Every now and then I am forced to accept my own limitations as a critic, and even as a musician. (And I do believe that by being the latter, one's insight as the former only grows). I know, personally, that I could not bear to have any of my own music critiqued by one who has never laid hands on a musical instrument, and, likewise, could not bear any criticism of my written work by one who had never tried his hand at writing. Now, that is not to say that one has no merit for opinion if he or she is not a musician. On the contrary, response to an album stems primarily from that which is new and enigmatic to the listener. But, what then do I make of Glenn Jones' purely steel-string guitar album, This Is The Way The Wind Blows It Out, which neither strikes me as new or original yet whose idiosyncrasies are entirely foreign to me?
Esthetics, then, must dictate my whole outlook. And, while I feel that on that basis I am fully qualified, I must take into account that another facet of the album, its technical merits, will be disposed of in this review.
That said, I am still unable to find anything wholly redeemable in the album. Cul de Sac fans will likely not find themselves at home here, as Jones steers in a considerably different direction. Much subtle genre-dipping is done, from blues to gospel, but none of it really sounds authentic. Most tracks have a melancholy undertone to them, yet are unable to convey any real emotion. It just sounds like a very nicely done tribute album, an homage to the music Jones loves. From the title track to "Linden Avenue Stomp" (an awesome name I must admit), everything sounds very banal, as if Jones is merely going through the motions. It's self-indulgent, but not in the normal use of the term. Rather, it's self-indulgent in that Jones merely sticks to what he does best and thinks no further of expanding himself and expending his limits. "Nora's Leather Jacket," for example, is the only track which drew me in, and, not coincidentally, is the most ambitious effort on the album.
If I have not gone into any depth regarding any one track, it is because of my abovementioned sense of limitation. A subtitle on the cover of the album reads, "Solos for 6 & 12 String Guitar." Perhaps, then, this album might be more suited for those with a steadfast affinity for the style or for aficionados of steel-string guitar. I had no such advantages.
1. This Is The Wind That Blows It Out
2. Sphinx Unto Curious Men
3. Friday Nights With
4. Fahey's Car
5. The Doll Hospital
6. Linden Avenue Stomp
7. Nora's Leather Jacket
8. One Jack Rose (That I Mean)