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Corey Christiansen: Lone Prairie

C. Michael Bailey By

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Guitarist Corey Christiansen has released two previous recordings on the Origin label in Roll With It (2008) and Outlaw Tractor (2010). Both were well received and featured Christiansen's ethereal playing, characterized by a deep reverb beneath a slightly overdriven tone. These recordings are uniformly fine, but generally lacked a thematic center (not that one was required).

Having said that, Christiansen provides here a disc with a central theme of music of the American West on Lone Prairie—but, if one is expecting "Streets of Laredo" or "Bury Me Not" to feature a border guitar part, think again. Christiansen and his sextet lay a postmodern play over this collection of traditional American western music and compositions inspired by the same. The presence of two keyboardists, Steve Allee and Zach Lapidus, establishes a plushly digital foundation for the ten selections on this recording. Here is a successful musical case that is completely inorganic in the sense that this is music arranged for the postmodern (that word again) soundscape. This is not your father's acoustic jazz.

And Christiansen's cover of "El Paso" is neither Marty Robbins nor the Grateful Dead. It is a fearlessly re-imagined piece with the two keyboards swirling around a muscular and assertive Christiansen while he solos. The song is the Western tone poem that resulted, had Aaron Copland met Robbins for a beer in Austin, then found themselves in Tombstone, AZ. at the O.K. Corral. Likewise is the musical myth created around "Bury Me Not On The Lone Prairie." Opened with a simple bass figure by Jeremy Allen, the song slowly builds and ebbs dramatically. Both pieces brag on Christiansen's arrangement abilities and his pacing control.

Lone Prairie works well within its concept, providing music that could score a 21st Century Spaghetti Western—as evidenced by the presence of Ennio Morricone's "Il Grand Massacro." Christiansen continues to grow both as a guitarist and as a creative force in his West Coast environment.

Track Listing: Dying Californian; Streets Of Laredo; In The Pines; California Widow; Sittin' On Top Of The World; El Paso; Bury Me Not On The Lone Prairie; Chaparral; Il Grande Massacro; Red River Valley / Bootyard.

Personnel: Corey Christiansen: Guitar; Steve Allee: Keyboards, Piano; Zach Lapidus: - Keyboards, Piano, Supercollider; Jeremy Allen: Acoustic And Electric Bass; Matt Jorgensen: Drums; Michael Spiro: Percussion.

Title: Lone Prairie | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Origin Records


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