Michael Gulezian

Unspoken Intentions

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Michael Gulezian is among the many acoustic guitarists who came out of the "picker" field in the '70s. For those who might be unfamiliar with that term, "pickers" are acoustic guitar-playing instrumentalists like Robbie Basho, Peter Lang, Leo Kottke, and the prolific John Fahey. They are at their best when playing unaccompanied, and their music is essentially folk or folk-rock. Gulezian was in his early twenties when, in 1979, he recorded Unspoken Intentions for Takoma, a label that was quite picker-friendly at the time. On this excellent album, Gulezian's appreciation of Fahey, Kottke, and Basho comes through. But at the same time, he is very much his own man. Although Unspoken Intentions essentially falls into the folk-rock category, Gulezian brings a variety of influences to the table -- influences that range from Southern country blues and slide guitar to traditional Indian music. And Gulezian's interest in Indian music seems perfectly logical when you take a look at his background. Although he was born and raised in the United States, Gulezian is of Armenian descent. He was exposed to a lot of traditional Armenian music growing up, and Armenian musicians -- like Indian musicians -- embrace what is known as modal playing. So there are definitely parallels between Armenian and Indian music. Another thing Gulezian brings to the table is a dreamy, airy quality and a sense of calm; there is something very reassuring about these performances. For many years, Unspoken Intentions was out of print. But in 2002, Fantasy reissued the album on CD and added two bonus tracks (both of which were recorded in 1981). Those who have never experienced the pleasures of Gulezian's acoustic guitar playing will find Unspoken Intentions to be an excellent starting point.

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