Ben Lacy

One Track Mind

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Ben Lacy's first release is a good introduction to -- and representation of -- his amazing style, but to fully grasp what it is you are hearing (or think you're hearing), a live performance is the ticket. That's because Lacy's technique is so mind-boggling it really needs to be seen to be believed. He is a one-man band, providing his own bass and percussive parts while simultaneously laying down rhythmic chords and melodies. Lacy uses a two-handed approach that incorporates a variety of slapping, thumping, and hammer-on techniques.

Seven of the tracks were recorded in one take: one man, one guitar, no overdubs. All nine tracks are instrumentals, save a few bars of faint scat singing on the delightfully frantic "Get Your Feet Wet." "Bobby's Tune" features bursts of stabbing, staccato chord bursts and dissonant voicings that you don't hear coming -- and that's a good thing. "Morning Mist of Someday" creates a brief diversion in that it features Lacy on mandolin; it's a rather mysterious-sounding tune that is reminiscent of some of Led Zeppelin's classic acoustic work. The covers here -- Steely Dan's "Hey Nineteen" and Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" -- prove that Lacy has incredibly "big ears"; since these are familiar songs, they provide the perfect opportunity for listeners to pick up on his exceptionally keen musical perception and ability to capture an entire song with just his two hands and one guitar. Still, one has to wonder if he is hiding additional brains somewhere.

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