been an ambitious project.
Bryan Clark, and to
be honest, he’s someone I hadn’t heard of, is a guy who not
so much strums a guitar, but plays it with a crafted style
and an educated class that is impressive, captivating and
It all comes
together, perfectly, in his solo outing the motivated
two-disk set, Gossip, Inspiration and Slander, out
now on Rainfeather Records. The set – an acoustic
nine-track, bluegrass-tinged set, and a twanged and amped 10
tracker – is a joyous intro, for me at least, to this noted
Think tight players,
players like Urban, Paisley, Chet Atkins, or Aussie guitar
hero Tommy Emmanuel and you’re close to appreciating what’s
on offer here. Simply, Clark is gifted. More than that, he’s
a well-credentialed and serious picker, having, along the
journey, secured not only an undergrad degree, a masters,
but also a prestigious doctorate in music. It’s safe to
assume and the proof is positive: he knows his frets,
bridges and chords.
Clark grabbed his
musical weapon of choice early. He was nine when his uncle
handed him a guitar. The good only got better. Clark turned
his fascination with six strings into a passionate affair,
one that would see him develop…and keenly. Inspired by Ricky
Skaggs, Clark spent formative years in bands, playing mainly
bluegrass. Now, with the apprenticeship served, Clark is
forging out and playing music in his way and, importantly,
on his terms.
I mentioned this was
an ambitious venture. It is. Clark not only plays a bulk of
the instrumentation, he has also written a fair swag of the
tunes. Hmmm…did I mention he also serves double duty as
is a fiddle rich piece of plucked and played brilliance. It
serves as the opener to both CDs. On the acoustic offering,
Clark gets some talented mates to balance the output
---Chris Pandolfi (banjo), Casey Dreissen (fiddle), Matt
Flinner (mandolin) and Bryn Bright (stand-up bass). They all
add weight and style to Clark’s clean and clear guitar. To
highlight his versatility, on the electric cut, Clark goes
alone playing all instruments.
The notable cuts on
the acoustic set include the tantalizing “Midnight Kisses”,
the moody “Raven King”, and ‘Kiss The Bride” as it chugs
along with smooth playing on its tale of love and loss. The
electric set is as enjoyable; again, Clark shows his many
abilities, all wrapped in a voice that earns a listen with
its country and Americana leanings. Standouts include the
bluesy “Bumper to Bumper”, the distinct radio possibility
“The Way It Is”, and the sexy and vamped “Don’t Blame Me”.
These albums are
sure to appeal to those who lean on the solid and the
meaningful. The music here is top drawer, the playing
exemplary; and Clark’s songwriting shows wider possibility.
It has been an
ambitious project. But, and there’s good news, the result
proves one thing -- the gossip, slander and inspiration has
been worth it.
Click the pic to order from Amazon.com.