Review Summary: An excellent acoustic guitar album that doesn't solely rely on the playing technique.
Unless you are an incarnation of late John Fahey, Jack Rose or Robbie Basho, quite a few of the albums by acoustic guitarists can often sound same-ish and repetitive, even if the players possess an incredible technique. The problem usually lies in the fact that they try a bit too hard to showcase how good they play, leaving the melody, song structure and inevitably, listener’s enjoyment on the back seat in their guitar case.
Luckily, guitarist Ryan Dugré who among other plays with Eleanor Friedberger, decided to take all those elements in consideration for “The Humors”, his second solo album.
Not for a moment losing out of sight that the guitar-playing is the key ingredient here, he also exhibits great melody structure and embellishes guitar playing, like the piano accompaniment on “Mate Alone” or excellent string backing on “Bali”. This approach actually puts his playing technique more to the forefront without forsaking a musical plot that a listener could actually follow.
What we get is a set of really good and often excellent mood pieces that at the same time never turn into a bland musical wallpaper. This has definitely most to do with Dugré ’s concept and approach, as much as his excellent guitar playing that is underlined by restraint as a method of showing your best.
The support is given to Dugré throughout, by a diverse set of musicians who have played for the likes of Son Lux and Joan As Police Woman is stellar itself and just further adds to the enjoyment.
Another lesson that Dugré has obviously learned is not to overstay your welcome, letting the album clock at for these times relatively brief 35 minutes or so, making the listener go back to intricate pieces like “Wild Common” for at least one more spin. Mood music indeed.