By John La Briola WESTWORD
In the hands of introspective virtuoso Robert Eldridge, a guitar can summon the depths of the ocean, conjure deep-space nebulas or transport listeners to a swampy backwoods juke joint soaked in moonshine. Hailing from Charleston, West Virgina, the lead electric-ax-man for Zeut has spent much of his 25-year career exploring acoustic variations as a solo artist. On his newest self-released disc Eclectic and Mental Guitar Music (recorded live at an Einstein Bros. Bagels outlet last March and produced by Desert Airport's Eric Shiveley), Eldridge trips neurotransmitters with a beguiling and varied range of styles: ragtime, bop, classical, chicken blues, calypso and even something that he's dubbed "schizophrenic flamenco." Recalling Chet Atkins or Leo Kottke one minute, Michael Hedges or Phillip Glass the next, Eldridge offers a tasteful balance between the homegrown and the otherworldly.