“Little Dog's Day” (by Glenn Jones)
Since 1989, Glenn
Jones has led Boston's "avant -garage" instrumental rock band
Cul de Sac,
whose musical adventures are documented on nine albums to date, including
a soundtrack for cult-director Roger Corman (The
Strangler's Wife, 2003), and collaborations with guitarist
John Fahey (The Epiphany of Glenn Jones, 1996) and
former Can vocalist Damo Suzuki (Abhayamudra,
2004). A 30-plus-year devotee of the so-called "Takoma school," Jones
has written extensively on the steel-string guitar's leading lights: John
Fahey, with whom he was friends for nearly 25 years, and Robbie
Basho, who befriended Jones during the five years before his
untimely death in 1986. In 2001, Jones began playing acoustic guitar
in earnest, which he hadn't touched in more than a decade. In 2004, Jones
stepped out of the long shadow cast by Takoma's guitar visionaries and
offered his own "new possibility" -- This
Is the Wind That Blows It Out, an impeccable album of acoustic
6 & 12-string beauty, released to rave review. Since then, Jones
has kept busy performing with many leading lights of the guitar soli movement,
past and present, while penning new material for what is destined to be
known as his crowning achievement. Against Which the Sea Continually
Beats is an indisputable triumph of acoustic guitar composition,
a reverential and innovative melding of sound and form.
Against Which the Sea Continually Beats was recorded over four days during late September 2006 in beautiful West Tinsbury, Martha's Vineyard, MA. The peaceful, seafaring setting of the island community inspired the recording sessions, lending an air of tranquility that served to coax from Glenn Jones impeccable performances, most of which were captured in just one take. Bookended by the brief slide blues laments "Island 1" and "Island 2", Against Which the Sea Continually Beats' eleven tunes travel from Delta to Appalachia, from classical to a cinematic sort of folk sound in a language that is purely imbued in the artists' own dialect. "David and the Phoenix" unfurls like a Robbie Basho-style American Raga, but with a particular propulsion laden with melodic hooks to keep it from floating away; "Little Dog's Day", originally found on Imaginational Anthem Vol. 1 as a previous recording, benefits greatly from the Martha's Vineyard sessions as the overall feel is more relaxed and precise, lending a bit of bounce and swagger to the folk ditty. "Freedom Raga", a staple in Jones' live set, at 11:04 is the longest tune on the album and although not a raga at all but rather a triumphant 12-string straddling of the Mason-Dixon line, it is every bit as epic in scope as the title suggests; and "The Teething Necklace (For John Fahey)", a tune that Jones was working on in 2001 when he got the news that John Fahey had died, finally fleshed itself out while touring Europe with Jack Rose and is in itself a tremendously nuanced, delicately understated bit of fingerstyle allegory.
Graceful and subtle, resonating with confidence and at times sheer power, Against Which the Sea Continually Beats is a masterpiece of guitar soli by a truly singular talent.
Little Dog's Day by Glenn Jones is licensed under a Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.