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Date this web site was last edited:  12/06/2015

 

 

 

 

Review

The "Seven Guitarists" a "Smashing" Success - 3/28/02

There was a concert of "Seven Guitarists" held at the Thirsty Ear Tavern last Thursday evening organized by Jim Volk that defied gravity and sucked me into the "no melody - BAGDAD tuning" fold like a kid at his first rock concert. Actually, it was not all that kind of guitar music - however, the majority of the audience had come to hear that genre - and, wasn’t disappointed… Neither, was I.

OK. OK. I’ll admit it - I have long been a very vocal big dis-advocate of the styles of acoustic guitar players that tend to tune every string to GGGGGGGGGGGGGGG, and loudly bang away at their non-melodic "original" finger exercises as if they were cleaning an old rug - for sometimes up to 15 minutes at a time…. (I still think they could shorten them up a tad…) But, Thursday evening I must have seen some of the best at that art in the world… and, I was completely drawn in by their artistry. Kotke would have been hard pressed to out perform these guys.

I was initially lured into their "web" by having Ohio Fingerstyle Guitar Club members Terry Effaw and John Morgan on the bill - and, they actually led off. John playing his very strong Celtic originals in "standard" tuning - and, Terry playing his Chet/Reed standards. However, they both had to fight (much to the dismay of the event organizer) a very "talkative" audience. (They obviously had come to see the later performers.) Which was too bad because it took both John and Terry a little out of their normal performances. I was a little upset - almost to the point of where I was going to leave, but Terry soothed me suggesting I should at least stay long enough to hear Jon Mosey play his rag time tunes. And, boy am I glad I did.

Jon was a wonderfully laid back singer/guitarist that crooned a mixture of old black blues and turn of the century rag time. And, his guitar playing was impeccably smooth, intricate, with many wonderful moving bass lines. His face and demeanor showed traces of the time he has spent entertaining this world and the attitude for playing the "blues," however his fingers looked like they belonged to someone half his age - constantly moving effortless from chord to transition - to chord to turn… on and on. Like they had a life of their own. A pure pleasure to hear.

I had heard of Bill Ducher for many years around the club circuit in Columbus, but had never heard him in person. Another big treat. Bill plays mostly de-tuned originals, too - but, he "feathers" the strings instead of banging on them. I over use the word intricate - but, it best explains someone that moves around the fret board effortlessly like Bill without buzzing, dints, donks, and dings. He is a very accomplished performer that utilizes a modern day Echoplex device that has "real time" multi-track recording and playback that he uses very well to accompany himself with chords, bass lines, and special effects. He is not afraid of using a variety of guitars in his act including a beautiful new custom harp guitar built by local luthier A Thomas Davis - who was also proudly in attendance. The females in the audience especially liked Bill’s tall dark Vince Gill looks… 8^)

For the sake of brevity, let me skip over a few of the other players (albeit, they were all great entertainers) and spend some time on (from my perspective) the hit of the evening - concert promoter and phenomenal guitarist/performer, Jim Volk. Jim came on last - however, not least… I am finding myself totally inept at explaining what Jim does.. I’m sure he plays with non-standard tunings - and, much to my dismay - he, too, plays musical renditions without recognizable melodies - and, he bangs on his damned guitar. But, all with a flare, brilliance, and energy that I haven’t seen since my last Tommy Emmanuel concert. But, he doesn’t play TE music - just with his energy. To my novice ears the music he plays sounds like a super charged Leo Kottke. He starts out with a fairly simple line (that he records and plays back) - this time adding riffs and licks over the top of his original line that dazzle the listener. However, he ain’t through.. He comes back at that line with percussion, chimes, other noises - and, still more riffs and licks - ending up in a flare of musical fan fare that has the audience on the edge of their seats and screaming for more. You just gotta see this guy to understand what I’m babbling about….

Great night - great surprise for this writer.

Palmer Moore