Among the current crop of acoustic guitar phenoms, James Blackshaw has always remained one of our favorites. His Important debut O True Believers grabbed the attention of RSTB with a mix of complexity and grace. Following a move to a few other labels including the venerable Tompkins Square and some rather intricate works for Michael Gira's Young God, Blackshaw has returned to his roots at Important. Preceded by a stunning EP, this new album is a hushed and somber piece of work. Love is the Plan, The Plan is Death sees James employing his usual mix of nylon and steel strings and a touch of piano, vibraphone and B3 organ with the voice of Geneviève Beaulieu stealing the show on the centerpiece "And I Have Come Upon This Place by Lost Ways". However, its still the guitars that take the real stunners here, and Blackshaw is as deft as ever. Runs that seem deceptively sweet and melodic are wrought with a stunning virtuosity and craftsman's touch. The album is, if anything, probably one of the most melodic that he's done to date; lilting with a bittersweet note of heartache and an ache that touches despair but never falls prey to it. Important has stunned with a pair of essential string works right out of the gate this year and you'd be remiss not to check them out.
[MP3] James Blackshaw - A Momentary Taste of Being
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