Western Passage

Joel Mabus

Fossil 996 CD

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Jim Zimmerschied

This album is a suite for solo guitar by Joel Mabus. From the title you might think that it could be cowboy music or maybe country/western. From Mabus's previous albums, you might expect it to be hot flat picking guitar. It's not. Mabus plays the 12 cuts on a Ramirez classical guitar in a nearly classical style. This album is easy listening but grows on you after a few listenings.

There are three original songs and the remaining nine are traditional pieces although some are not well known (at least to this reviewer). Some of them are fiddle tunes which, when played on the classical guitar, take on a different character and do not have the drive you'd expect of a fiddle tune. After adjusting for preconceptions, just sit back and listen to the melodies and intricate phrasings and soon the tunes are repeating themselves in your head long after you have turned off the CD player.

There are twelve cuts on the album. My favorite is a traditional hymn: "Come Thy Fount of Every Blessing". The other traditional pieces are: Big Scioty, Amazing Grace, The Cowboy's Dream, Days of '49, Flat River Girls, Wayfaring Stranger, and To Anacreon In Heaven. The original pieces are: Waltz of the Lonely Sheperd, Memories of Eldorado played with Spanish flair, and The Healing River.

This is an enjoyable album which will call you back to listen again and again. The CD sound quality is very good . Produced by Fossil Records.

Edited by Kerry Dexter

Copyright 1997, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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