Vintage Guitar - January 2018 - open - 110

HIT LIST REVIEWS
David Rawlings

Poor David's
Almanack

Beginning with
the 1996 debut of
his musical partner Gillian Welch,
David Rawlings has quietly become an
Americana guitar hero, flatpicking his
'35 Epiphone Olympic across Welch's five
critically acclaimed albums and his own
solo records. The latest of these, and his
third solo outing, finds Rawlings revisiting
the neo-traditionalist roots that first won
the duo attention.
Which is not to say this album is bereft
of post-war modernity. "Cumberland
Gap" (ironically, a Lomax-collected Civil
War tune) sits comfortably at Uncle Neil's
knee, with its minor-key "Ohio" riff and
big-barn solo, while the sleepy fade-in and
beautiful bed of keys on "Guitar Man"
evoke The Band.
But it's the old-timey stuff where Rawlings and company, including Welch and
fiddler Brittany Haas, really wow. The wry
humor of "Yup" just might remind one
of the first time they heard Doc Watson's
rendition of "Tennessee Stud." And like
other tradition-leaning tracks on the
record, "Money Is The Meat In The Coconut" mines the child-like innocence of
folkways in a guileless fashion that avoids
academic condescension, paying homage
while reminding us of the joys to be found
in the music that inspired A.P. Carter to
walk untold miles. - Dennis Pernu

Doyle Lawson
and Quicksilver
Life Is A Story

Bluegrass today
follows countless
musical variations,
but through nearly
40 years, Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver
have remained true to the classic sound.
Lawson, a veteran Jimmy Martin and J.D.
Crowe sideman, launched Quicksilver in
the late '70s. He fronted the ensemble on
vocals and mandolin, the band reflecting
an impeccable blend of tight performance,
quality material and instrumental fire.
This latest tells simple tales of life, but
with a few surprises like re-imagining
Chuck Willis' R&B standard "What Am
I Living For" as a waltz. They revive two
obscurities - the O'Kanes' 1986 "Bluegrass

Steve Howe

A VIRTUOSO CAREER

A

few years back,
Steve Howe
released the highly
recommended Anthology,
covering much of his
solo career. This second
anthology is a sprawling,
three-CD set that aims to
fill in the gaps, covering
nearly four decades of
ensemble work via 56
tracks.
The box opens with
mid-'60s pop, revealing a
teenaged Howe in bands
like the Syndicats, In
Crowd, and Tomorrow.
The first two are squarely
in the Beat school with
Chuck Berry licks ladled
in - check out "Maybellene" from 1964, where
a 16-year-old Steve
solos with heavy echo.
"Finger Poppin'" speaks
to the raw British R&B
of the Animals, Stones,
and Kinks, and sports
another fleet-fingered
break. In contrast,
Tomorrow's "My White
Bicycle" of 1967 is terrific Brit-psych, with his

VINTAGE GUITAR

110

backwards-guitar effects
and thematic octaves.
In pre-Yes groups like
Canto and Bodast, Steve
Howe's patented staccato
style began to emerge,
fusing sharp modal licks
of jazz and flamenco with
country and rockabilly
twang. The mix of electric, acoustic, and clas-

Steve Howe

Anthology 2: Groups &
Collaborations
sical guitars on "Beyond
Tomorrow" is already
prophesying his complex
work to come. Moving
into the Yes epoch, we
hear their breakthrough
single "Roundabout," but
perhaps more interesting

January 2018

is "Montreux's Theme"
from 1977, an unreleased
instrumental from the Going for the One sessions.
Next are pop-prog Asia
hits like "Heat Of The Moment" and "One Step Closer," as well as songs from
the bland GTR album with
Steve Hackett in 1987.
Disc 2 covers Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman
& Howe and the various
re-formed Yes and Asia
projects. This material is a
mix of prog and radiofriendly pop, a far cry from
the epic progressive-rock
of Close to the Edge, but
still yielding plenty of
Steve's ace guitarmanship. "Dangerous" and
"Without Hope" are
unreleased - and very
good - backing tracks
from the dismal Union
record of 1991. As these
cool tracks suggest, a
decent Yes album may
have lurked within that
legendary trainwreck.
By 1997, Yes finally
got their act together and
started making serious
new rock. "Bring Me To
The Power" was prime
prog, the band reenergized
with Howe's indefatigable
guitar leading the charge.
Check out "Sweet Thunder" from the Steve Howe
Trio, his swingin' outfit
that paid homage to the
jazzbox tones of Tal Farlow
and Wes Montgomery.
The third disc here
covers mostly '80s and
'90s collaborations, some
sounding dated with synth
sequencers and electronic
drums. Listen instead
to Steve's fun covers of
"Time And A Word" (with
Marillion frontman Fish),
and a beautiful "Turn
Of The Century" with
Annie Haslam of Renaissance. - Pete Prown


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vintage Guitar - January 2018 - open

Contents
Vintage Guitar - January 2018 - open - Cover
Vintage Guitar - January 2018 - open - IFC
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