March 28th, 2008
The gents at American Dust
records have just released the first album by Matt Baldwin
. I gave it a spin last night while eating a plum and staring longingly at the ceiling. First and foremost, Baldwin is a guitarist. And yes, before I go any further: comparisons to John Fahey
and Leo Kottke
are often tossed around wayyyyy too liberally to acoustic composers. I’m guilty
of it myself. But aside from the fact that Baldwin plays longform acoustic-based compositions, his approach is far more atmospheric, far more restrained than his fingerpicking forebears. This is a rare case where “atmosphere” is not a compensation for a lack of talent. His virtuosity simmers beneath the surface; his skill is an unspoken subtext in every song. That’s not to say that he doesn’t let the lions loose to ravage a gazelle once and a while. Sometimes water can only boil so long before it bubbles over the edge of the pot, scalding the hand and sending thoughts racing.
Such is the case with Matt Baldwin who, unlike Fahey, isn’t afraid to sing once a while. Some of you may have heard Baldwin before: he’s already an established presence in the Berkeley guitar scene that can claim artists such as Sean Smith and Adam Snider. So take heed all ye disciples of the the acoustic gods: Matt Baldwin is one to watch.
He’ll be playing in Big Sur on May 10 too, so check him out live if you can!
” from Paths of Ignition
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