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Prester John — Desire for a Straight Line
(Innova 774, 2010, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2011-06-01

Desire for a Straight Line Cover art

Prester John this time is Shawn Persinger on acoustic guitar and David Miller on mandolin, weaving beautiful intertwining rhythms and melodies, with some amazing lead fretwork from both players as the two mix it up with a preponderance of chops. The smart and agile compositions seem to draw from ideas borne of a mix of jazz, bluegrass, classical, folk, and world music, with Persinger’s progressive rock roots never far from the surface. Working in 100% instrumental mode, each piece brims with spry wit and a fascination for exploration, combining concepts and styles into a brilliant result that is at once challenging but completely listenable. The guitar and mandolin occupy different ranges, and thus never get in the way of one another, but instead complement each other perfectly and allow the listener to focus on either or both. At times this might seem like a meeting between David Grisman and John McLaughlin exploring styles outside of their usual comfort zone. A few of the titles reference other players (Mike Sary, David Kerman, and Janet Feder), perhaps a nod to those who provided inspiration for the compositions? Don’t let the short length of this review dissuade you; some music is just too adroit for words. Instead, make a straight line to your favorite online music outlet and buy this one!


Filed under: New releases, Issue 39, 2010 releases

Related artist(s): Shawn Persinger (Prester John)

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