Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Guitars & Other Cathedrals
Genres: Folk, Jazz, New Age, Pop, Rock
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Finally, a guitarist with technique AND compositional skill
Nobody important | 12/01/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In the wake of Leo Kottke, and later, Michael Hedges, the world has seen a deluge of guitarists of incomparable technical skill who inevitably develop a following of rabidly loyal fans for no other reason than that they can play a lot of notes very quickly. Unfortunately, few have any idea how to actually compose an interesting piece of music. In case you can't tell, I am not a fan of the so-called "new age" school of acoustic guitar, and I absolutely despise those who view music as merely an opportunity to show how quick their fingers are rather than to express themselves through composition. John Fahey was not the most technically gifted guitarist around, but when he got everyone started on this solo acoustic guitar stuff, he got people hooked because his COMPOSITIONS were so fascinating. Adrian Legg, however, is not only one of the most technically brilliant guitarists I have EVER heard, he can blend folk, classical, Spanish, English folk, Celtic, jazz, bluegrass, and occasionally a bit of country into a complex, fluid, ever-changing piece that is as emotionally gripping as it is technically perfect. Never before have I heard someone so capable of bringing so many distinct forms together so coherently, and never does Legg display this better than on the title track to this-- his first album. Since then, he has not been quite so impressive. Guitar for Mortals is well worth owning, as is Mrs. Crow's Blue Waltz, although I am not as fond of his other albums. He has a tendancy to get repetitive, and he occasionally goes a bit too far into the realm of country for me. This album, however, is a must-own. As a warning, don't expect the percussive/aggressive style that so many of the guitarists around today display, and don't expect the sedative, I mean, "meditative" sound of the new-agers. This is clearly in the classical and jazz guitar traditions. Imagine Andres Segovia meets Django Reinhardt."
Amazing technique and even better compositions
Mark Magennis | Co. Sligo, Ireland | 02/08/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Adrian Legg is one of those guitarists that other guitarists listen to and think "how does he do that?". If you see him live you will alter the question to "okay so that's how he does it, but how does he make it work so well?". You see, what he does is this. He has built his own guitar with a special tuning mechanism using banjo tuning pegs which he can use to retune any string extremely quickly and with perfect accuracy. So while he is playing, even while he is plucking the strings with his right hand or holding down notes with his left hand, he is constantly tuning this and that string up and down with whatever hand is free, and without any breaks in the rhythm. The result is the kind of fluid up and down bends you would expect from a pedal steel. His accuracy and fluidity in doing this is amazing to hear and even more amazing to watch. In 1999 he was voted "guitarist of the decade" by Guitar Player magazine.Okay, so that's technique, but even great technique does not necessarily produce good music and, as a previous reviewer has rightly pointed out, too much technique for technique's sake often gets in the way of the music. Thankfully Adrian Legg doesn't fall into this trap. At least not on this album anyway. He writes all sorts of styles of music, each in a way that perfectly fits the style, and only uses his strange techniques when it makes the music better. In fact, there are only three or four of the songs on this album where he uses that particular guitar at all. On other tracks he uses various steel strung or nylon strung instruments, but always in a way that fits the music. The greatness of his compositions even outshines the greatness of his technique. The result is a collection of tunes that span a wide range of styles and feelings. There are some really beautiful tunes, one highly complex multi-faceted composition, quite a few dynamic onslaughts and even some touches of comedy. I wouldn't necessarily agree that he plays all styles perfectly though. For example the long title track, which at first seems a bit rambling and directionless but has grown on me to reveal itself as possibly the best song on the album. Despite its wondrousness, I can't help wishing I could hear it played by someone capable of the precise emotional expression of a top Classical guitarist like Julian Bream. It's wonderful in its composition but, despite Adrian Legg's technical brilliance in many areas, not quite perfect in its emotional expression. Having said that, there's no way even Julian Bream could attempt some of the other tunes and neither could he have written them.This is one of my very favourite CDs and better than any other fingerstyle album I have heard."
An Acoustic Guitar Delight
Steve Vrana | Aurora, NE | 01/19/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My short list of guitar heroes over the past two decades has always included Leo Kottke, John Fahey and Michael Hedges and I own all of their albums. While browsing through the reviews at this website I came across the name of Adrian Legg and have now added his name to my list. Guitars and Other Cathedrals is amazing. The experience of hearing this British guitar genius on this album for the first time was like my first hearing Kottke on Six and Twelve String Guitar. The thought keeps going through my head: How can one guitarist coax such sounds out of his guitar?This is not new age noodling for the faint of heart. Legg's music is brilliant, fluid and inspired. From here, check out any of his other releases on Relativity or Red House. (Unfortunately his 80s albums are no longer available.) HIGHLY RECOMMENDED"