Luke Brindley,
Invitation to Joy
(independent, 2016)

All of Luke Brindley's previous releases have been singer-songwriter records. This time, evidently sensing a need for a change, he has gathered supporting musicians David Mansfield, a veteran of the bands of Bob Dylan, Bruce Hornsby and Bobby McFerrin, on fiddle and mandolin, Joe Fitzgerald on bass, and Todd Isler on percussion. Brindley himself plays all guitars, including 6- and 12-string acoustics, dobro and electric. Together they have made an all-instrumental album consisting of fingerstyle folk guitar music.

As you listen, you can hear hints of all of the masters -- there's the Leo Kottke influence, the Michael Hedges runs, the Alex Degrassi charm, but mostly you hear Luke Brindley, a man comfortable in his own writing and playing.

His pattern is to state a core idea in the form of a strong riff at the beginning, repeat it until it is familiar to the listener and then begin working changes on it. Brindley's characteristic building blocks are repetition and variation and a running of the scales to get from one riff to the next.

A flat description on paper makes the music sound mechanical but it is anything but. There's a magic here; Brindley and his friends are in a California beach town of the mind one moment, and then you find yourself in a Middle Eastern fantasy that conjures images of flying carpets. Brindley's technique is fine but his inspiration trumps it every time.

Take the trio of songs grouped near the end of the CD: "Magpie Spirit," "El Camino DeLa Muerte" and "Dervish." In this grouping, we travel in the space and time of the imagination from the Appalachians to summer in southern Spain to the Middle East where we peek in on a Sufi ceremony and witness the dancing. It's a beautiful grouping, and since we're dealing with instrumentals, the songs flow into each other, creating a unity and diversity all at once.

Brindley knows his stuff. I'm glad he shared it with me.

music review by
Michael Scott Cain

8 October 2016

Agree? Disagree?
Send us your opinions!

what's new