The latest album from Philadelphia acoustic guitarist Trevor Gordon Hall is marketed as new age, folk, and country, but it is far more than that.
Before we get to the
music, let's get to the man and his craft. Hall is no ordinary
guitarist. He plays a unique, custom-designed instrument called a
kalimbatar, a cross between a guitar and an African finger piano
known as a kalimba, which is affixed to the top of his guitar.
assemblage allows Hall not only to generate acoustic guitar tones,
but bell-like timbres as well, giving off the effect of a duo without
the need for overdubs or two actual musicians.
The kalimbatar is
perfectly suited to new age, folk, and county, but Hall does much
more with the instrument. The technology, as impressive as it is in
itself, never distracts from the striking beauty of Hall's original
And unlike a lot of
new age folk in particular, Hall relies much less on repetitive
patterns and locked rhythms than he does expansive, thoughtful chord
structures and incisive lead phrasing. In fact, many of the tunes
come across delightfully as acoustic jazz.
This is a fine
guitar album worthy of attention.