John Renbourn was first hailed as an acoustic guitar hero of "folk baroque" in the 60s, thanks to his solo albums and work with Bert Jansch, as a duo and in the Pentangle. Even then, traditional songs were only part of his repertoire, and they don't feature at all in his first solo studio recording in 13 years. As was his brilliant contemporary, the late Davey Graham, Renbourn is fascinated by a wide range of styles, and this instrumental collection proves his playing and range are as remarkable as ever.
John Renbourn's 2011 album Palermo Snow, his first new studio recording in 13 years, finds the veteran British guitarist turning in a varied set of acoustic guitar instrumentals that go well beyond the simple designation "folk. " Renbourn is joined on some tracks by clarinetist Dick Lee, who first appears several minutes into the seven-minute title tune, a Renbourn original full of textured chording and careful fingerpicking. Lee also adds melodic flavor to such later tracks as the jazzy "Ugly James" and jazz musician Randy Weston's low-key "Little Niles" (which has some of the feel of Charles Mingus' "Goodbye Porkpie Hat").
A first-class new collection from the British folk veteran. Sid Smith 2011 Having inspired and influenced legions of players since he came onto the music scene in the 1960s, John Renbourn’s first studio album since 1998’s Traveller’s Prayer shows he isn’t resting on his laurels. This is a relaxed enough selection from a veteran player who doesn’t need to show off, and he’s happy to share his enthusiasm for a good tune.