Tasmania Live is an immersion into the experience of the legendary guitarist, John Fahey, who was welcomed to this "Further Down Under" country over 30 years ago. Following in the footsteps of this pioneer of acoustic steel string guitar, Richard Gilewitz traveled to Tasmania in July 2011 to perform and record his favorite tunes of this genre.
Compiled from two concert appearances at Brookfield Margate and the Palais Theatre, this 68- minute, 22-track CD includes selections from each performance. Richard spins a few yarns on separate tracks that are interspersed among his signature 6 and 12-string instrumental guitar tunes. Recorded in Margate and Franklin, Tasmania, the CD was engineered in Nashville, Tennessee, with Grammy award winning sound engineer Tim Roberts, mastered by Grammy award winning mastering engineer Mike Fuller of FullerSound in Miami, Florida, and co-produced with Grammy nominated artist, Tim May.
Tasmania Live starts with an original tune, "Wazamataz" and rolls right into a mixture of blues, folk, ragtime, and selections that fit precisely into the niche category of steel string acoustic. The arrangements of David Walbert are evident in the Joni Mitchell song, "Both Sides Now", the classic "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and in "When I'm Sixty-Four", while Richard's renditions of Fahey's "Sunflower River Blues", "Spanish Two Step", and "Take a Look at that Baby" pay homage to this celebrated musician who was instrumental in the careers of Leo Kottke and Peter Lang. Although "Orange Room" and "Jack Fig" by Kottke have been two of Richard's favorite live performance tunes, this is the first time he has recorded them, along with the slide guitar pieces "The Train and the Gate" and the resurrected "The Tennessee Toad" from Kottke's iconic 6 & 12 String Guitar Takoma release, his first recording for John Fahey's label.
Despite the cold and wind of Tasmania’s maritime winter, the large enthusiastic crowds at the concerts verify that the music of John Fahey and the acoustic steel string guitar is truly timeless.
"The finest live recording I've heard in 30 years" - Gove Scrivenor
" A must have for lovers of acoustic guitar!" November 15, 2011
By Mark Bradford (Mundelein, Il)
This review is from: Tasmania Live (MP3 Download)
"Live recordings can be a mixed bag. The choice of venue, recording techniques, and whether the artist is "on" can make or break a live recording. That's why I'm so pleasantly surprised to find all these things working together as well as they do on "Tasmania Live." I must say, listening to this album of Richards immediately brought me back to my first listen of another guitarist's album of 6 and 12 string guitars.
Richard is definitely "on" and for anyone who's heard him play live while he's "on" knows you're in for a treat and a hell of a ride. This album to me really showcases Richard and all his strengths and diversity as a player. From the sweet stylings of his own compositions to the Fahey and Kottke covers, and even the Beatles arrangements by David Walbert, this album is true Richard Gilewitz. His technique may draw you in but his emotive and passionate playing will keep you there. Strong arrangements and a keen sense of timing pervade throughout the albums twenty two tracks. Yes, twenty two tracks! If you're like me, you'll be hoping it never ends. Highlights are the norm and not the exception on this collection from Richard; Orange Room, Dirt to Dust, Both Sides Now, The Train and the Gate, hell, I could really just list every track on the album. Even the more traditional fare is kept fresh and updated as Richard plays a medley of Elizabeth Cotton's "Freight Train" and Fahey's "Take A Look at That Baby." The recordings themselves come through clean, clear and full range for this guitarist whose variety really knows no end. The only fault I could find on this album is the time between some of the tracks is so short that it is sometimes hard to tell if one song is finished or just morphed into a new tune. This is a minor quibble, and it only happens a couple of times.
This is an important piece of work from one of the best fingerstyle guitarists working and composing today. Richard may be "micro-famous" but this album speaks loudly about where he has taken the instrument. This is the kind of album that may just take him even farther. "
January and February 2012 Short Takes
Richard Gilewitz "Tasmania Live," 2011 The irreverent Richard Gilewitz has brought smiles to the faces of his fans again with the release of "Tasmania Live," recorded in that land of the "devil" somewhere in the ocean south of Australia. Listeners will quickly hear the stylings and songs of two of Gilewitz’s mentors – John Fahey and Leo Kottke. Fahey came to the island 30 years ago, and Gilewitz pays old John a compliment by playing no less than 3 Fahey songs on the CD. Gilewitz is a true master of fingerstyle guitar, and can play about anything possible on six or twelve strings. The bulk of the material from these two concerts is blues, ragtime, and folk. Mixed between the songs is the natural patter and humor his audiences have come to expect from a Richard Gilewitz show. He plays with grace and power on Jorma Kaukonen’s "Embryonic Journey" (sounding a lot like Leo Kottke), while opening the CD with a rollicking version of his own song "Wazamataz." When he’s not rolling, Gilewitz slows it down with a lush jazzy version of the Howard Arlen classic "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." You can’t hear anything but the guitar, all ears straining to catch each phrase, even as he seamlessly segues into Joni Mitchell’s "Both Sides Now." Really lovely playing. He covers the Beatles’ "When I’m Sixty-Four" with the cheek it deserves. Gilewitz and his co-producer Tim May end the disc with Kottke’s "Jack Fig" – a fine way to go out. Gilewitz is at the top of his game, and the audiences who heard him in Tasmania had a treat. © Kirk Albrecht