Dan Lambert,
(Coordinate Records, 1998)

Plaids is another great CD of guitar music by Dan Lambert. The music continues to enthrall and enchant, pulling you in with the first note and not letting you go until the last note has faded away.

Dan Lambert's style of play remains hard to define. There is a poetry to the structure of the songs which reminds me of classical music. Yet at the same time, there is no strong sense that the songs are classical music. And while you could say the music is jazz or folk, to my mind both of those categories have as strong a claim as classical music does. The elements are there, but in the end the best description still is guitar music that comes from the heart.

The CD starts off travelling across the plains, the vastness of oceans and land in "Road to America." At times one can almost see the fields stretching out for miles around you. This is then followed by the mellow, peaceful "60s Love Theme," a rose-coloured memory of the good times in the '60s.

"Spruced Up (Old Wood)" is an up-tempo song, a dance really where the notes capture the steps and motions of a pair of elegant dancers. The mood changes with the first wistful notes of "I Wish I Was," where one can hear the desire to be different.

"Purple on Green" might not have the same depth of poetry that some of the other songs do, but it is still a beautiful song, and in places the guitar sings. It is a simple happy folk song, and sometimes those are the best songs.

Then there are the "evening" songs. The first is "Shepherd's Request," which paints a picture of the hills and the sheep the shepherd is watching. Next is "In the Evening," and it feels like it is being played then, even as it describes the sunset and the people going by. "Cymru" manages to evoke the romantic feel of a candlelight dinner for two on a starry night, followed up by a nice stroll along a riverside path. The last of the evening songs is "An Alpine Meadow," a description of the place in springtime.

"Blacha-Palanka" is a graceful group circle dance. "Sandstorm" picks up the tempo and the strength of the hot, dry winds and the sense of watching a sandstorm from a distance as it goes on its way.

"Simple Tastes" is a sparse-sounding song, simple in its melody while reminding us of the simple things of life, and why we like them so much.

Then there are three songs describing the mountains. The first in the "Franklin Mountain Trilogy" is "Smuggler's Pass" and it describes going through the pass, the trip and what one sees along the way. The second part is "North Ridge," which carries one up to the ridge and the thrill of being on top of a mountain. The closing part of the trilogy is "The Elephant and the Needle," a quirky piece about a rather strange occurrence.

The CD ends off with "I Don't Want to Leave (Forever, This Time)," a farewell song tinged with the desire to stay.

Once again, Dan Lambert has created a CD that is well worth hearing. Take the time to listen to his poems and songs, created from guitar music.

[ by Paul de Bruijn ]

Buy Plaids from Amazon.com.