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Danny Paul Grody - Between Two Worlds

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Artist: Danny Paul Grody

Album: Between Two Worlds

Label: Three Lobed

Review date: Aug. 15, 2013

Maybe I’m making too much of geography, but I don’t think this record could have been made anywhere east of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The serenity it expresses, the sense that things have passed and that’s OK, goes together with snowcapped peaks or ocean sunsets. Given that it was realized by one man playing a guitar, and that you can hear a bit of Robbie Basho in his playing, it raises the question: Is this the return of the New Age that John Fahey did his best to disembowel on City Of Refuge? It certainly evokes a sense of calm that is miles from Fahey’s emotional turmoil, executed with unhurried clarity.

But speaking metaphorically rather than literally, the best post-millennial solo guitar music has never been one-note stuff. It balances darkness with light, dissonance with bold melody, despair with jubilance. Grody evokes complexity; he just does it with a gentle touch. Take “Lonesome George,” the opening track on Between Two Worlds. Presumably a portrait of the last Pinta Island tortoise, it permits melancholy to coexist with quietude. Even the tragedy of extinction is not absolute, particularly from George’s point of view; people might have called him lonesome, but they also did their best to set him up with booty calls right to the end of his life. The following tune “Time Spirals” shimmers, but not too bright; this music doesn’t badger you with blow-dried perfection.

Grody also switches things up by adding extra instruments. His voice undulates like 10 CC summing up a sunset on “Zephyr,” electronics and piano plump up the thatch on “Grass Nap,” and the skirling electric guitar on closer “Ojito (At Sunset)” had me thinking of what Roy Montgomery might sound like if he had admitted an ounce of Celtic soul into his antipodean heart. Each track expresses beautify unambivalently, but without pushiness.

By Bill Meyer

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