFL), Lexington KY
9/30 – Morning Glory Coffeehouse (with Pairdown, presented by Work & Worry), Pittsburgh PA

Buy Jack Rose music from Insound