What’s new: Glenn Jones, “The Giant Who Ate Himself and Other New Works for 6 & 12 String Guitar”

by Jon E. Lynch

While some of you may be lamenting the summer coming to a close, music fans can take solace in the current ramp-up of new releases in advance of the fall tour season. This coming Friday is no exception, with a handful of anticipated releases across a smattering of genres dropping just in time for the weekend. Fans of guitar-driven indie-related music will finally get to hear the latest long player from Interpol, as well as full-lengths from Nothing and White Denim. Rumor has it soulful politico crooner Dev Hynes, aka Blood Orange, has released his greatest work to date with this week’s “Negro Swan.” Mark Lanegan & Duke Garwood, Murder by Death, Devotchka, and Devil Makes Three all have Americana-tinged albums out, though none of these albums were what I found myself returning to over and over again in the last couple of weeks.

That distinction goes to former Cul de Sac frontman and American primitive guitarist Glenn Jones. For the uninitiated, American primitive guitar is a style of intricate finger-picking invented in the late 1950s by John Fahey. Jones distinguishes himself in modern circles by the use of his “own made-up tunings, the use of custom-crafted partial capos, and a highly skilled picking style on both banjo and guitar.” This latest record makes me wish I understood the guitar, and how to play it, so that I could accurately and adequately convey to you the deliberate plucks and brush sweeps across it as Jones so deftly does. The skilled nuance, intricacies, and tones are astonishing, and at times mesmerizing, with a rural folk beauty that is simultaneously delicate and dense. Few outside of Fahey have put such aural craftsmanship to recording.

“The Giant Who Ate Himself and Other New Works for 6 & 12 String Guitar” is available Friday, August 24, via Thrill Jockey. Physical versions are available on compact disc and vinyl. Limited quantities of vinyl pressed on “Toad Green” color vinyl are available, as are CD versions in a 4 panel mini-LP style gatefold package. Vinyl versions come with the requisite digital download on your choice of various high quality formats.

Recommended for fans of John Fahey, Sandy Bull, Robbie Basho, and artists of the past decade along the lines of Daniel Bachman, William Tyler, Steve Gunn, and labelmate Marisa Anderson.

Jon E. Lynch[email protected]


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