Monday, September 28, 2015

CD: FERNWOOD - Arcadia


 
FERNWOOD
Arcadia
Belss Spring - The Pan Chaser - Vision At Vasquez Rocks - Red Hill Trail - The Lost Night - Crossing The Divide - Owens Hideaway - Young Mountain Memory - After The Big Sky Falls - Escape From Sycamore Canyon - Winter Way
 
Todd Montgomery and Gayle Ellet make up 'Fernwood.'  These remarkable musicians hail from California, Topanga to be more exact, the very location that Will Geer created and built his remarkable performance center deep in the forest there.  Geer if you might not remember was 'Grandpa' on the Walton's television show, and a close friend of Woody Guthrie.  Guthrie, like me, would appreciate what these two excellent musicians are accomplishing with this remarkable CD.  There are some remarkable acoustic musical instruments on this adventure, with special efforts made to make sure it's as 'pure' as it can be, just the way I like it.  The duo also wants you to know these instruments are made of wood (as opposed to the manifest imitations made of electrical sound), and they are played by hand (as opposed to the machinery of sound used so improperly in Nashville these days).  Guitar Magazine has called this duo's work "wonderfully melodic and emotionally direct."  I could not, nor would not attempt to say it better.  Instead I will revel in the 'feelings' so valiantly laid upon me.  It's the instruments that sound so great, and you're going to hear a ton of them here.  Gayle plays the Greek bouzouki, dilruba, charango, tanpura, surmandal, Rhodes, harmonium, ruan, dobro, upright bass, guitar, piano, tenor ukulele, bells & chimes, all of them acoustic.  Todd Montgomery plays Irish bouzouki, sitar, guitar, banjo, baritone guitar, mandolin, violin, slide bouzouki, bowed guitar, all of them acoustic.  I've always liked original arrangements, and this is very obvious in this offering.  This is a kind of 'folk' music, but it is much more than that, it's a sophisticated presentation of musical improvisation that requires a steady ear a ready mind and a 'Getty' observation.  The incredible Getty Museum is located not very far from where these gentlemen hold forth on their musical excursions, and it would be my most fervent desire that I should be so fortunate to hear them performing at the Getty Museum.  Astonishing to say the least.
RECORD REVIEW BY BOB EVERHART, PRESIDENT NTCMA www.ntcma.net 
for Country Music News International Newsletter
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