Ian Cruickshank is known to Django fans for the many hats he wears. He has been prolific as a historian, guitarist, composer, bandleader, festival organizer, record producer, and the guiding light behind John Jeremy’s film documentary, Django Legacy. The Hot Club world certainly owes him a debt of gratitude.
This, Cruickshank’s third album, is also his most personal. As he writes in his liner notes, on one level the title pays homage to Cruickshank’s love of canoeing and a cedar-strip canoe he built by hand. On a deeper level, the music chronicles his journey through life.
Cruickshank is joined here by the usual suspects; rhythm guitarist Jez Cook, bassist Andy Crowdy, and clarinetist Duncan Batchelor, as well as Pete Morgan’s bass and Rohit Mistry on tabla drums on three tracks. Cruickshank’s own acoustic and electric guitarwork is sure and clean; on the songs “Gypsy le Pont” and “But Beautiful,” he plays solo.
Cruickshank is at his best on the swing compositions played with his full band. He has a knack for penning sweet melodies that are pure and natural. The title track is a case in point; it’s a melody so perfect it floats along like air.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s April ’01 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.