While Dan Crary occasionally enlists the help of others to flesh out the sound, he's more or less a one-man guitar ensemble. Unlike many working within new acoustic music (David Grisman), he's a virtuoso who likes to go it alone. He doesn't mind, however, multi-tracking guitar parts to create a rich, full sound on Renaissance of the Steel String Guitar. If it seems a bit gutsy to name your own album "Renaissance" anything, Crary justifies the use of the term within his first two compositions. Both "Senso Unico" and "In Flagrante" begin with fairly simple guitar parts, first on one track, then on the other, and quickly build like carefully constructed suites. The word "suite," however, shouldn't lead one to think Crary's fretwork is overly formal. The real fun of Renaissance is the vitality he is able to extract from carefully arranged pieces like "Banderilla" and "Lobelia Blue," guaranteeing that his music will never be mistaken for easy listening. There are numerous guest appearances by Beppe Gambetta, Sam Bush, and Billy Oskay. Crary's extensive liner notes on the rich history of the guitar reveal that besides being a great guitarist, he's also pretty darn smart. Renaissance of the Steel String Guitar will be greeted by guitar enthusiasts with open ears.
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AllMusic Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.