James Blackshaw - Holly
There are only two songs on this EP, but like portions in a three star restaurant, what is missed in quantity is more than made up in sublime quality. "Holly" is the latest by guitar master James Blackshaw, and he expresses some of his most beautiful moments here. Maybe not his best, since his best is among the best solo acoustic work of the last fifty years, but it is close.
The title track builds from a somber phrase to deepening colors, a light Indian melody mingling with echoing haunting chords. This is emotional music, and the warm tone and inventive changes, seemingly delivered with ease, will hypnotize the attentive listener. His nylon string guitar slowly allows tasteful appearances by a piano and strings, which do not take away from the intimacy. "Boo, Forever" is a far more clean and ringing song, but no less meditative. The sharp striking of the steel strings is immediate, full of color and as vibrant as if Blackshaw was in the room with you.
While the overall mood of "Holly" is contemplative, it is deeply expressive and a triumph of emotional restraint and ringing comments from the heart. James Blackshaw is barely under 30, so it is mind-boggling to think that he may have another forty years to ply his trade. He is already at such a dizzying level of skill and in understanding the poetic possibilities of the guitar, that imagining deeper, richer chops is staggering.
User Reviews and CommentsLog In or Register to Rate Albums
Tell us why this album is great or sucks ass, or correct the reviewer. If you write enough quality reviews you may find yourself on the editorial staff.
Reviews have to be over 100 words, shorter ones are classed as comments.