Sunday, January 17, 2016

CD Review – Mind Heart Fingers, by Trevor Gordon Hall

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.

This unusual 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 compositions.

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.

--Raj Manoharan

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