I’ve always appreciated a solo guitarist who doesn't need to sing. Artists like William Tyler, Jack Rose and John Fahey have amazed me with how much emotion they can bring to the table with sometimes only a solo guitar. Heaps of Sand is an EP by Kevin Farge that's focused on a single guitar not unlike the aforementioned artists.
The EP fits in the category of a lo-fi demo. You can hear him sniffle but unfortunately couldn't hear much nuance within the guitar. This is a case where I did want the guitar to fill up the frequency spectrum and envelope me.
The guitar work was mixed throughout for me. I can’t say there was much in the technical department that impressed me. However there were moments that I enjoyed for aesthetic reasons. Farge’s best moments by far are the ones where he is fully picking on his guitar with multiple notes going for a John Fahey style. He has less success when he seems to dwell on the meaning, beauty and significance of the resonance of single notes or chords which often sound like your roommate fiddling around with the guitar while you are trying to watch TV.
The opener “Across the Grassland” is example of the latter. It sounds as if he is just messing around on the guitar. Perhaps with some effects like reverb I would have felt more of an emotional connection but I kept waiting for a song to emerge.
That song I was waiting for emerges with “Fireworks” which is a highlight. It’s a basic bluesy picking style but effective and easy to appreciate. He does a nice job of letting the song progress in a natural way by changing tempo and changing it up quite often. Great song! I was excited to hear what was next but got back into navel gazing with “Shimmering Waves” which is more or less one strummed chord for two minutes.
The pace picks up slightly with “Boat on the Sea (Rope and Stars)” and “Surfing the Point.” There is a very similar type of picking style that I heard on “Fireworks.” The other inspired moments come in at “Lovers of Folk Music.”
There isn’t much movement on this album. I felt a contemplative, melancholy throughout that had varying degrees of success.
Farge is a part-time musician that I was impressed by some of what I heard. He definitely has some skill on the guitar and has an ability as a songwriter as he displays on “Fireworks.” I think there are a number of areas he can tweak to get to the next level but this is a solid foundation. I hope he continues to keep at it. Take a listen.
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