American Primitive recalls a certain style of guitar playing popularised by the likes of John Fahey and Robbie Basho. Glenn Jones has more than a fleeting knowledge of the two having toured with, and produced live discs for both artists. The Fleeting, Jones’s latest solo disc, reflects aspects of both artists while creating something distinctly different.
Using his own tunings and half capos, Jones creates landscapes both gentle and austere. ‘Flower Turned Inside-Out’ quickly establishes the beauty of the natural world, while the ending slows to a crawl illustrating another floral aspect. Lovingly produced by Laura Baird (whose sister Meg is a member of Espers) and recorded along the banks of Rancocas Creek in Mount Holly, New Jersey – it presents a perfect setting for stringed exploration.
Reflecting a warm spring breeze, ‘Mother’s Day’ is enchanting, occasionally questioning, and a tad loud, but quickly gets back under control like many a mother. The banjo opening ‘Spokane River Falls’ illustrates Jones’s mastery of stringed instruments, projecting water steadily heading down the falls, with actual falls creeping up in the background to conclude the piece.
Serving as a tribute to one of his influences, ‘Portrait of Basho as a Young Dragon’ exposes the influence Robbie Basho had on his guitar playing. ‘Cleo Awake’ is a gorgeous little banjo tune illustrating the innocence of a child put to music, while ‘Cleo Asleep’, a variation on the first piece, also on a banjo now muted so as not to disturb the quiet, reflects the gentle flow of a sleeping child’s breathing.
The mastery of both guitar and banjo that Jones possesses is impossible to ignore. Based on the evidence of this record, while moments may be fleeting, the mastery of Glenn Jones is impossible to ignore. Savour the moments again and again.
Words: Bob Fish