Sep
03

Jim Soloway: Bare Handed

By

By Brian Scherzer

This is easily the most unusual CD I have reviewed to date. It's not rock, blues, grunge or the typical music genres that readers might expect on TGP. Rather, it is Jim.....period. The title of the CD accurately depicts what you are going to hear; one guitar player playing guitars without backup and without anything but his fingers. WHAT??!!!

I had no idea what I was about to listen to when I put this CD in the player to prepare for this review. I have to say that, after the initial surprise of realizing that it was solo guitar, and realizing that it was in the light jazz genre, I delayed listening until nightfall. This CD is not going to be your average party music. It is meant for serious listening and you can bet that any stress you might have felt before loading the CD in your player will be gone by the time the last songs fades away!

Let me start the review by saying that in my audio system, this CD made it sound like Jim and his various guitars were in the room with me. The music was as holistically 3D as I have ever heard. Considering that it was recorded at home through a Line 6 Pod HD into a MacBook Pro using GarageBand, shame on all of the folks who don't utilize such simple techniques! The sound is very "there" and you will hear every nuance of each guitar used and the fingerstyle used to bring the emotion into the music.

Jim plays mostly standards, but puts his own sense of pace and interpretation into each tune. The sound of his playing is truly breath-taking. There is nothing in front of the listener other than the beautiful sound of a guitar being played with passionate skill. The qualities of each guitar are right there.....no production tricks or effects to take away from the innate tone that makes each instrument unique.

After the last song finished, I was more relaxed than I remember being for quite some time. I was also more determined after multiple listenings to improve my own chops. Each note rings out with clarity, underlying the skills of the artist and the complexity of the instruments used. If you want to know what guitars can sound like without diming the volume on an amp or using pedals, this is a CD to listen to. It is truly a soft jazz feel that brings out the very best of what classical and jazz guitar sound like. The relaxation is an extra bonus and the CD has become a favorite on those evenings where life feels overwhelming. Relax and enjoy an incredible listening experience, courtesy of Jim Soloway!

GUITARS:

All of the Soloway guitars have the original, smaller double cut body shape.

Soloway Swan C001 -
SONGS: Here’s That Rainy Day; Blue In Green; Echos in An Empty Hall; When Sunny Gets Blue
TUNED down one full tone to D,G,C,F,A,D

Soloway Gosling C002
SONGS: Little Girl Blue
TUNED down a semi-tone to Eb,Ab,Db,Gb,Bb,Eb

Soloway Gosling C003
SONGS: Bear Handed; Polka Dots And Moonbeams; A Nightingale Sang in Berkley Square; Memories Of A Friend No Longer With Us
TUNED down a semi-tone to Eb,Ab,Db,Gb,Bb,Eb

Ken Parker Archtop Brownie
SONGS: Wave; Lets Face The Music and Dance; Thats All; Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime
TUNED down a semi-tone to Eb,Ab,Db,Gb,Bb,Eb

AMPLIFIERS

All songs were recorded direct from a Line 6 Pod HD running the following models:

Black Face Deluxe with Spring Reverb and Bias Trem
SONGS: Here’s That Rainy Day; Blue In Green; Echos in An Empty Hall; When Sunny Gets Blue; Little Girl Blue; Polka Dots And Moonbeams

Black Face Deluxe with Spring Reverb
SONGS: Wave; Let’s Face The Music and Dance; That’s All; Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime (i.e. all the songs recorded with the Parker Archtop)

Ampeg Flip Top in Deluxe 1x12 with Spring Reverb and Bias Trem
SONGS: Bear Handed; A Nightingale Sang in Berkley Square; Memories Of A Friend No Longer With Us

Categories : TGP CD Reviews