The ghost of John Fahey, and the guitarists influenced by Fahey back in the 1960s and '70s, hover as inescapable influences over this compilation of acoustic guitar music. All three of the musicians who contributed three or four pieces each to this disc (Sean Smith
, Adam Snider
, and Matt Baldwin
) are from the San Francisco Bay Area, and all play moody, creative instrumentals with a high standard of virtuosity. Their approaches share so many traits -- taking influences from Americana-folk-ragtime, and blues, just as Fahey, Robbie Basho
, Leo Kottke
, and the like did -- that those without an ear finely attuned to this sort of thing might think the CD's the work of just one guitarist. A trace of British '60s acoustic guitar from the likes of Bert Jansch
and Davy Graham
is heard too, particularly on "Angela," but the flavor is very American for the most part. If there's any criticism to be made of this album, it's that it doesn't so much plow new ground as carry the torch for this kind of style, in a folk preservationist sort of fashion. But if this is the kind of style you go for, it's certainly a satisfying listen, with a level of accomplishment on par with their obvious ancestors.