Recording information: The Shred Shed, Ironto, VA (02/2008-11/2008).
The well-regarded steel-guitarist, banjo player, and experimental Pelt dronist Jack Rose teams up with the alternative string trio the Black Twig Pickers for this self-named 2009 collaboration. This isn't your typical Americana project, however, even as it respects all the eternal verities. The ever-forward spirit of that original folk-alt pioneer John Fahey, a big Rose influence, infuses the proceedings from beginning to end. First there's the overall sound, raw without courting a faux primitivism; the guitarist favors a bracing, hard-edged attack and he brings the more easygoing Pickers along in his wake. And there's the formal structure of the songs themselves (many of which feature the occasional casual vocal from Picker Mike Ganglof). Rose even revisits two instrumental pieces--"Kensington Blues" and "Revolt"--from previous solo albums. For their part, the Black Twigs --Ganglof (vocals, guitar, fiddle), Isak Howell (guitar, harmonica), Nate Bowell (percussion)--provide a reliable, sympathetic foil for Rose's ambitious yet focused wanderings. The result is that JACK ROSE & THE BLACK TWIG PICKERS is a lively, sometimes busy, always swinging lesson in American music counterpoint.