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.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
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