Is it possible for two artists to be on the same label so long that one starts to sound like the other? In the case of Govi, who has been a Higher Octave Music labelmate of Craig Chaquico for years, absolutely -- well at least on "Ruby Lips," the moody, easy-rolling opening track on this disc. It's a nice enough cut, a cool mix of acoustic and slow-burning electric guitars, but it sounds like a mellow outtake from any of Chaquico's recent recordings. Odd, since the German-born Govi -- who spent eight years in India and lives in Hawaii -- usually edges toward the more exotic. He kind of mixes the percussive vibe of his usual stuff with another Chaquico-type guitar display on "Moonstone." Govi fortunately finds his truer voice on "Medallion," which features trippy atmospheres and a tantalizing sitar harmony. "Nettie Gem" takes him to even further exotic territory with its wailing blend of Middle Eastern vibes and flamenco flair, and from there the engaging world traveler is home free, finding unique ways to mix the two styles into colorful atmospheres and colorful engaging romps. He even takes the bluesy new age route on "Diamonds in the Dew." As warmly inviting and exotically cool as Govi's music is, it's fascinating to imagine him picking and choosing from his eclectic slate of instruments, which include the Solomon jazz guitar, Fender Strat, Turkish oud, and Jerry Jones electric sitar. He uses all of them to stirring effect. One wonders, however, if before he opened this Jewel Box, he had borrowed one of Chaquico's 50 prized guitars? Or was listening to Acoustic Highway? Since they are signed to the same label, any sonic coincidences should be resolved by a duet album in the future.
Jewel Box Review
by Jonathan Widran