160

Ken Hatfield: String Theory

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Ken Hatfield: String Theory Guitarist Ken Hatfield's Appalachian roots grow close to the surface on his sixth CD, String Theory, a spontaneous-sounding blend of of classical and country moods, with various themes drawn from some of the down-home sayings of Hatfield's 85 year-old father, Sam ("The Gospel According to Sam"), the fictions of Jorge Luis Borges ("Borges & I"), and modern physics on the title tune, a three-part suite for classical guitar and mandolin that sounds like a meeting of Chet Atkins and Ricky Skaggs in the University science department, with Hatfield playing both parts.

Ken Hatfield's embrace of his country background—he was raised in Norfolk, Virginia and claims the famous Hatfields of the Hatfields and McCoy saga as his forebearers—has resulted in his finest work to date, one that walks a line between surface simplicity and complex depths. The thirteen-part "Snowhill Variations," a solo guitar suite, was inspired by a story from Thomas Mann; "Borges & I," in seven parts, takes as its inspiration seven different stories from the pen of the Argentine magic realist; and the title tune, in three parts, ruminates on the concept of a the grand unifying theory of physics, via the strings of guitar and mandolin.

A knowledge of the sources of Ken Hatfield's inspirations, though facinating, is unecessary to appreciate this music. The music stands tall on its own, classical guitar with a country twang, mixed in with some mandolin and dobro—a sophisticated yet accessible Americana sound.


Track Listing: The Gospel According to Sam (three parts); Snowhill Variations (twelve parts); String Theory (three parts); Borges & I (seven parts).

Personnel: Ken Hatfield: classical guitar, dobro, mandolin.

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Arthur Circle Music | Style: Beyond Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read The Invariant CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Big Wheel Live" CD/LP/Track Review Big Wheel Live
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 17, 2016
Read "Ensam" CD/LP/Track Review Ensam
by Ian Patterson
Published: August 26, 2016
Read "Very Early" CD/LP/Track Review Very Early
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 23, 2016
Read "The Ray Davies Songbook" CD/LP/Track Review The Ray Davies Songbook
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 2, 2016
Read "Up Go We" CD/LP/Track Review Up Go We
by Budd Kopman
Published: August 4, 2016
Read "Dark Blue" CD/LP/Track Review Dark Blue
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: March 8, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!