David Goodrich,
Accidentals of the West
(Thought So, 2002)

If you enjoy instrumental folk tunes that rely heavily on stringed instruments, then I might have the perfect CD to recommend. David Goodrich has released his second solo CD titled Accidentals of the West. As the promotional material puts it, this CD is a "collection of melodic, acoustic compositions capturing the earthy, wide-open beauty of the Mississippi River and the American West in lush, honest tones."

David plays all the instruments on the album. These include steel string, nylon string, high-strung, electric, tenor and bottleneck guitars, mandolin, mandocaster (an electric mandolin), banjo, guitar-banjo and slide! The sound is mostly folk as you would expect from the promo quote above, but there is a hint of jazz and blues every once in a while.

David has been playing music since the age of 2 when he received his first drum set. By junior high, he expanded his musical horizons to include the guitar. Eventually, this Bowie (suburb of Washington, D.C.) native found his way to Boston's Berklee School of Music. Now, not only is David an instrumentalist, but also a composer, accompanist and producer. He has worked with the likes of Avalon Blues, Indigo Girls, Erin McKeown and Chris Smither, to name a few.

Accidentals of the West starts off light with a tune called "Prelude." This piece is one of five guitar improvisations that you will find within the 14 tracks presented here. "Prelude" sounds like a warm-up. This short piece (less than a minute and a half) is very simple, but is a decent lead into "Falling," a track that is much more complex and layered. The sound is very mellow, yet melodic. If there is any falling going on, it is definitely in slow motion.

Things pick up with the title track, "Accidentals of the West." This is one of two favorite selections off the CD. If "Falling" were equated to the easy gate of a wagon train slowly plodding west, then "Accidentals of the West" is more of a steady canter. The blend of instruments makes this a very beautiful piece. The music, in my mind, invokes images of prairie stretching out as far as the eye can see. (There is an mp3 of this song available on David's website if you are interested in checking it out.)

My other favorite track is David's version of "Wichita Lineman." I'm sure most of you would recognize this Jimmy Webb tune if you heard it, and it is a great song in itself. David will remind you just how great with his rendition. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the other cover on this CD: Lou Reed's "Jesus." I just don't find this track very memorable, especially compared with many of the other selections on the CD.

For those of you familiar with David's first solo CD, Failure of the Doping Summit, this new CD is quite a departure from that style. If you happen to like or dislike one CD, there is no guarantee you will feel the same about the other. Personally, I feel that Accidentals of the West is a pretty acoustic CD. It won't be one that I play all the time. But when I am in the right frame of mind, such as a quiet Sunday morning where I might enjoy some light background tunes, I could easily see Accidentals of the West finding its way to the stereo.

- Rambles
written by Wil Owen
published 4 October 2003

[ visit the artist's website ]