Album Review - John Sherman & Randy Clepper / Finally Tuned

We have not been overloaded with fingerstyle traditional guitar albums of late and so this outing by John Shermanand and Randy Clepper is a welcome addition.  Its a very accomplished recording of some demanding tunes.  It's includes some classic sets such as Rolling Waves/Market Town/Scatter The Mud from the  Kevin Burke and Míchael Ó Domhnaill Portland album of the same name.  In addition to that you have Christmas Eve, Moving Cloud, I Buried My Wife.., Golden Keyboard and many more.  Unlike other albums where you may tire of the standards, here you get to appreciate how a duo on strings might approach them.  John and Randy are two Ohio-based multi-instrumentalist musicians who have an established track record when it comes to melodies for guitar.  Their instruments of choice on the album are guitar, tenor banjo and bouzouki and they are also joined by Pat Foley Jr. on bodhrán and Mark Alan Wade on marimbula.

It's predominantly traditional music throughout with a couple of modern tunes also included. You can’t fault the exquisite delivery with plenty in the way of texture and emotion. Refreshingly there is little in the way of overdubbing and this in part gives the album the energy needed to sustain it through 13 tracks.  It,s a couple of musicians sitting down playing some technically challenging tunes that are firmly rooted in traditional music.  The balance of melody and accompaniment work well throughout and the only gripe we would have is the missed opportunity to introduce a reed instrument into the mix on a couple of tracks to provide an alternative anchor on the melody side. Having said that its a fine and finely tuned album that is intricate in its arrangement and delivery and well worth checking out.

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Comment by Mark Wade on June 9, 2014 at 20:23
I like the voicing of just two stringed instruments personally. The coolest thing about this cd is that they play it just as masterfully live. No studio tricks on this one. My favorite is the "Moving Cloud" Set.

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