Tunes from the Blue Fish II is a companion release to Night Sky (reviewed here), both published this year and showcasing differing sides of guitarist-composer-singer Raymond Gonzalez. Where Night is a "noir" compendium of vocal tracks, Tunes is much more vivacious, completely instrumental, and a demonstration of why luminaries have chosen the man to perform with them, John Renbourn being one and quite evidently an influence on Gonzalez.
Fingerstyle is the chosen medium, performed on acoustic axes, and ranging over a number of tempos and degrees of complexity but always ravishingly executed. The CD is a good deal less dark than its companion, with Ed's Guitar and The Burning of the Piper's Hut being the most lamentively evocative. On the other hand, The Nervous Breakdown and Got A Minute? are lively, intricate, and humorously titled: the former indeed in the breakdown tempo cited and the latter actually 1:25. Expect a kitbag of techniques from harmonics to ornamental legato to runs within runs and whatever spices and sparkles. When listening to Night, I was quite sure Gonzalez was playing in open and alternate tunings, and Tunes proves it. Like David Wilcox, he switches up between any number of them, and while the CD is scant, just under 30 minutes, the level is of a caliber one would expect to hear at McCabe's and the better venues across America.
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