Owl Mountain Music 2019
Californian folkgrass aficionado forms perfect fingerstyle figures on fretboard that may lead to paradise.
There are many strings to Steve Eulberg’s creativity, what with the acclaimed artist being well-versed in history, teaching and a bit of preaching, yet his albums tend to follow instrumental path, and while the veteran’s usual melodic weapon is dulcimer, it’s guitar that’s the focus of this record. Even though the American’s ninth full-length offering seems to careen towards elegiac side of things, “Between The Tracks” has variety of moods and styles to run through in a very subtle way. The pieces’ unhurried flow feels truly uplifting from the silky Latin strokes of “Habits” to the reflexive finale of “Walking Down The Trail” where enchanting top lines weave their presence into a rather relaxed strum, only to let cuts like “Morning Pages” or “For Emily” release muscular tension in the form of a finely textured undercurrent whose multiple details will be revealed in full after repeated listenings.
Eulberg’s drift can be transparent, as in “Planxton’s Farewell” whose sparseness is mesmeric, or graciously playful as in “Traded My Thyroid In” and the titular number but, for all its vaudevillian front, “Theatricum Bontanicum” is the most touching song here – a wordless song, of course. Not for nothing Steve chose to cover “Guitar Etude No. 3” by Dan Fogelberg, a singer: taking it from light jazz to more nocturnal waters serves the classic well and makes it genuinely profound. With Django-esque curlicues applied to the “Godspeed” that’s full of nomadic romanticism, and the blues smeared all over “Walking Down The Trail” that’s oozing optimism in oodles, there’s a lot of layers to aurally marvel at – just dig beneath the surface and see between the tracks.