Review Summary: Bringing new life to a road less traveled......
In this day and age people require instant gratification in all facets of life, and music is no exception to the rule. I had shown ‘Still Strings’ to a friend of mine and the first thing that he said in reply was “Where the hell is the singing?” Perhaps it’s the mainstream/radio friendly society we live in but most have a difficult time identifying with stellar songwriting if it’s not amped and injected with computerized beats and over producing vocal arrangements. I have always found it much more gratifying to see someone have ample ability to fire out precise guitar or instrumental arrangements than the latter. With violinist Tommy Gauthier also at the helm, Antoine Dufour
’s freestyle guitar play on ‘Still Strings’ provides a refreshing and powerful, progressive folk engagement.
The musical intonation and note accuracy on this release is utterly flawless in its own regard. The accompaniment of Gauthier’s violin provides an added layer of sound and breathes new life into the intricate guitar arrangements. The accessory of the mandolin also provides notable depth to the compositions.
While album opener ‘Swing In A Round’ provides a brief introduction to Gauthier’s and Dufour’s musical prowess, its ‘Tango Agricole’ which is truly the first memorable piece presented. The violin is what holds the most precedence in this number and exhibits Tommy Gauthier’s true control of his craft.
‘Apres Le Beau Temps… La Pluie’ is the first track that provides an added focus on the mandolin. The progressive crescendo in this track is what makes it musically effective whereas the piece starts at a soft gradually pace only to quicken with mesmerizing chord play around the mid marker. ‘6/8 d’la belle’ is another powerful, mandolin-driven piece in the same effort as its predecessor, providing another tightly knit package with the accompaniment of the guitar tones.
While there is no real weak track on this album, the listener will have a tendency to find more replay value with the aforementioned tracks as well as Mellow Deep Art(another piece exhibiting a beautiful dual guitar/violin performance) and album closer ‘Intenso,’ with its Spanish flamingo qualities bringing new life to a road less traveled. Ultimately, it’s the perfect way to conclude.
Yes, ‘Still Strings’ greatest strengths can also be deemed as its own hindrance whereas the absence of vocal accompaniment will tire a large number of listeners; minus the brief scatting from both musicians strewn about. Still, this is by no means a reason to avoid this release. In all of its musical aptitude, this type of melodic proficiency is greatly lacking in today’s music industry. Chalk one up for the dark horses.