Nick Jonah Davis

Of Time and Tides: Guitar Recordings, Vol. 2

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For his second full-album release, Nick Jonah Davis aims for an understated, reflective set of performances, acoustic guitar as slightly mysterious mood-setter. But it's no sterile mood piece; throughout, whether it's in his occasional count-offs or in the close-to-the-mike feel of the recording, it's an album that feels in the moment, a private session one has eavesdropped on. There's an air of the rough and immediate from the start on "Twiga," where notes suddenly burst out from the main melody, and a midsong break into a sudden stop-start section feels like a series of hushed pauses. Much of Of Time and Tides eschews anything quite so melodramatic; Davis aims to make a mark, just in a gentler way. Song titles like "Nine Stones Close" help convey the sense of rural location captured at many points, but it's the feeling of the music that remains key, as can also be heard on the sweet ramble of "Mari Christina." At the album's most bucolic, a song like "The Narrow Bridge" feels like the ultimate country summer afternoon that should be, sun over water and a peacefulness in the performance. Meanwhile, leading off "Nocturne" with a piano some time before guitar appears results in an unexpected, quietly moving synthesis, a late-night moodiness in more ways than one, something that the almost chilling feedback textures underneath "A Broken Circle" play up even more strongly.

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