Stuart Martz

Threesome Reel

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Writers have the tendency to generously cite Richard Thompson and Mark Knopfler as influences when describing hot-shot guitarists. Rarely are upstart axemen able to live up to the standard of such legends. But Stuart Martz can. Not only is his technique and execution on par with those two, he delivers in a way that Thompson and Knopfler will never be able to. Martz plays a mean fiddle as well. Threesome Reel is the debut from this Minneapolis Celtic rock three-piece. Joining Martz are percussionist Matt Jocobs and bassist John Wright (along with guest musicians on flute, pipes, etc.), and these guys are tight! The opening instrumental "Scotland the Brave/Atholl Highlander" is akin to an electrified Strict Tempo-era Thompson. Fairport Convention likenesses (with and without Sir Richard) crop up intermittently, which is only indicative of the Martz Band's expertise and command of their craft, not a statement about their originality. There are plenty of moments of creativity and humor here; a seemingly innocuous disco beat gradually unfolding in the Eastern European-tinged "Frealach/Sota" (and apparently going nowhere) suddenly explodes into a 15-second flashback to the '70s disco culprit "The Hustle" (which could also have been worked into "The Musical Priest" three cuts later). The Martz original "Folked in the Head" is good for a couple of laughs too. "Anachie Gordon" and "Banks of the Ponchartrain" provide nice touches and allow rest for the otherwise nonstop toe-tapping that will surely occur when listening to Threesome Reel.

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