I doubt Don Ross is able to catch a meal in between studio sessions, so busily doth he sprint from one CD to the next, and that's probably what keeps him on his physical and mental toes in releases like this, his 14th solo effort. The sentiment in Upright & Locked Position, however, is more zeroed in on richer melodics than has previously been the case. Thus the title cut comes across as something of a solid but still quite breezy samba while its follower, Wall of Glass, is something of a Ralph McTell/Bert Jansch composition with verdant woodlands and brisk tempo. A duet with Brooke Miller, instrumentally and vocally (a la-da-da folk scat rather than words), it leads into the much slower Stop Driving, Stop Playing, almost reverential in comparison—damn near blisses ya off to sleep.
Cup of Pop is just what its namesake infers: an effervescent song of ascending chords and lines pinging and coruscating in a heady exposition of just how dexterous Ross really is, one of several cuts where you'd swear three guys are playing. Several old pieces from previous CDs appear but in new recordings showing just how significantly his playing has gained luster…even from what had already been enviable. Unlike last year's Breakfast for Dogs, which carried tracks written by Bruce Cockburn, Mike Mainieri, and others, everything in Upright is solely of Ross' authorship—thus ya understand that the disc's Run, Don't Walk isn't a recitation of the old Ventures gem of the same name reversed but an original subtle homage. The closing track is a cut much in line with the rusticity of the bulk of the axehandlers on the old Windham Hill label but with Ross' own inflections and more upbeat. Interesting, isn't it?, that no matter how often the old standby modes are harkened back to, capable minds and hands always manage to peel away new layers and uplevel 'em simultaneously.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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