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John Bellar & Ron Neilson - Two Guitars, One Heart

Two Guitars, One Heart

John Bellar & Ron Neilson

New Harmony Records - NHR07059

Available from CD Baby.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

At first, this momentarily appears to be New Age, and the cover helps that problem not a whit, but the touchstone is Hawaiian music, a whole 'nother breed. Two Guitars, One Heart is not, however, Hawaiian music but rather a sort of cross between that and wheatbelt Americana, two modes blissfully meant for each other. Ron Neilson plays a Weissenborn-style Hawaiian quitar while John Bellar plies a resonator guitar, both favoring the lap style normal to the instruments. Slowly and thoughtfully, strong flavors of Fahey, Kottke, and laidback Cooder flow airily in the all-instrumental 15-cut CD. Don't expect bluegrass, as there's no need for speed, and Nightnoise amply illustrates why, a song of delicately rising lead lines bedded in soft chords, harmonics seguing the short repeating movements in open tunings. Only Love Remains then features Carnatic-ish slurs, cowpoke lament, and hummingbird chords amid vaulting melody progressions. For just two players with only an acoustic bass beneath, Two Guitars is unaccountably expansive, almost mini-symphonic while open and spacious. No wide range of dynamics, little deviation from format, but plenty of lazily beautiful work.

Track List:

  • Stream of Memories
  • Once & Forevermore
  • Never Let Go
  • Nightbreeze
  • Only Love Remains
  • Rain Chime
  • Resonata
  • Sutherland Avenue
  • It's the Way
  • Seven Angels
  • Message from the Stars
  • You Belong to Me
  • Brief Encounter
  • Upbringing
  • Ka'anapali Waltz

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2008, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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