Stalwart of progressive underground weathers the circumstances to feed those deprived of feeling most melodic meals.
Four decades on since his recording debut, Carl Weingarten must have been used to the changes that happen around him, but those only seem to make the American all the more determined to remain true to his artistic values and brave the elements, as perfectly illustrated by this album’s front cover. Not that the music underneath reflects the trials and tribulations of the pandemic period most of it was recorded in: it’s still the exquisitely picturesque – befitting a photographer the guitarist also is – instrumentals his listeners love to hear. There’s a pinch of pining too, spicing it up to reveal the player’s vulnerability, yet even if the record’s title might also hint at aural fasting, the sweetness of the veteran’s tunes suggests sonic feast instead.
From the acoustic strum of the scintillating opener “Round Robin” on, Carl rolls a slider across a delicate groove and gentle twang to light the route to better tomorrow where the dew-like licks of “Brother Mountain” are so alluring, and the moves of Michael Manring’s fretless bass mean to outline a worry-free landscape. However, once serenity gets enhanced with solemnity for “What The Raindrop Saw” – especially in the piece’s piano-propelled remix, purely displaying Weingarten’s talent as a composer, rather than performer – and Tate Bissinger’s vocalese enters the frame, melodic magnificence will begin to reign in full. So while the shades of country rock play within the titular ballad’s wondrous ripples, the fluid figures of “Geola” feel genuinely fascinating. Although the album is quite elegiac, the cinematic drift of “Blue Spaces” has drama about it – yet why the translucent “A Solitary Interlude” was chosen for a finale? Hopefully, to inform those who are charmed by these tracks that the maestro’s next release has already been prepared.