New Orleans Guitar Solos
Out of Time Music
A review written for the Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange
Steve Hancoff rolls through New Orleans Guitar Solos with admirable ease and precision. At times his ballads transport us to a pre-twentieth century riverboat casino, while at other instances he adds fascinating contemporary edges to genial classics. The signature he places upon many of these pieces is a testament to his own disposition, an artist who is truly autobiographical in his work. |
While he is consistently technical in his playing, Hancoff takes on an unpredictable personality throughout. He will be rambling along a dusty Southern highway upon level roads, or fingering his acoustic under a motionless cypress tree, then out will charge an army of rabid coyotes. His playing can lull us to sleep and startle us with a jolt, coax us calmly and twist unexpectedly into an anxious bolt of animation -- a rendition of the Allmans' Les Brers in A Minor sprinkled with angel dust. This subtle unpredictability is simply part of the brilliance.
Hancoff is masterful at "sliding" into the core of his composition; his tempo can be choppy and distorted, but soon enough we realize he is merely baiting us into his cauldron, his epicenter of aesthetic creation. Despite an occasional generic ending and some inconsistent playing volume coating the framework of his songs, once immersed within the eye of the storm, there is no denying his splendor.
The subject of the stories narrated along Hancoff's nostalgic pilgrimage, of course, are contingent upon the listener, but his diversity is clear. There are some obvious non-western influences sowed throughout, at times providing a comparable feel (though not as masterful) to Dylan's Desire. Deep Henderson and Shi Me-Sha Wabble illuminate this highly recommended treasure for only the most cultured of audience.