Listen up you lovers of finger style steel string guitar! Imagine traveling about Australia visiting 12 favourite luthiers and recording, on guitars they have built, twelve of your original tunes for an album.
The results would be stunning if you could play and write like David Ross Macdonald.
Southern Crossing is an accomplished acoustic album for those who love guitar, and I would imagine for those who build guitars. The pieces are for the most part contemplative, the sort of music guitarists manage late in a successful lone session when they're in a groove and smiling inwardly, broadly.
David Ross Macdonald, who amazingly doubles as The Waif's drummer, demonstrates a light touch and a sure feel for the dynamics of guitar playing. Open tunings on the guitar lend themselves to the types of sweet melodies Macdonald creates and of course he's playing some damn fine guitars.
David Churchill, Rad, Gerard Gilet, Greg Beeton, Tim Wright, Scott Wise, David Worthy, Jack Spira, Dan Dubowski, John McGrath, Bryan DeGruchy, and Jim Redgate are the luthiers celebrated. All of the guitars are wooden bodied steel strings except for Greg Beeton's brass-bodied resonator (which is owned by Jeff Lang).
It's tempting to try to compare the guitars on the album but that would only be possible I suppose if Macdonald played the same tune on each - which would be awfully boring for most listeners, so we'll just have to say that they all sound terrific.
And how things have changed in the recording department. Macdonald carried with him a couple of mikes, a laptop computer and some nifty software. He didn't even have to bring a guitar. (David chooses to use a Churchill guitar, as does Jeff Lang.) He recorded the album in various friendly lounge rooms, kitchens and workshops, often in the presence of the maker of the guitar.
Bliss for everyone.
- Steve Baker
ABC Radio National
Wednesday, 17 December 2003
Country of Origin: Australia
Music Genre: Chamber/Instrumental
We rate it: 4/5 stars