“Fahey's Car” (by Glenn Jones)
Most folks know Glenn
Jones as guitarist extraordinaire for Cul
de Sac, in which his idiosyncratic blend of surf, Middle Eastern,
Americana and acid guitar innovations are a signature of the band's much-ballyhooed
sound. Across the better part of a decade, electric guitar (and the effects
hybrid of his own creation, The Contraption) has been Jones' weapon of
choice, but few people are aware that long before Cul de Sac was
born, Jones played the acoustic guitar exclusively for many years. From
the time his father bought him his first axe at age 14, Jones never even
picked up an electric until the wave of punk rock broke over his consciousness
at the ripe age of 29. Although eventually seduced by electricity, Jones
never escaped his roots. A scholar of sorts of the acoustic steel string
tradition, Jones has written extensively on the subject, as can be found
in the wave of Robbie Basho and John Fahey reissues on
Fantasy (not to mention the great essay on Fahey that accompanies
his final album, Red Cross). Jones befriended his idol John Fahey
in the mid-70's, eventually collaborating with him via Cul de Sac (The
Epiphany of Glenn Jones, Thirsty Ear 1996). Upon Fahey's passing
in 2001, Jones went back to the acoustic guitar with renewed earnest,
hints of which can be found inoculating Cul de Sac's 2003 masterpiece
Death of the Sun and
their soundtrack album, The Strangler's
Wife. At long-last, the time is nigh for Jones to release
his debut solo album. This is the Wind That Blows it Out - Solos
for 6 & 12 String Guitar is a collection of stylistically ambitious,
utterly sublime acoustic steel-string compositions, proving beyond a shred
of doubt that Jones is of a rare class of modern compositional guitarists
in today's burgeoning avant folk scene.
In the spirit of the great Takoma Records releases of the 60's and early 70's, This is the Wind that Blows it Out winds its way through rich expanses of varied stylistic terrain, charting a rich and unique course. "American Primitive" folk and blues, Spanish guitar, slack-key, rustic Mississippi Delta slide and classical forms cozy up fluently to one another, sometimes within the same tune. Glenn Jones' fingerstyle and slide technique is on dazzling display, guiding the music across scenic vistas of mood and color. Opening with the title tune, "This is the Wind that Blows it Out" meanders with heady grace, "Delta-delica" slide guitar as intoxicating as it is mournful. "Sphinx Unto Curious Men" is the complete version of "Second Victim?", originally found in truncated form on The Strangler's Wife; here the opening eerie fingerpicking passage turns a corner into elegant and airy rooms of lyrical décor only to come back again, balancing the angelic with the ominous. "Fahey's Car" bounces and shimmers like some of Peter Lang's classic Takoma sides, and "Linden Avenue Stomp" is an alternate take of a old-timey duet with Jack Rose, originally found on his Opium Musick LP (reissued on the Two Originals of Jack Rose CD on VHF Records). Perhaps most profoundly, Jones is able to coax strong melodies and hooks from the oft-complex, stylistically amorphous compositions - a couple of spins of This is the Wind that Blows it Out, and you will have tunes dancing through your head for days.
As interest in the old guard of steel-string innovators John Fahey, Robbie Basho, Leo Kottke and Peter Lang has been renewed with earnest, a new fraternity of Guitar Soli tunesmiths has come to the fore - Steffen Basho-Junghans, Jack Rose, Harris Newman and Glenn Jones. Along with his guitar-slinging brethren, Jones steps out of the long shadow cast by the Takoma stable and offers up "A New Possibility". This is the Wind that Blows it Out is a fantastic entry into today's simmering free folk movement, a debut album by a singular guitarist who, by way of Cul de Sac, has already turned avant rock on its collective head. Now his sights are set on the contemporary solo steel-string underground. Behold, for this is the New Folk Now Sound.
Fahey's Car by Glenn Jones is licensed under a Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.