The fifth entry in the Tompkins Square series focusing on 20th and 21st century acoustic guitar performers is also the first to be compiled by someone other than label boss Josh Rosenthal, with Sam Moss, himself a performer, putting things together. Moss himself doesn't feature on the collection, a nicely selfless move, and the resultant collection maintains the generally high standards of the previous entries, with both up-and-coming and veteran names getting the nod. Among the more established performers would be Bill Orcutt, whose "John Fahey Commemorative Beer Can" openly nods toward a patron saint of the entire movement in both name and, in its short, punchily stark way, a particular style. But it's not simply Takoma redux throughout the collection, happily, ranging from Eric Carbonara's elegant fingerpicking on "Through a House of Violet Abandon" to the percussive skronk and prickliness of Cam Deas' "Modern Man in Search of a Song." Singling out some more highlights: Nick Schillace's "There Is a Place in This Old Town" is initially calm, a soft ramble through quiet back streets at dusk but which then picks up a bit like a dash through a meadow, all while taking its time; Alexander Turnquist's "Standing at the Entrance of a Hidden City" is duly busy, mysterious, quick and hyperactive, and shimmering, wrapping up with a majestic ending with backing drone tinges; and Will Stratton's "Hemet Pine Singer" starts and stops, like wind through branches, then moves along calmly toward its conclusion. Steve Gunn begins the entire collection with a brief bit of refined stateliness on "Temple Walk," which lives up to its name in its suggestion of enshrined ritual. Meanwhile, Danny Paul Grody's "Lookout Point" aims for the slow and meditative, a bit of twang, and a touch of drone, fitting in with his excellent style and beautifully genteel.
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AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett