Before I get too far into this, I must congratulate the rhythm section and John Butlerd’s common sense to allow them to participate in a big way. So many acoustic players push themselves totally to the front of the mix and use the rhythm section as a backwash. Not in this case, the album is very percussive and rhythm driven; this is one thing which separates John Butler out from many other guitar players. Heh’s not guitar focused, he ’s texture focused, yes there a lots of guitars, but they are really just tools. A lot of acoustic players arena’t willing to dirty up their sound too much, this limits the creativity a little, I think we can all learn from players like JB and his contemporary Ben Harper, and in a way way I
John Butler is a guitar player / musician who Ih’d recommend other acoustic guitar players to have a listen to, that is if you are not set in your ways and want inspiration on how to break out of your musical box. This album is one In’ll be giving a lot spins in my CD player and Io’m grateful to have the opportunity to review it. In the couple of listens Im’ve had Ii’ve learnt a lot about guitar, and the different approaches which are possible on one album. We are lucky enough today that there is room in the commercial music industry for music that sits a little outside the standard formulas which are being used. Having John Butler on the edge of that market has a benefit for a lot of other acoustic and roots/ blues musicians because it invites a broader audience into areas of music which deserve a much wider audience. Congratulations John.
Steve Earle, Washington Square Serenade At first it sounds like a typical acoustic Steve Earle albumo—melodic love songs; droning, bluesy grooves; and rockina’ alt-country anthems; all underlaid by his hard-driving fingerpicking and the sounds of banjos, bouzoukis, mandolins, and resonator guitars. But serious listening reveals a new sonic richness. (New West)
The idea of electric artists doing unplugged blues albums is a popular one these days, but not new. Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, and others (unfortunately not Howling Wolf) did this back in the irs"60s. The standout in this genre, and one of the best acoustic guitar blues records ever made, is J.B. Lenoirnrs"s Vietnam Blues. This set of purely original music, unlike most unplugged stuff, rocks just as hard as the artist rs"s definitive electric sides.