Eddie Pennington

Walks the Strings and Even Sings

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Kentucky's Eddie Pennington has been rightly recognized as a national treasure on the guitar. His thumb-picking style, which he developed in the native region of his home state, is purely American, and perhaps best exemplified by the late, great Merle Travis. But Pennington himself is very much in the same class, a fluid, inventive player who can pick with the very best of them. Just how well he shows on the thrilling opener, "Walking the Strings," where he makes the impossible seem perfectly natural. Whether on blues ("Mose's Blues") or country (the influence on fully half the tracks here) or jazz ("Sweet Georgia Brown" and "Over the Rainbow"), he's completely at home, letting his fingers do the talking. He's no great shakes as a singer, but there's a self-deprecating pleasantness to his voice that's somehow charming. What keeps you listening, however, is the playing, which is equally powerful with both hands; any guitarist listening to "Stealing Time" will be hard pressed to even begin to replicate it -- the man is simply that good. These performances, recorded more than a decade ago, are simply stunning.

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