Album: Jack Rose, Luck in the Valley (Thrill Jockey)

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The Independent Culture

Luck In The Valley will be a treat for those who hanker after the entrancing webs of guitar spun by the likes of John Fahey and Robbie Basho.

Like them, Jack Rose combines dextrous fingerstyle technique with a broad knowledge of both Western and Eastern music influences, blending raga with blues, and banjo with tamboura. The opener "Blues For Percy Danforth" sets out Rose's stall, the guitarist celebrating the minstrel percussive maestro with miasmic flurries of picking and modal drones with by wisps of jews harp, tamboura and lap steel. Like Fahey, he bends time to his own shifting needs, with sudden urgent bursts punctuating the overall mood of suspension. "Tree In The Valley" is another Fahey-style blur of modal blues, while elsewhere things take on a more old-timey traditional American feel, as on the guitar and fiddle instrumental "Lick Mountain Ramble" and "Moon In The Gutter", where the guitar and banjo are joined by rattling bone percussion like a tap-dancing skeleton. Washboard and tack piano are added to the jangle of guitar for "When Tailgate Drops, The Bullshit Stops", which has the light, frisky tone of pre-war brothel music, while "Woodpiles On The Side Of The Road" is rendered in a blend of fingerpicking and slide guitar that forms an ingenious blend of swagger and swoon.

Download this: Blues For Percy Danforth; Tree In The Valley; Woodpiles On The Side Of The Road