Doug Smith

Labyrinth

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This talented guitarist regards his instrument as "an orchestra in a box," as he applies symphonic leanings to his intricate compositions. On Labyrinth, his second release, he manages to extend the tonal nuances of the steel string guitar, displaying an acoustic artistry that is catchy and refreshing. The use of skilled sidemen such as violinist Darol Anger, flutist Steve Kujala and percussionist Mike Spiro adds to a few tracks. The production by Checkfield's John Archer brings a multi-dimensionality to the project. Some of the cuts are portraits of pensive moods, like "Lost in the Here and Now." Others celebrate the joyous discovery of newfound expression and possibilities, such as the appropriately named "When the Walls Fell." "Blueskies Mt. Hood" is vast and spacious, while the title track has a chamber-like feel. Described as a combination of Chet Atkins, Leo Kottke and Michael Hedges, Doug Smith has laid down an amazing hybrid he calls Labyrinth, worthy of further exploration and hours of pleasurable listening for guitar aficionados from any musical direction.

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