Tony R Clef - Tuesday Afternoon
Solo acoustic guitar is enjoying a heyday unprecedented since its designer first looked at the curves of a woman and saw music. Tony R Clef is the latest to enjoy the current boom; "Tuesday Afternoon" is a collection of classical and pop tunes arranged by Clef. For the most part, his nylon strings provide warm, resonant charm and occasional depth of emotion. There are some surprises here, and some obvious choices that seem lazy, but in all this is a deft, deliberate and soulful set of private moments made public.
Clef won a contest on Paul McCartney's website for his rendition of "Maybe I'm Amazed," so the appearance here of a jaunty "When I'm Sixty-Four" is not a shock. Yes, the title track is a working of the tired Moody Blues tune, which on certain days can still hit you in the gut. Clef sticks to a fairly reverent, straight forward cover that doesn't really do much. Of his pop choices, much better is the Kinks' "Sunny Afternoon," in which he perfectly captures the whimsical sadness of the original.
The highlights, though, are a thoroughly surprising, poignant and fun "Pure Imagination" from "Willy Wonka," and a meditative "Moon Time." He even gives a tune from "Oklahoma!" a go; "Out of My Dreams" is short but sadly soulful. On songs like "Les chemins de l'amour, FP 106" and "If ever I more riches did desire, Z. 544: Me, O Ye Gods," Clef gives himself more room to display his dexterity, rather than merely focus on the melody. His tone is warm and ringing, and more workouts that display that would be welcome.
"Tuesday Afternoon" is a solidly arranged set of popular tunes from a guitarist whose work varies from the mundane (in selection) to the profound (in execution). Tony R Clef would be wise to stretch his repertoire a bit, or share more of it with us. His tone can become addictive with repeated listens if you aren't distracted by some tired tunes within which he chooses to work.
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