Peter Lang

Dharma Blues

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AllMusic Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.

One always wonders what happened to an artist who recorded several albums and then dropped out of sight for 25 years. Guitarist Peter Lang notes that he distanced himself from the music business, though not music itself, in 1978. Turning 50, however, prompted him to give recording another shot. Dedicated to John Fahey, Dharma Blues pretty much picks up where Lang and his fellow pickers left off in the 1970s. Unlike Fahey or, say, Robbie Basho, however, Lang's fingerpicking seldom uses dissonance or shows the influence of Eastern music. Instead, "Thicker Than Wicker" and "Walter's Wings" offer melodic, free-flowing lines that are easy on the ears. Like his friends, however, he does combine multiple styles ranging from folk to blues, and more often than not utilizes open tunings. In "Poor Boy/Guitar Rag" and "Halloween Blues," in particular, Lang emphasizes country blues with a slide guitar, while the title cut features a more open-ended approach to the genre played in a standard tuning. Most of the pieces on Dharma Blues are self-penned and have enough bite to keep them from falling into new age sameness. Lang says that it's more difficult physically to record an album than it was 25 years ago, but he's nonetheless accomplished what he set out to do. Guitar players and aficionados will be glad that he did.

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