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April 5, 2007

Wooden Spoon – The Folk Blues Guitar of Wooden Spoon

Filed under: Hype,Music — Shiny Beast @ 5:59 pm

[Bo’ Weavil; 2007]

Wooden Spoon is a UK guitarist directly descended from John Fahey and his Takoma brethren; being subtle about this would be missing the point. He operates using the same folk-aesthetics mixed with a considerable understanding of melodic composition. Mimicry is simple for proficient musicians, but Wooden Spoon goes well beyond that, continuing to explore the style by scooping out new flavors from the well sampled basin of delights.

Solo-guitar endeavors such as this need to develop character throughout the album to remain worthwhile. Like Fahey, Robbie Basho and others, Spoon personifies his instrumentals with care, crafting dynamic guitar melodies that convey as much emotion to the willing listener as poignant vocals. Opening track, By the Riverside, starts off innocent and attractive but gradually perks up its sense of adventure and takes off on a journey to wherever your imaginary riverside leads. This sets up the refined conflict that is visible for the remainder of the record: understated, quiet beauty versus a curious yearning for new experiences. Dead Shrimp sounds like a Huck Finn adventure while Cherry Mash could be the music of a midday picnic. To close, In the Dark City is a lingering track that employs ambient loops and string plucks that hint at an ethereal, yet exquisite, visit to this shadowy haunt. Though a slight change from the rest of the album, it serves to remind listeners that this album is a product of the 21st century and that it’s not a bad thing – Spoon isn’t on a mission to produce hopeless nostalgia. He reminds us that somewhere in that big, modern city, there’s 17 minutes and 31 seconds of a hushing journey waiting to be perceived.

Instead of playing an alchemist and trying to mix and match styles to form his own, Wooden Spoon simply takes that which has been most affective to his music career and works with it for his own artistic purposes. While it is not musically innovative, nor does it have a historical context to add mystique to the sound, this album’s charm and character make it a worthy listen for fans of John Fahey’s then-revolutionary guitar.

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