Saturday, July 31, 2010

Christopher Martin Hansen - Sweetwater

Hear The Track Here

'That ******* Gilmore, he likes everybody' is a comment I have become very familiar with over the years. Maybe that's my unbounding enthusiasm for music in general where - to me anyway - music is either good or bad, regardless of how its made or what genre it is. Actually, in my world, no music is actually bad, just sloppily executed or performed. I've reviewed HUGE numbers of tracks over the years I've been on the net, and I've found surprisingly few truly awful artists, and an astounding number of really top notch musicians - and this from someone who was in the real world music business for a great many years, so I've known/know a few. Ask me a slightly different question, like which musicians do I LOVE and the answer would be totally different. For sure my favourite musicians have been ones I have grown with over many years, and one of the very, very few to always raise my spirits is acoustic guitarist extraordinaire Christopher Martin Hansen or CMH as he's known in the trade.

The word rare always crops up in any conversation anywhere concerning this man's prodigious guitar skills, and always any track will quickly point out why. However, I obviously understand that some people just don't like all that tinkly acoustic stuff, and that's fine. There again, whenever I've played CMH to anyone who would be interested I always ended up picking their jaws up off the floor too. Obviously this is not a pastime to be engaged in with large numbers of people, although I saw Leo Kottke do exactly that at a solo concert in London around 1976 so I know what it looks like. I mention Leo Kottke as a reference only, point of fact these are distinctly different guitarists with different sounds and textures. After a brief period of wandering in the cyber wilderness, CMH returned back to life this year with two incredible tracks; Passage (April 2010) and 80 Days (June 2010), both of which are from his latest album Once Upon A String...

That album, which also features Sweetwater, is shaping up to be one of the strongest albums this year and I hope I'm going to get my own copy (hint, hint). Sweetwater is, to my ears, much prettier than either of the previous tracks, but when you use the word beauty to describe tracks like this.... Damn, they are ALL drop-dead-gorgeous and as a guitarist I am my usual awestruck self and maybe one of the reasons I so like CMH's work is because I can appreciate what he takes to pull this stuff off convincingly, the style and panache is all Chris's own. As many of you are aware I'm not a big fan of guitar instrumentals, but there is one area where that doesn't hold true at all. Commercial musicians like Rodrigo y Gabriela and unsigned musicians like Christopher Martin Hansen make guitar instrumentals that are truly worthy of the name, playing of an incredibly high order.

MUST HAVE guitar masterpiece.

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