The number of solo acoustic guitar artists out there inspired by now-classic players like John Fahey seems to grow exponentially by the day.
While nobody can doubt the technical and playing capabilities of most of them, only those that have true inventiveness and inspiration like, say, Glenn Jones, one of Fahey’s original disciples stand out.
Listening to Passing, the new release from Columbus, OH-based fingerstyle guitarist Matthew J. Rolin, you get that sense of inventiveness and inspiration that make acoustic guitar artists stand out.
Those a bit more familiar with Rolin’s output might not be so surprised, since he, with a number of full-length releases on some of the Western hemisphere’s sharpest labels out ― Astral Spirits, Feeding Tube, Worried Songs, Trouble in Mind ― has quietly established himself as one of America’s higher purveyors of guitar music. He’s often worked in collaboration with his wife, the librarian and hammer dulcimer player Jen Powers, with whom he curates music for the Astral Spirits imprint Astral Editions.
On Passing it is all Rolin and his acoustic guitar (with the addition of the electric guitar on “Plaster” and the droned-out title track) and an outstanding technique that he doesn’t use to show how flashy his playing is, but is controlled and serves the purpose of portraying the melody and song in the best possible manner.
Even more amazing is the fact that Rolin recorded the album with Jeff Zeigler (The War on Drugs, Kurt Vile, Rosali) over a weekend in Philadelphia in a home recording studio, coming up with crystal clear sound, which showcases all the nuances of his playing.
Matthew J. Rolin – ‘Passing’ Review
On 'Passing' Matthew J Rolin shows what an inventive and inspired (mostly) acoustic guitar album should sound like.