Tag Archives: Folk

Review : Jack Rose “Luck In The Valley” LP/CD (Thrill Jockey, 2010)

by David Leicht

Performing is a musician’s most reliable path to the mastery of technique and ideas. The late Jack Rose constructed his solo guitar repertoire through years of persistent touring to become one of the commanding players of our generation. His 2005 album, Kensington Blues, presented eight selections that would serve as prototypes for his subsequent work, and a guitar vocabulary that was both deep-rooted and deliberately limited. Jack did not dabble, at least in public (he once told me that he played “Blackwaterside” now and then for a kick or as a warm-up). Instead, he continually explored variations of his core ideas. On his ultimate album, Luck In The Valley, he works primarily in ensemble with a cast that includes Glenn Jones, The Black Twig Pickers, Harmonica Dan and Hans Chew.

Jack’s work on the Weissenborn is the part of his repertoire I enjoy most. He used lap slide conventionally, for blues solos, but would also turn to it for modal, rāga-like excursions like “Now That I’m A Man Full Grown II” (from Kensington Blues) and “Song For The Owl” (from the limited edition 2009 LP, The Black Dirt Sessions). Luck In The Valley opens with a selection in this mold, entitled “Blues For Percy Danforth.” Jack’s slide on the take is charged and immediate, while an accompaniment of jaw harp and harmonica cleverly approximates sitar overtones. Within the context of the current guitar underground, where there is no shortage of Hindustani exotica, this cut strikes me as a revelation:

As “Danforth” fades, the album turns on a dime into “Lick Mountain Ramble,” the first of several rowdy ensemble pieces described in the press notes as “three-track shack recordings.” These tunes are elemental, joyful and beautifully presented. Jack’s “boom-chick” is the pervasive force, but is never artificially favored in the mixes, which are appropriately roomy and not over-engineered. My favorite is “When Tailgate Drops, The Bullshit Stops” (of course, though, I’m a sucker for the title)

“Tree In The Valley,” from the latter half of the album, is the second rāga-style work and one of only two solos, played in the manner of Robbie Bãsho’s “A North American Raga (The Plumstar)” (from 1971’s Song Of The Stallion LP) and Jack’s own “Cross the North Fork” (originally from Kensington Blues, with alternate takes on Tompkins Square’s Imaginational Anthem Volume 2 compilation of 2006 and also The Black Dirt Sessions). What I think Rose brings to this type of guitar playing that most others have not is an unwavering sense of resolve: there is never a moment’s hesitation, never a loss of direction. He also brings near-flawless execution, and so absent are the missed and bum notes that could jar the listener from reverie.

While Kensington Blues will likely endure as Jack’s signature work, Luck In The Valley, his best since, is a worthy, multifaceted companion.

Buy the LP or CD from Thrill Jockey
Buy the LP or CD from Insound
Dr. Ragtime, a Jack Rose tribute site
Jack Rose on Myspace

Fantastic Voyagers Festival 3… March 6 + 7 In Pittsburgh

Though a couple of acts are still being confirmed, Pittsburgh’s Mike Tamburo has announced the lineup for the third installment of his Fantastic Voyagers Festival, to be held this year at Morning Glory Coffeehouse on March 6 and 7. The musicians represent several styles, genres and techniques, and this years fest will see its participants exploring the quieter side of their repertoires.

The confirmed list (not necessarily in order of appearance) :

Keenan Lawler (Louisville)
Nick Schillace (Detroit)
Eric Carbonara (Philly)
Enumclaw (Philly)
Chris Forsyth (Philly)
Aaron Lennox (West Virginia)
Joel Peterson (Detroit)
Mike Tamburo and pals (Pittsburgh)
Sundog Peacehouse (Pittsburgh)
Tusk Lord (Pittsburgh)
Hunted Creatures (Pittsburgh)
Pairdown (Pittsburgh)
Waterfinder (Pittsburgh)
Melissa St. Pierre (Pittsburgh)
Dire Wolves (Pittsburgh)
Chris Niels (Pittsburgh)
Great Blue Heron (Pittsburgh)
Darren Myers (Pittsburgh)

Jack Rose “Luck In The Valley” Record Release And Memorials

There will be memorial shows for the late Jack Rose in Philly and NYC on the weekend of February 13 and 14th. The first will also double as the record release for his upcoming Thrill Jockey disc Luck In The Valley.

2/13/2010 :
From settingsuns.org :

Jack Rose passed away suddenly at home in Philadelphia on December 5. He was widely regarded as the most profound exponent of acoustic guitar playing of his generation. Jack grew to be loved and admired by a great many people through his live performances, electric personality, profound cooking skills and a general mastery in the art of friendship. This concert is a release party for his new album Luck In The Valley and an occasion to celebrate and remember the good Dr. Ragtime. The artists performing were all dear friends of Jack’s and admired by him musically.

This event takes place at the Latvian Society of Philadelphia, 531 N. 7th St, on Saturday 2/13 at 7pm. The list of performers is trans-Atlantic and impressive…

D. Charles Speer & The Helix
Thurston Moore | Paul Flaherty | Chris Corsano
Michael Chapman
Pelt
The Black Twig Pickers
Glenn Jones
Byron Coley
Meg Baird | Chris Forsyth
Magajam Booze Band
DJ Ian Nagoski
Video clips curated by Tara Young

The show is 21+, and tickets can be purchased here for $18.
For more info, please email brooke.sietinsons (at) gmail.com

2/14/2010 :
“A Valentine For Jack Rose” at Issue Project Room, Brooklyn NY
February 14, 2010, 8PM doors, 8:30 start
$8-15 sliding scale

Micheal Chapman
Steve Gunn
The Black Twig Pickers
Glenn Jones
Tom Carter
Marcia Bassett
Pelt

For more info, email regina (at) frontporchproductions.org

Bert Jansch “Acoustic Routes” Documentary (1992)

For a long time, I’d known about “Acoustic Routes”, the legendary documentary about Bert Jansch which aired in the UK in the early 90’s… now, through the magic of YouTube (and thanks to the efforts of user mrcmxoner) this obscure little film is available for all to see! There are so many great moments… Bert and John reunited, Bert playing a blues with Brownie McGhee, one of his first heroes, and commentary from Hamish Imlach, Anne Briggs, Wizz Jones, Archie Fisher… wonderful stuff! The proceedings are affectionately hosted by Billy Connolly (click link to see his nutty Flash site), and I thought I’d embed the entire thing right here, to save everyone the trouble of skipping around on YouTube. Enjoy!

C Joynes “Revenants, Prodigies And The Restless Dead”

New on Immune Recordings, the latest from English guitarist C Joynes… Joynes calls his style “Anglo-Naive and Contemporary Parlour Guitar”, and it’s a clever (yet fitting) description! The album features a wide range of melodic approaches, with influences ranging from minimalism to British folk, from country blues to Indian classical music and more.

Check out this piece about Joynes on Dusted, and buy the limited edition LP from Immune Recordings or the CD from Bo’Weavil.