Nina Gerber

Not Before Noon

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After coloring the music of artists ranging from Queen Ida to Jerry Jeff Walker to Barbara Higbie and, most notably, Kate Wolf, Gerber has finally released her solo debut. But like her previous efforts, she still lurks behind the scenes. Gerber does not sing, instead letting Greg Brown, Lucy Kaplansky, Terry Garthwaite, Herb Peterson, and others handle the vocals. But vocals never were Gerber's forte; her marvelous guitar work has always been her meal ticket. During the six vocal cuts, the Northern California native relaxes comfortably into the role of filling and soloing, like she usually does in a supporting role. The other six tracks put her crystalline tone and perfect phrasing out front, which is precisely where she deserves to be. The music weaves in and out of folk conventions and Joni Mitchell-like jazz arrangements, but Gerber's melodic guitar voicings are always perfect for the moment. Anyone who has been waiting to this artist to cut loose with a burning solo can keep waiting. But anyone who has enjoyed her backing work more than the headliners she accompanies will be fully satisfied by a plate brimming with Gerber's sweet touch and magnificent taste. She may not be the biggest name around, but Nina Gerber is undoubtedly a guitar heroine of unrivaled proportions.

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