by Casey Rea
Finally made it to one of the Greg Davis-hosted shows at Green Door Studio last night, and it was lovely. Three fine acoustic guitarists in an intimate setting — perfect for a late fall evening.
Here's the recap.
Berkeley, California's Sean Smith opened up the show, and he was by far my favorite performer of the night. Some guys are just meant to play the guitar, and he's one of 'em. Full red beard, long hair, longer fingers, and a sly but friendly demeanor well suited to the intricate and whimsical tunes he played. I'm a big fan of the Canterbury prog sound and British Isles "druid-folk," and Smith's style bore that imprint. A steel-string weeeeezard! I even bought his disc. Well actually, Brooke bought it for me, as I'm totally broke.
I had Matt Baldwin pegged as a not-entirely reformed metalhead right out of the gate. Guess we can smell our own. It wasn't just because his opening song featured lyrics from Judas Priest's first record. Something in his spidery fingerstyle was agitated and ever-so-slightly cruel. Once you start down the Dark Path, forever will it dominate your destiny, a wise muppet once said.
I'm about to confess a major heresy here: I'm not a huge fan of the late John Fahey. I appreciate him as a visionary of folk music, but his dark and stumbling (not to mention grindingly repetitive) chord clusters just don't have it for me. As previously mentioned, I prefer a crisper acoustic sound with more high-mids and a gentler touch. My fave semi-trad guitarist is Davey Graham, who nicely blends mystical English stuff with American rag and Indian raga. Do check him out.
The last picker, Glenn Jones, was a close associate of Fahey's. The influence certainly shows. Actually, Jones is technically superior to his friend/mentor. His set was full of charming and humorous asides, making for a truly warm experience. It was cool to be in the presence of someone who'd obviously lived a real journeyman's life. Glad to know those kinds of fellows are still out there making musical magic.
I'd post pics, but I don't have a camera! If Greg sends me some, I'll gladly put 'em up.