Martin Simpson

Leaves of Life

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This is all really good stuff, and acoustic guitarist Simpson has made a nice selection of pieces to perform on this album -- songs and laments from England and Ireland. To be sure, Simpson performs very well, as does Erio Aceto, here heard playing electric violin and mandolin. The problem, is that out of twelve classic songs, not a one sticks to the ribs of the mind, even after playing the disc numerous times. There is an overwhelming sense of some element missing, and perhaps it's passion. All these pieces are performed with a professional, perfect blandness that belies their nature and origin. In aiming for such a clean rendition, Simpson seems to have lost connection with their spirit, rendering numbers such as "The Greenfields of America" and "McCrimmon's Lament" to the status of background music. Overall, it's listenable enough, and pleasantly enjoyable, but ultimately forgettable. As with the other albums in the Guitar Artistry series. this one comes with a tablature book for budding guitarists.

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