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sean smith / adam snider / matt baldwin - Berkeley Guitar
Takoma reverence is rife at the moment, and no label is capitalising on the current trend quite so much as Tompkins Square. For those of us who have something of a love for the Fahey patented brand of guitar playing there has never been a more interesting period, with reissues coming left, right and centre and countless new artists picking up their acoustic guitar and pickin' those strings like there's no tomorrow. Berkeley in California is something of a hallowed ground for the style, seeing as it's where the Takoma label set up its roots, and where Fahey, Basho and Kottke first came to prominence. The extensive liner notes included here detail the beginnings of the label and the following it created, which serves as the perfect introduction to this new generation of guitar pickers, names that will likely be totally new to the rest of the world. Similar to Fahey and Basho, the three guitarists here were not from Berkeley originally, but travelled there for one reason or another and ended up meeting, sharing obviously an interest in guitar music. Even though they recorded these tracks only one year ago, there is a feeling of the past which grounds the music in the tradition from which it was born. The three players clearly know their history inside out, but in amongst the reverence there is occasionally a hint of the unique and small steps edging towards something more than just a show of technical skill. It's a shame the players seem so duty bound to tread ground that has already been covered so extensively, but the evidence on this disc does make me think that the three musicians could easily be capable of something wonderful in the near future. A good listen, and highly recommended for avid Takoma followers.