BY JONATHAN LEVITT
I’ve been a fan of Roger Kunkel and his previous band, Thin White Rope, for a long time and was excited to hear another side of Roger’s guitar playing on this deeply poignant record. It takes me back to a freer time in my own life, driving on a Sunday through the Stahmann pecan orchards of Southern New Mexico that bordered my hometown of El Paso, Texas. I loved how the warm sun would collide with the coolness of the orchards as I drove towards an unknown destination. This record captures that spirit and enables the listener to mate these beautiful tunes with memories from their own lives.
These ten acoustic numbers offer the perfect antidote to the squally feedback that I love yet sometimes need a break from. Opening tune “Big Fade” is akin to late afternoon sunlight bathing the farm fields in a sea of gold. “History Part 2” evokes Neil Young while calling to mind imagery from a bygone era. It’s too bad Johnny Cash is dead because “Blood Moon” would’ve been a great canvas for his baritone.
Riding on the darker edge of things, Roger is able to capture the narrative of good versus evil with his deft playing. “Minerva’s Daydream” would be my choice to be used in the PBS shows Victory Garden or New Yankee Workshop. I say that with the utmost reverence, because these programs hold a special place in my heart and this expressive yet brief tune managed to conjure that memory for me. ”Shuffle Kerfuffle” has a cool jazzy swagger to it and would not be out of character on, let’s say, a Tuck and Patti record. “Dream a Little Dream” closes the proceedings with a melancholic whimsy that is the perfect signoff for a record that gently coaxes you into its good graces and then softly vanishes into thin air.
DOWNLOAD: “Big Fade” “Old Man Longbeans” “Minerva’s Dream” “Blood Moon” “Dream a Little Dream” “Shuffle Kerfuffle”