In somewhat of a loosely based connotation, Belgian based guitarist Gilbert Isbin could be the European counterpart to America’s legendary acoustic guitarist John Fahey. Mr. Isbin’s CDs have been reviewed here on All About Jazz in the recent past yet each offering from this master guitarist represents something distinct or thematic. Here, Isbin decides to revive the music of the late and often misunderstood composer/vocalist Nick Drake who died at the tender age of 26 in 1974 from a drug overdose. With less than a handful of records and only 1 interview to his credit, Drake’s brand of rock was distinguished by unusual chord voicings, oddly constructed melodies and dark, humorless themes. Yet it doesn’t take a Nick Drake enthusiast to enjoy this absolutely stunning recording! Throughout, Isbin’s sensitive strumming, diverse attack and poignant lyricism captures the spirit of a tragic figure who wasn’t around long enough to reap the benefits of wide-spread notoriety and fame. Isbin’s meticulous craftsmanship, thoroughly melodic interpretations and radiant technical ingenuity provide the winning formula! In fact, Isbin’s personalized approach, thoughtful execution, overall sentiment and conveyance of the material at hand might allude to a sense of ownership, as if Isbin composed these pieces himself.
Whether you’re familiar with the music of Nick Drake or could care less, don’t deny yourself the opportunity to hear Isbin who is rapidly advancing to new heights with ambitious and fully realized projects such as Plays Nick Drake - “A Tribute to His Music”. Highly recommended .........* * * * 1/2
Solo performances of Nick Drake compositions on acoustic guitar by Gilbert Isbin
Track listing: 1) River Man 2) Horn 3) Free Ride 4) Day is Done 5) Place to Be 6) Parasite 7) Road 8) Three Hours 9) Way to Blue 10) Which Will 11) * Boymanblues (composed by Gilbert Isbin)
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