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Mark Vickness: Places

Andrew J. Sammut By

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Track review of "Prince William Sound"

Inspired by rock gods such as Jimi Hendrix and studying with the likes of Mel Powell, guitarist/composer Mark Vickness uses powerful technique and sophisticated harmony to explore texture and mood on "Prince William Sound." Comparisons with a body of water aren't cliche: a pensive six-note motif flows in gradually, surfaces over a subtle ground pulse, then ripples and surges into cool harmonics, country twangs, fat single-note phrases, thick orchestral chords, and even a miniature "bass" solo, before fading away into brief distortion. Vickness plays on a rich and resonant baritone guitar well-suited to his sweeping phrases.

Vickness's work is primarily associated with modern fingerstyle guitar, which involves playing the instrument without a pick and opens up various musical effects (as well as technical challenges). Yet in the liner notes for this track's album Places (Self Produced, 2017), Vickness explains that his own focus ..."was on the compositions themselves rather than on any particular fingerstyle technique." Those priorities are clear on "Prince William Sound." As a soloist on his own material, Vickness approaches his work with curiosity and control; there are no ranging tempos or self-indulgent lingerings, just a confident musician curious about the possibilities of his tune and his instrument.

Track Listing: A Thousand Islands; Wind River; Prince William Sound; New York City; Flight of the Rays; Bishop Pass; NYC 2.0; Wonder Lake Suite; I Must Tell Jesus.

Personnel: Mark Vickness: guitar.

Title: Places | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Self Produced

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