Guitar Town

Stephen Bennett
Cimirron Rainbird Records

WVA Program ‘94

Guitar Town - Stephen Bennett
Cimirron/Rainbird Record, Inc.,
CD 16 selections

Now Stephen Bennett has four albums. This new one, Guitar Town, clearly exemplifies why this 1987 National Flatpicking Champion is becoming so respected as an instrumentalist. The all-instrumental album lives up to the same critical acclaim of his previous releases.

Bennett performs on a 1909 harp guitar, a 1930’s resonator, and a standard 6-string with such control and melodic variety that all of the selections on this album are superb. His own compositions dominate the list with eleven of the sixteen being his own creation. They are each so listenable and so enjoyable, it is hard to find and fault with the album.

"Sarejevo," one of Bennett’s creations, is introspective and haunting, a deliberated attempt on his part to reflect the horrors of the bloodbath in the former Yugoslavia. His young son, after watching the news reports about Sarejevo, asked Bennett to explain the ethnic cleansing.

Five of the cuts include some recruited help for Bennett. For example Victor Wooten adds a classy bass on "Cowboy Dave," the tune Bennett wrote that was inspired by a photograph of his father on horseback while visiting his uncle in Colorado. An elegant tune Bennett wrote as a tribute for one of his favorite people, "Waltz (For My Mother)," includes his brother Jim on piano and Duane Webster on bass. It should be noted that five of the sixteen selections have been previously released on "Tangier Morning." However, this album is richly blessed with great style.

Two cuts, "Is This Mexico Or What?" and "Greased Pig" are in the flavor of competition fast and fancy picking after the rest of the album is more laid back, easy listening. Nevertheless, this is a fine addition to Stephen Bennett’s recordings. I liked it and think you will, too.

Stephen Bennett, Cimirron/Rainbird Records, Inc., P.O. Box 703, Gloucester Point, VA 23062

Acoustic Guitar, 2/96

Stephen Bennett, Guitar Town. In an hour of mostly solo instru-mentals, Bennett plays a variety of styles and guitars. Two-thirds of the tunes are his own compo- sitions, the best of which are the straight bluegrass "Greased Pig," the bluegrass/flamenco hy-brid "Is This Mexico or What," and the meditative harp guitar piece "Merry Christmas, Mr. Gorbachev." Other cuts include "Amazing Grace" and "Nearer My God to Thee" on a steel gui-tar, "Stardust" on a harp guitar, and a propulsive arrangement of the Kinks' "You Really Got Me" on six-string. (Cimirron/ Rainbird, 607 Piney Point Rd.. Yorktown, VA 23692)

In the Walnut Valley Festival list of artists: