This week we are going to review a new CD by an old friend. Spencer Elliott is holding a CD release party for his solo acoustic guitar debut Saturday night at Bluegrass Kitchen, and I’ve got an advance copy to tell you about.
First of all, it’s disclaimer time: Spencer and I have been friends for twenty-five years. I first met him at The Charleston Playhouse, where I met many of my life-long friends and companions. We’ve known each other a long time. He consoled me when the Radio Free Charleston radio show was cancelled. I loaned him my Les Paul for an extended time. We co-produced demos for Three Bodies. I was there for the birth of Mother Nang, and Spencer, as a member of Whistlepunk, was the first musical guest on the video version of Radio Free Charleston.
So we go back quite a ways. Rather than giving me a bias, I have a unique perspective on Spencer’s solo debut.
I remember back in 2006 when he’d just begun experimenting with fingerstyle guitar. I watched and listened as his playing became more confident. Then I witnessed his growth as a composer/player. It’s been an amazing and rapid evolution. Spencer has grown from a punk electric guitarist who described his sound as “sludge” two years before “grunge” became a term, into a virtuoso with a dynamic style.
The tunes on his debut CD, Some Forgotten Color (named after the band he was in when we met in 1989), are delicate, yet powerful. The songs are intricately constructed, yet flow organically. Spencer manages to wring sounds out of an acoustic guitar that are more powerful than they have any right to be.
Last year I was honored to be asked by Spencer to record a video of him playing “First Flight,” which is the opening tune on this disc. You can see it here…
Five outstanding tunes follow this opener. “Elipsos” is a thoughtful uptempo journey of sound. “Carousel” is a delicate number with understated, yet festive overtones. “Insignificant” is a progressive melody with powerful percussive interludes. The title track, “Some Forgotten Color” begins in a mellow, ponderous fashion, then segues into a throughly pleasant musical trip. The final track, “The Battle of Wonderland,” is a tour-de-force of guitar technique that proves how powerful one acoustic guitar can be at depicting conflict.
To say that Spencer’s music has a cinematic quality would be an understatment. This is wordless music that takes you places. Some Forgotten Color is a stunning collection of compositional might and virtuoso playing.
Like I pointed out, I’ve known Spencer a long time. He is a perfectionist. That can be maddening at times, but with a CD release like this, he’s proven that his perfectionism pays off. This is perfect music.
The CD release party for Spencer Elliott’s Some Forgotten Color will be Saturday night from 7 Pm to 9:30 PM at Bluegrass Kitchen. You will be able to buy a copy of Some Forgotten Color, and you’ll hear Spencer playing live, along with special guests, Sean Richardson, Karen Allen, Sean Sydnor, Devin Elliott and Sullivan Steele.
You can listen to the album in its entirety and purchase a download HERE.
We have a short PopCulteer this week. A special top-secret project is in the works and will be unveiled sometime next week. So you’ll want to check PopCult every day.