Yikes, it's been almost 3 months since my last blog! This part-time editing job and raft of gigs with various folks has kept me pretty busy. Plus I just got out of the habit, I guess. I could go on and on about all the things I've been doing, but--boring. So I'll just mention a couple cool albums I've heard recently.
First off, Petri Hakala's Trad. Petri is an amazing mandolin player from Finland, and on this solo CD he plays, you guessed it, traditional Finnish tunes, on mandolins, mandola, mandocello, and guitar. I've had the pleasure of playing with Petri in the past and he's right up there with the best American mando players. His tone and fluidity are fantastic and he even plays a Gilchrist, which most players seem to regard as the best newly made mandolins. The CD is solo in that nobody else plays on it, but Petri overdubs other parts for a very nice sound that doesn't stray too far from the traditional polskas and waltzes. His guitar playing is a revelation for me--I didn't even know he played guitar--but it's his clean and crisp mando playing that is the main attraction.
David Grier has also released a solo CD recently--Live at the Linda. In David's case, it is entirely solo, just David and his 1946 Martin D-28. It will come as no surprise to anyone who's heard David that this is a phenomenal guitar record. There's no one who can do what David does with such taste and ease. What I love about this CD is the tone of David's guitar, which is difficult to render in a live setting. It may be due to the fact that David is playing a D-28, rather than his previously favored D-18, but David's tone on this CD is the best I've heard, remarkably lush and rich. It's enough to excuse the covers of "Killing Me Softly" and "America the Beautiful" and the bad jokes told between songs. Actually the "Glass Eye" joke is a good one.