Chuck Johnson - Velvet Arc

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Chuck Johnson has cemented his reputation as a master of solo guitar with his critically acclaimed solo albums ‰ÛÏCrows in the Basilica‰۝ (Three Lobed, 2013) and ‰ÛÏBlood Moon Boulder‰۝ (Scissor Tail, 2015) perfecting his modernist style of American fingerpicking over the course of those two albums.

‰ÛÏVelvet Arc‰۝ finds Johnson returning to territory he explored in bands like Idyll Swords and Spatula, utilizing an expanded lineup of like-minded musicians to augment his captivating guitar stylings including drummer Alex Vittum & bassist Ben Bracken on most tracks.

‰ÛÏVelvet Arc‰۝ finds Johnson fading into view with opening track ‰ÛÏAs I Stand Counting‰۝, it‰۪s desert-dusted guitar raga appearing like a mirage as the rhythm section rises in the mix. Similarly, ‰ÛÏEverything at Once‰۝s picks & strums hang in the air buoyed by the steady swells of crashing cymbals & bass. Side A closer ‰ÛÏAnamet‰۝ may sound familar to fans - the tune is a re-working of ‰ÛÏPrivate Violence‰۝ from ‰ÛÏBlood Moon Boulder‰۝, with added cello, a long synth outro, and a more psychedelic mix overall. Johnson‰۪s tenacity & constant evolution as a musician is representative in this track alone; he is an artist constantly in flux, refining & reworking like any good craftsman. Side B features more of Johnson‰۪s lauded fingerpicking style on tracks like ‰ÛÏVelvet Arc‰۝, ‰ÛÏRoadside Auspice‰۝ & ‰ÛÏThe Pace‰۝, while album closer ‰ÛÏMiddle Water‰۝ hums along contentedly with violin by Marielle Jakobsons.

‰ÛÏVelvet Arc‰۝ is an album finding Johnson playing at the top of his game, unafraid to re-evaluate & redefine himself any chance he can get.

RIYL: John Fahey, Solar Motel Band, Steve Gunn, Daniel Bachman, Gun Outfit