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The Sounding Board by R J Lannan
RJ Lannan is the reviewer for The Sounding Board.
Other reviews from The Sounding Board by R J Lannan:
  Mosaic by David Wahler, reviewed by RJ Lannan on 6/20/2018
  Electric Spirit by Eric Tingstad, reviewed by RJ Lannan on 6/15/2018
  Beautiful Song by Anne Trenning and Friends, reviewed by RJ Lannan on 6/7/2018
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Another Sunday Drive
By Damon Buxton
Label: Many Miles Music
Released 8/4/2017
Another Sunday Drive tracks
1. Girl on a Boat
2. Chrysanthemum
3. Wilderspin
4. Another Sunday Drive
5. El Escorial
6. May I Have This Dance?
7. Midwinter Memory
8. Girl on a Boat (Reprise)
9. Positano
10. Little Red Car
11. Moonsong
12. A Song For My Father
13. Reunion
14. Sky River Lullaby
Jump In!
There’s something tricky about the past. Sometimes it can confuse you. And sometimes it can provide memories that significantly enrich your present. The latter is the case of brilliant guitarist Damon Buxton’s latest release 'Another Sunday Drive'. His fourteen tracks of solo guitar are filled with sentiment, both obvious and subliminal. His vibe is anachronistic and typical of contemporary guitar music usually found in the early eighties and beyond by pioneers of the genre. Names like Alex de Grassi, Andrew White, and Will Ackerman come to mind. To me, it is no accident. Damon uses his guitar as a time machine to go back to when he was growing up and his father had this marvelous automobile, a Volkswagen Karmann Ghia. Make no mistake about it, these are all driving songs. The kind where your heart seems to be in constant motion, liking, loving and making memories. Let's go for a spin and listen to Damon's memories.

The first cut, Girl on a Boat and its reprise begins with a rhythmic intro. The piece, whether purposefully or subliminally is broken down into several parts. First, there is the goodbye. The hugs, the tears, the final touch of trembling fingers signals the time is near. Then there is the leaving. Some wave, some don’t, but the departure is still oftentimes painful. Then there is the finality of it all. Damon's tune seems to change timbre to one of dolefulness.

Widerspin has a Hawaiian slack key guitar motif and I liked it for that. The melody has an innate warmth to it. It is a made-up word, but it fires the imagination. Kids on a merry-go-round, the warm wind through the trees that whisper their own subtle song or maybe it's the word you use for someone riding in a car, their hand out the window making those wind waves. You know what I mean.

The title tune, Another Sunday Drive is the nexus of the recording. The bassy tones suggest father speaking to son, the main phrases represent the conjoined past and present. Listening closely we can hear that the ride wasn't always a smooth one, but that memory muscle forgives the bumps along the way. The tune is full of emotion, the homage turning into smiles and happiness at times. "Do you remember when?" seems to crop up repeatedly.

Midwinter Memory is appropriate today as the weather where I live has changed from rainy gray to subdued alabaster. The snow covers everything, blanketing it in a hush of white. The winter in Damon's song is mysterious and secretive, but it hides everything equally. The tune makes you wonder what is beneath. Not all the memories are the here and now, however.

I had to look it up, but I now know that Positano is a seaside village on the west coast of Italy just below Naples. Listening to the song Positano, it wasn’t hard to understand that it was a good place. For Damon as a boy, it must have had bright skies, cerulean seas, and rocky shorelines. He could probably taste the salt in the air and the sun must have warmed his skin. The nuances of childhood happiness are interwoven in the fabric of the song. The texture is soothing, the colors sophisticated.

A Song for My Father had a Michael Hedges harp guitar quality to that I liked very much. This song touched me deeply, for when my father passed I did not say goodbye. As in this song, every thought, every memory is still vivid. Damon's piece is again, a tribute to the man that gave him much, even when he didn't know he needed it. There are slight hesitations in the music as if Buxton is searching for just the right memory. He finds them and converts them to delicate fretwork, intricate and resonant. It was a favorite on the album.

If ever there was a song about life coming full circle, then Reunion seems to be the right choice. The song is about Damon's impressions when he went to play music for his father's funeral and the days after. His mom had already passed and this was, literally their reunion. Damon appropriately introduced the sense of seasons changing, time passing, and the endless pondering of what lies beyond this mortal existence.

Another Sunday Drive is Damon Buxton's eleventh album. I have had the pleasure of hearing most of them. He is a craftsman of the finest kind. Choose any of his recordings and you will be able to put yourself in the musical scenario and it will make you daydream, think, fall in love or just remember. That old car is running like a top, now. And Damon makes frequent use of it. Hold on, the past is just down the road.
Rating: Excellent   Excellent
- reviewed by RJ Lannan on 3/19/2018
 
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