Dave Harrington Group: Become Alive
After a week off, I’m easing back into the recs with a couple first-half-of-2016 favorites of mine. The first one is from Dave Harrington who has lately become one of my favorite musicians, period, consistently blowing me away in the live setting and making me regret taking too long to discover. The Darkside guitarist is out with Become Alive, his first full length as the Dave Harrington Group and it is filled with all sorts of excellent, improvisational zaps. Ranging from electro-exploratory weird and moody to ecstatic, jam-band-y climactic, Become Alive is an album worth sticking with from start to finish, believe me, you’ll be glad you did.
Chuck Johnson: Velvet Arc
At the other end of the guitar-playing spectrum, but no less compelling, is Chuck Johnson. Most of his latest work has been of the solo variety, but on Velvet Arc he’s joined by a full band. Bass and drums are used well here to amplify Johnson’s guitar work adding dimension and distance without detracting from the focus. The music has whiffs of both the familiar and the exotic, as if William Tyler’s primitive and Bombino’s Tuareg spawned a new folk music from somewhere that doesn’t quite exist. Deep and hypnotic, Velvet Arc deserves its space on the shelf with the rest of today’s understated guitar gods.