OK, I'll admit, recently I've become a big Jim Volk fan - but, believe me - it's justified. But, before I get into this review I've first got to eat some crow. I have not always spoken well of the Thirsty Ear venue here in Columbus, Ohio in the past because of it's rather aloof owner and usually drunken raucous smoky crowd. However, this evening it seemed like I parked in front of another bar.. It was smoke free (thanks to the recent Columbus ban on smoking), the staff was courteous and actually interested in what I wanted to drink and eat (where were they when I was a beer drinker,) and the room was filled with a relatively sober crowd that had come to LISTEN to - Jim Volk. This evening - it was his room and did he ever take advantage of it!!!
Fresh off some pretty intense shoulder surgery, Dana Whitlock opened for Jim with a set of his original meanderings in open tunings. You could tell he was in a great deal of pain in his shoulder, but under the circumstances he gave the crowd their money's worth.
However, with all due respect to Dana - this evening was all Jim Volk.
I've seen Jim in medium sized settings and small settings and he always puts on a performance from somewhere within his psychic being - very similar to the popular Tommy Emmanuel. (Shoot, I've seen him in a venue so small that I was that only one in attendance.. (lol) And, never has he disappointed me. But, this evening he seemed to feed off the energy of the room - the people came to see him perform - and, he didn't disappoint them.
Not without his usual comical mutterings (lol), Jim tore into one tune after another with a fire that I have never seen from him. He was musically brilliant with the confidence of a master of his art.. An, extremely high energy performance with precision and clarity - and, (unlike the "kings" of his artistic group) at volumes low enough to hear his notes. Now, you needed to be on a sugar high to stay up with them as fast as they were coming if one were a silly guitarist trying to figure out where he was getting them all.. Or, the more adroit listener could have just set back, relaxed and enjoyed the show... It was marvelous.....
Folks, I've heard Tommy Emmanuel in concert a few times the last couple years and as awesomely talented as he is - he's just too damned loud. Given that he and Jim Volk ever end up playing in your town the same night - do yourselves a favor - go see Jim Volk.....
Palmer Moore - Organizer, Ohio Fingerstyle Guitar Club