Solo Guitar Sketchbook is an amazing album by the multi-talented, Harvey Reid, this time concentrating on his fingerstyle guitar work. This album runs the gauntlet of styles, offering a nice variety of blues, ragtime, and folk that keep the listener fully engaged. Reid utilizes six-string guitar, a dobro, and 12-string guitar on these 21 pieces running over 70 minutes in length. "Canal Street Strut" and "Dirty Dish Rag" are two lively cuts featuring Merle Travis and Chet Atkins finger picking, while "The Fisherman" tips its hat to Leo Kottke. Reid is a talented though subtle stylist, and he's able to copy each of these masters while still retaining his own uniqueness. He is just as happy to play Bach's "Prelude in Dm" or Beethoven's "Für Elise" as he is folk music. This later piece, familiar as it is, sounds lovely and fresh on the guitar. "The Albatross" is played on dobro, creating a open, airy surface without being overly "bluesy." "Moon River" is one of the more unusual choices of this album, but Reid delivers it at a relaxed pace that avoids any clichés. On "Sailing in the Lowlands," an instrumental similar to the material found on his previous album, Of Wind and Water, Reid has fashioned a piece that suggests a peaceful day on the water. His self-penned material fits in nicely with the classic material on this album. One of Reid's most distinct qualities is his ability to induce moods by his layered, multicolored guitar work. Solo Guitar Sketches is a necessary addition to any guitar enthusiast's album collection.
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