(This review was first published in issue 51 of Shindig! magazine)
A live LP collated from the final two shows of a month long hometown residency, Land of Plenty showcases two musicians at the top of their game. Ryley Walker is perhaps today's most fêted finger-style guitarist, his Primrose Green album almost certain to feature in the end of year polls. He's joined by fellow Chicago resident and Darts And Arrows guitarist Bill MacKay for seven instrumentals which merge folk, jazz, blues, early music and ragas.
As with all great improvisational music, the pair push, compliment and inspire each other. Such seat-of-the-pants playing echoes Davy Graham's flights of fancy, the intuitive understanding of Jansch and Renbourn, and the emotional playing of Vini Reilly.
The heavy stereo mix (Bill to the left, Ryley the right) allows for isolated listening, though it's really all about interplay and counterpoint. With moods ranging from mournful, to contemplative, to celebratory, the music is always tasteful, fluid, and inspired.
Click here for Bill MacKay's website.
Click here for Ryley Walker's website.
Click here for Whistler Records.