I guess Carl is mostly known for his soaring electric work that shows off terrific chops and great compositional skills. Here, things are a bit different. It’s mostly just him and an acoustic performing songs by other folks with a few originals thrown in. Carl explains on the liner notes what many of us end up doing; he says when he was a kid he learned all the licks – “Satisfaction,” “Day Tripper,” etc. When his father heard, he asked Carl if he knew any whole songs. That was the inspiration for this, and indeed, he has learned some songs!
His opener is the classic “I Loves You Porgy” from Porgy and Bess, and he mixes chordal work and single-line stuff so beautifully that he actually makes one guitar swing. Really nice. Oh yeah… did I mention the song choice here is somewhat eclectic? I never really pictured (or heard in my head) the Kinks’ “Sunny Afternoon” as a solo acoustic pieice. But man does it work!
Joni Mitchell’s “Cactus Tree” lets Carl show his stuff, but still captures the essence of Joni’s sound. An amazingly hard thing to do, but he pulls it off. There are other nice covers, too. “God Bless the Child” lets Carl be nice and nasty at the same time. And his version of Jerry Reed’s “Mr. Lucky” is wonderful. Toward the end, there are a few originals that almost act as a suite, allowing him to show his very nice compositional skills and treat us to lessons in fingerstyle picking, and some fine dobro.
This is definitely one of those records guitarists will love. Visit chase music.com.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Feb. ’02 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.