Release Date: Feb 23, 2010
Record label: Thrill Jockey
In the early 2000s, while still a member of avant-drone group Pelt, Jack Rose found himself unemployed. Hunkering down at home with his acoustic guitar, he returned to the country blues he had abandoned years before when a teacher told him it wasn't worth trying if he couldn't sing. Woodshedding diligently, Rose became a masterful finger-style player, adept at bluegrass, ragtime, pre-war folk, Indian ragas, and more-- and started a solo career that would eventually make other employment unnecessary.
In an interview with Pitchfork, Six Organs of Admittance supremo Ben Chasny talks of his love of Jack Rose. Chasny said that Rose “calls out all the acoustic guitar hacks, like myself, and spanks our collective open-tuned ass… but the thing about Jack is that where most guitarists think it's enough to know the Takoma crew, Jack has drowned himself in real country-folk blues music. ” For Chasny, part of Rose’s greatness lay in the virtuoso skill of his playing; whereas many instrumental guitarists choose to play ‘open-tuned’ - their instruments pre-tuned to a chord, making it easier to pick out melodies - Rose instead often let his fingers shape each individual chord and melody, a virtuoso skill.
After attending Jack Rose’s memorial show at Brooklyn’s Issue Project Room, it dawned on me just how widespread his influence was. While many of his peers are evolving the tradition of the Takoma-esque guitar style, Rose was really beginning to spearhead the movement and take it to the next level by incorporating early bluegrass, droning psychedelia, pre-war blues, and virtuosic ragas. His track-record is a rather logical progression from the minimalist droning of Pelt to his intensely complex, fluid finger-picking style of recent years, but the one thing that tied all these threads together was his respect for the wood that lay beneath his arm.
Posthumous offering from Dr Ragtime. Spencer Grady 2010 A dark shadow hangs over Luck in the Valley. The premature death of its author, Jack Rose, from a heart attack at the tender age of 38 could have easily turned its release into a mournful wake. But such is the joie de vivre exhibited here that this album forms a rousing six-string celebration, a tribute to a prodigious and sure to be much-missed talent.
JOANNA NEWSOM“Have One on Me”(Drag City) Maybe it’s preposterous to suggest that Joanna Newsom’s three-CD, two-hour album, “Have One on Me,” is in any way stripped down. Along the way its songs deploy horns and strings, electric guitar and African and Balkan instruments alongside Ms. Newsom’s own harp and piano. The title song, which muses on the international intrigues and inner desires of the 19th-century courtesan Lola Montez, runs 11 minutes.