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Neil Jacobs - 12-String Guitar

12-String Guitar

Neil Jacobs

Available from CD Baby.

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

From the very beginning, Jacobs' work obtains a very fulsome sound, as would be expected of 12-string solo pieces, but this guy has a swift hand and often sounds like two musicians, playing runs within strums and chord changes, as well falling into contrasting chordal shifts and harmonic developments that expand beyond periphery norms. The guy plays only hand-luthiered axes, and this may account for the augmented chops and purity of pitch and tone throughout the disc…though one certainly cannot underestimate Jacobs' mastery. Catch the whirling rondos and harmonics in Toy Boat, Toy Boat, Toy Boat and you'll see what I mean.

I note a lot of sympathies for the progressions taken by Al Stewart and his coterie (Peter White, Isaac Guillory, etc.) through the years when those estimables stepped out to solo within Stewart's marvelous melodies. On the other hand, there's a dazzling amount of endeavor cleaving closely to the CandyRat school eschewing easy idenitifiability. Don't for a moment think of the New Age tag, though, lest you ponder only that sector of the constituency demonstrating superior intelligence within the form. Jacobs is much more classically oriented than the "new instrumental" crowd. Belfast, for instance, crosses spritely madrigal and folk alongside mutated gigue for an almost surreal effect James Joyce would have approved of.

Expect a wide variety of flavors and modes here, not to mention an armory of playing techniques in an almost hourlong exposition. Naturally, the sophisticated and playful Ghostrider Medley, with it's Grieg and Rossini elements, is going to appeal to everyone, but so will the remainder, roaming from the Byzantine to the abstract. There aren't a whole lot of strictly-12-string releases out there, and this one's a wall-to-wall fingerpicker's fest.

Track List:

  • Song for Huddy
  • Toy Boat, Toy Boat, Toy Boat
  • Amish Autumn
  • Belfast
  • Talijanska (traditional)
  • Monfrina (traditional)
  • Sacred Blue
  • The Llama and the Dragon
  • Peter's Theme (Prokofiev, arr. N. Jacobs)
  • Moscow Calling
  • Mo's Lullaby
  • Dead to Me
  • The Ghostrider Medley (arr. N. Jacobs)
    • In the Hall of the Mountain King (Grieg)
    • Ghostriders in the Sky (Stan Jones)
    • William Tell Overture (Rossini)
  • Refugee Tourist
  • The Magi's Old Calliope
All songs written by Neil Jacobs except as noted.

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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