|Written - November
Ok, I'll admit that I'm rather partial to the talents of Mark Hill from over in the Maritimes of Canada, but his breadth of skills in all genres of our Ohio Fingerstyle Guitar Club style of guitar pickin (Chet "pickin", Merle "floggin", Jerry "clawin", and my fav - Lenny "jazzin") simply puts him right up with the top three finger style guitarists in the world. This album is "solo guitar" in the extreme.
His latest CD release, "Styles," further emphasizes his brilliance across the many disciplines and musicality of guitar playing - hence, the title of the album "Styles" of perusing the hardwood fret board in an effort to entertain. He exercises his skills in thumb style like Chet and Paul Yandell (including I've Been Lucky written by Paul,) several Jerry Reed claw tunes.
On one end of the spectrum he can "thumbpick" with the best of them as displayed in a very Chet-like version of Mr. Sandman - however, in the "lead break" where most other recording guitarists "hire" a jazzman to inject some counterpoint interest in the arrangement - Mark breaks into an extremely proficient jazz line take that borderlines Lenny Breau brilliance.
With Lenny in mind, on the other end of the spectrum he plays a magical Lenny B style arrangement of The Days of Wine and Roses - that will bring you to tears, make you want to sell all your guitars, and find out where this fella lives so you can buy a house next door. The man is soooo good that he's scary.
I'll end by borrowing a paragraph I wrote ending his last CD Review "a mark in time" because after re-reading it, I can't say it any clearer:
Mr. Hill’s playing is incredibly meticulous, clean as a bell, and on one classy side - deceivingly simple-to-play “sounding” – and, organically complex on the other. However, I’ll warn the listeners to take heed and “don’t try this at home.” It is near heresy to compare any guitarist (new or old) to our hero Chet Atkins within the CAAS circle of near neo-Atkins fans – and, I’m not about to tread on that thin ice with this review – and, I can’t base any of my opinions on the subject by claiming “I knew Chet” because I didn’t – however, I do know many of the talents that Chet felt deserved to be considered “drop in ma’ office, anytime yer in town” level – and, I’m sure if Mr. A was still alive he would have loved Mark Hill's pickin’!! Practiced, clean, sincere, complex, aggressive yet restrained, and ALWAYS in control. Never faster than he can really play.
Where Can I Buy One?
e-mail Mark Hill