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(38:25; Jimmy Robinson)
TRACK LIST: 1. Franciacorta #1 2:02 2. Four Alarm 2:30 3. You Rescued Me 3:40 4. Weezy 5:42 5. Blackbird 3:22 6. Rush Hour 2:41 7. Untitled #1 3:19 8. World of Trouble 3:53 9. Franciacorta #2 3:44 10. A.D.D. 3:51 11. Done With You 3:41 LINEUP: Jimmy Robinson - vocals, guitars
Prolusion. US composer and musician Jimmy ROBINSON is a veteran musician with a band history that goes back to the 1960's, although he is probably best known for forming progressive rock band Woodenhead, an entity that has been active since 1975. He has also done a few things without his band over the years, and besides various live and festival performances a few solo albums have seen the light of day as well "Three" is the most recent of these, and was self-released back in 2015.
Analysis. While Robinson is a member of a progressive rock band, or a fusion band if you like, the material on his third solo album is rather different from the exploits of his band. While one can hear where the solo artist and the band member have their similarities, the general as well as the overall style has a much different direction altogether on this production, as as far as style and genre is concerned I reckon that there are progressive elements here, and probably rock elements too, but not combined in a manner all that many progressive rock fans will recognize. For starters, this album is mostly instrumental, with the acoustic guitar being the sole instrument at hand. A small handful of cuts features vocals as well, but that's it as far as the elements used are concerned. But that being said, this isn't a time typical singer/songwriter album, nor is it a production with sedate guitars creating atmospheric landscapes you can dream yourself away in. Nor are the compositions here ones that can be described as pastoral. This is a tight, hard and energetic affair in many ways. Gruff and spirited at times, if that is a description that can be applied to the acoustic guitar. It is easy to hear that Robinson knows his classical guitar, and many elements of that style is present in just about all the songs here. Folk music and Americana details rather frequently are blended into this foundation, alongside details with a more distinct blues presence to them and also what I think may be occasional nods towards jazz. All present and explored in a fairly great variety of variations, and sometimes with a more exclusive focus on a select few of the styles and traditions mentioned. Style isn't as important as expression though, and it is as a musician Robinson impress the most. His fingers strikes me as so nimble that players many decades younger could envy him, and the manner in which he can transition from complex and pace-filled plucked notes and scale movements to delicate resonating notes, hard plucked notes and powerful impact hits is fascinating indeed. Just how hard and tight he can make the acoustic guitar sound is another element of fascination. If there is such a thing as hard acoustic rock, you'll find examples of it on this album. But those who enjoy a more delicate touch will get their fill and then some too, as this album covers most bases - and often within a single song as well. The main element here that maintains interest and nerve, at least for me, is how many details Robinson opts to use on his compositions. Stuffing in tons of notes, but somehow manages to make it seem natural rather than overpowering or overcrowded. One might say that a good guitarist is able to produce less with more, but it is also an art to apply more and then even more and still manage to maintain a melody, harmonies and music that doesn't come across as a technical show off. A challenging balance to maintain, and Robinson maintains it with relative ease throughout this album.
Conclusion. While the style blending of this production certainly has a progressive element to it, and quite a few of the songs could be described as acoustic rock, I don't really regard this as a progressive rock album as such. It is an impressive production though, and those with a strong fascination for high quality acoustic guitar music with as well as without vocals should find this album to be a real treat. Especially if a mix and blend of classical guitar, folk, Americana and blues sound like a good thing in this particular context.
Progmessor: December 8th 2019
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