It takes a certain caliber of musician to release a solo acoustic instrumental album with integrity. Too often, musicians who attempt it use studio tricks to fill it out, essentially creating a “backup band” that plays for free and doesn’t need to be fed. This is not the case, however, with the Bitterroot Valley’s Brad Warren, whose About the Journey features only Warren’s fingers and a guitar, all recorded on a single track.
Like virtuoso solo picker Leo Kottke, Warren’s original compositions span a broad spectrum of musical styles; on this debut album, Warren covers everything from Irish jigs to Delta blues. But unlike Kottke’s records, on which the ruthless ingenuity can become tiresome, Warren uses silence as well as sound. The result is the listener’s ear doesn’t feel exhausted, but rejuvenated by the end of one of Warren’s tunes.
His simultaneously serene and whimsical soul is on display on About the Journey, as in the dreary yet optimistic song “The Closet Light.” He writes in the liner notes, “I was feeling kind of bad about the closet light,” and when you give it a listen, you will believe he’s telling the truth. (Caroline Keys)
Brad Warren plays Saturday, April 21, at 7 PM at the Lapwai Lane Shredder’s Club in Darby. $20. Call 349-2943 for directions.