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Tommy Emmanuel, Music Gone Public, 2017

tommy emmanuel - music gone publicIf someone as awesome as Steve Vai describes watching someone play for the first time and being “stunned to silence”, you know there is something special going on. And Tommy Emmanuel is the man for the job. Not only is he not of this planet from a technical point of view, he also turns out to be a stellar entertainer and a really funny guy.

Should you not know who Emmanuel is (hey, I was only introduced to him a couple of years ago), this man is a phenomenon on nylon and steel stringed guitars, preferably from fellow Aussies Maton. And not only that, sometimes he is a one man band, providing percussive sounds and bass along his chords and melodies. And on top of that, he sings as well. How can we not be impressed by this man’s capabilities? And now we’re at it, his rhythmic prowess matches that of his guitar playing.

So I dare you to watch this DVD and not be impressed. Whether it are the 11 tracks taken from various performances in the US or the 5 bonus tracks, prepare to be blown away. Not only by dazzling technique, but also by wit and feel. Alone, or with friends, the man is born to play and perform. And in his own words, still trying to become good at it. Humbling!

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Janet Feder, This Close, 2015

janet feder - this closeDon’t know about you, but I kinda like it when an artist releases music that is so personal and intimate, it is unique. And for me Janet Feder just did that. I can understand why she writes that previous work happened in her head and this comes from the heart. And even if only 3 from the 9 songs contain her vocals, she speaks volumes with her guitar as well.

With a background in folk and rock, but also classically trained, the tools were already there I guess, but the decision to just be, paved the path for these songs. And don’t expect to be overpowered by technique. When I say intimate, that is what you get. It feels like she is there in the room with you pouring her heart and soul out through her playing or singing.
The album opens with Crows and Ticking Time Bomb, 2 of the vocal tracks. Brooding with atmosphere and suspense, these suck you into the album immediately. Happy Everyday Me is the first instrumental track. Nylon stringed guitar and various sounds that enhance this composition. No Apology contains almost unidentifiable sounds behind another classical guitar piece.

And yes, the playing is impeccable, but what counts most for me is the way this music has been enriched. Janet and her friends succeeded in creating timeless music that touches on a deeper level. That Close indeed!

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Mark Bogert, A Story In Parts, 2014

Mark Bogert - A Story In PartsIn the world of guitar shredders, the two big names are of course Joe Satriani and Steve Vai. Both have an instant recognisable style and have paved the way for many others. And yes, I know there are more, but fair´s fair, these two probably are the biggest sellers and most well known names.

Okay and now one Mark Bogert comes along with an all instrumental guitar album as well. You could know Mark from his days with Penny´s Twisted Flavour, or more recently Knight Area. So how does he hold up compared to the big guns? Well, I think Mark has a great and warm tone for one and a fluid style, both in rhythm as in solo´s. Second he puts more emphasis on melody than on strictly impossible guitar abuse. Which makes me think of Satriani more than Vai, although in some parts it is the other way around. And Mark incorporates keyboards, which sometimes even get a chance to shine a bit.
And it is because of the diversity in the material, that this has turned out to be a very enjoyable album. Yes it is a guitar album with plenty of notes, but I did not find it hard to like the songs and get into the album. Worth checking out and this is another release that label Freia Music can be proud of!

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