Jack Rose was a practitioner of his own unique brand of modern Appalachia, a master of the steel string, whether finger picking or playing with a slide, Rose can coax amazing sounds from a guitar, and all by his lonesome create lush steel string guitarscapes, that range from haunting and mysterious to folky and familiar.
This lp originally released in 2008 gathers up three long live tracks, all quite different. The first is a track from Kensington Blues, a big favorite around here, recorded live in Chicago, and is of course amazing. Swirling clouds of notes, tangled melodies, shimmering drones, almost like Lubomyr Melnyk on the guitar, incredibly fast finger picking, the notes whirling and piling up into blurred chords, all woven into a rich layered expanse of droning folk. So fantastic. The second track was recorded live by Berry Kamer, for the VPRO radio show in Amsterdam, and demonstrates Rose's more traditional side, much more classic folk and Appalachian sounding, folky and wistful, dreamy and gorgeous and fluttery, but still plenty dense and deep, with more incredible fingerpicking, but much more subtle, the result some classic John Fahey style pick and strum.
The whole of side two is taken up but a single looooong high end drone exploration, that harkens back to Rose's days in his old group Pelt. Previously released on the now way out of print vinyl-only compilation By The Fruits You Shall Know The Roots, this track finds Rose getting all Sunroof! with a gorgeous wavery field of high end drones and metallic shimmer, buzzing pulsing layers, overtones and buried melodies, glistening and glimmering, all upper register tones blurred and smeared into effulgent streaks, moaning and scraping and singing, the various tones allowed to burn bright and blend into the surrounding tones, a serious chunk of divine ur-drone for sure.
Folks who have been going crazy for James Blackshaw, Ilyas Ahmed, Matt Baldwin and the like, will definitely dig this. Rose fans, well, you know you need this already. The drone track will definitely hit the spot for Sunroof! fans and anyone into otherworldly and transcendent drone music.