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FAME Review: Doug Munro - Alone but not Alone, Vol. 1
Doug Munro - Alone but not Alone, Vol. 1

Alone but not Alone, Vol. 1

Doug Munro

Gotmusic GMR-001

Available from CD Baby.

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

This collection of 10 superb solo guitar compositions epigrammatized by Biblical quotes is titled as it is because Doug Munro, though unaccompanied, makes use of the rarely used 'loop station' device, an electronic box allowing guitarists to sample and loop (put into a circular repeating mode) their own lines and then play atop them. I'd seen Neal Morse use one live for his nominally progressive, nominally rock, most definitely Christian set (but upbeat folk when all was said and done) at the first CalProg years ago, and I was duly impressed. Munro has likewise made the eee-leck-tronik thingamajig his backing ensemble and in surprising ways, though he just as gracefully goes completely solo in sections and songs when the mood hits.

The first cut makes brilliant use of body and string percussives to provide a rhythm track, and the third cut, his take on Amazing Grace, employs reversed looping to sound like psychedelic bagpipes. Throughout, however, what's most impressive is the man's picking, use of negative space, and toying with time structures, perhaps best heard in the title cut, where he not only brings in fragmenting stutter steps but also starts shredding (catch Down by the Riverside for a bit more and for very layered loop clustering). Let me relate the fact that though each cut is inspired by citations from Ephesians, Isaiah, and etc., the CD is anything but Sunday-go-to-meetin' music, instead as fulfilling a menu of solo takes as one could hope for from Kelly Philips, a CandyRat release, or some of those great old Guitar Recordings forays entablaturing modern mastery.

This release embraces the sort of acoustic (and, here, mildly electric) work we six-string enthusiasts waited breathlessly for when Larry Coryell, Steve Khan, Philip Catherine, and a clutch of others were ushering out specialized releases in the 70s. One can never get enough of that stuff. Fortunately, the changing times have seen an increase in flow, and Alone but not Alone, Vol. 1 is riding the crest of an adventurous and musically literate wave. Thus, Volume 1's promise of more to come can only be greeted with cheers…and if this is religious music, let me know when the services start. I'll be there.

Track List:

  • Static in the Attic
  • Worship
  • Amazing Grace
  • Alone but not Alone
  • The Journey
  • People Get Ready
  • Joy
  • Glorify
  • Down by the Riverside
  • Prayer
All songs written by Doug Munro except People Get Ready (Curtis Mayfield),
Amazing Grace (traditional), and Down by the Riverside (traditional).

Edited by: David N. Pyles


Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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