302

Mark Dagley: Mystery of the Guitar

Florence Wetzel By

Sign in to view read count
Mark Dagley: Mystery of the Guitar It's interesting how some CDs fit into daily life better than others. You might not, for example, put on Sun Ra if your mother was coming over for tea, but you might not be inspired by music that seeps harmlessly into the woodwork. Mystery of the Guitar is one of those special CDs that can function as both background and foreground; it possesses the unique virtue of being both soothing and interesting.

Mark Dagley is a genuine Renaissance man. Trained as a classical guitarist in his preteens, he studied the blues with the likes of John Jackson and Elizabeth Cotten, then moved on to seminal punk bands the Girls and the Hi Sheriffs of Blue, meanwhile pursuing an international career as a visual artist that continues to this day. On top of all that, since 1997 he has been co-running Abaton Book Company, home of some of the freshest music around, including jazz singer Devorah Day and the happily impossible to categorize Marianne Nowottny.

Now, Dagley is stepping out with a CD of solo guitar and banjo. The ten songs are an eclectic mix of styles, and the wonder is that the songs flow together so seamlessly. The blues are well represented here, including Big Bill Broonzy's joyful romp, "New Pig Meat Strut (Hey Baby, Hey)" and Dagley's own "When I Lay My Burden Down," which features deep plucking that's downright pretty. On the other end of the spectrum, Dagley covers seventeenth-century composer Gaspar Sanz's "Folia," a Spanish Baroque song brought to life with exquisitely shaped notes. Dagley also includes "Flow My Tears," the classic 1596 lute piece better known as "Lachrimae," revealing a beautiful sense of pacing as he unfolds the elegant melody with utmost gentleness.

The CD also features five other Dagley originals, ranging in mood from the Spanish-infused "Mystery of the Guitar" to the enchanting folk-rock "Pretty Flower of the Valley." The CD's tour de force is the charming "Banjo Blues & Raga," which weaves from blues to raga with the greatest ease, showcasing Dagley's facile finger-work and delightful inventiveness.

The mystery of the guitar is, perhaps, that it can express the continuum of the human heart and evoke strong feelings in both the player and listener. Dagley has tapped into the depth of the instrument, creating music that grows with each listen, while also proving perfectly suitable as the soundtrack to life.

Track Listing: Mystery of the Guitar; Folia; When I Lay My Burden Down; Pretty Flowers of the Valley; I Remember Backwards Sam Firk; Banjo Blues & Raga; Dance of the Broken thumb; By the Bank of the C&O Canal; New Pig Meat Strut (Hey Baby, Hey); Flow My Tears.

Personnel: Mark Dagley: guitar and banjo.

Title: Mystery of the Guitar | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Abaton Book Company


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Ballet: The Music Of Michael Gibbs CD/LP/Track Review Ballet: The Music Of Michael Gibbs
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 23, 2017
Read Float The Edge CD/LP/Track Review Float The Edge
by John Sharpe
Published: July 23, 2017
Read Resonance CD/LP/Track Review Resonance
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 23, 2017
Read Black Focus CD/LP/Track Review Black Focus
by Rokas Kucinskas
Published: July 23, 2017
Read Birdhoused CD/LP/Track Review Birdhoused
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 22, 2017
Read "And to the Republic" CD/LP/Track Review And to the Republic
by Mark F. Turner
Published: October 12, 2016
Read "Beatbox Sax" CD/LP/Track Review Beatbox Sax
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 18, 2016
Read "Live with a Boom" CD/LP/Track Review Live with a Boom
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: March 19, 2017
Read "Christmastime in New Orleans" CD/LP/Track Review Christmastime in New Orleans
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: December 11, 2016
Read "Manovuotometro" CD/LP/Track Review Manovuotometro
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 24, 2016
Read "Ha Noi Duo" CD/LP/Track Review Ha Noi Duo
by Ian Patterson
Published: March 27, 2017

Support All About Jazz: MAKE A PURCHASE  

Support our sponsor

Upgrade Today!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.

Donate!