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A Year Closer
Artist: Dave Beegle
Label:  Hapi Skratch Records
Length:  38:32 minutes/10 tracks 

A Simple Prayer
Grace from Mercy

An acoustic project, A Year Closer is a sharp course change for this electric guitar hero, but there is no mistaking those nimble fingers and out-of-the-box thinking that gained the lead man of Fourth Estate so much admiration. Like most veteran musicians these days, Beegle has taken the creative process "in house" by building a home studio where he could afford to roll enough tape to get it right. A process, he once told me, that would mean: 

I'll probably just drive myself crazy. I hope I don't just quit playing guitar altogether once I start recording myself....I have a feeling I'm going to have to spend a lot of time. I'll probably record something and decide that I need to sit down and practice for two weeks really hard before I'm happy with it. Recording acoustic guitar is bare-naked. You don't have distortion, or anything to hide behind.
A Year Closer is evidence he's getting it right.

Acoustic guitar takes a lot of forms as Beegle shares his flamenco, jazz, baroque, Middle East, Balkan and progressive-tinged stylings. Longtime collaborators Michael Olson (bass), Beth Quist (percussion), and Ethan Mesple (percussion) lend support on half the songs, while the rest are carried well by Beegle alone.  Ever the innovator, Fourth Estate always prided itself on not over-dubbing or altering their recordings in anyway. While no such trickery is obvious on this project either, Beegle does indulge in a bit of multi-track recording as he claims credit on "All the King's Men" for four different guitars!  In addition to self engineering and producing the project, he pushes the acoustic envelope by using an E-bow choir on several of the pieces, a device generally reserved for plugged in sets, that approximates nicely many of his electric signatures. 

An instrumental project without words has to find other ways to express its spiritual foundations. A Year Closer accomplishes this nicely with a solo version of Fourth Estate's show-stopping adaptation of  J. S. Bach's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" bracketed by  "Rose's Garden" and "Simple Prayer" whose original melodies echo forgotten hymns and cry out for someone to write the verses. Perhaps it will be you as this remarkable disk wears itself out in your player, evidence of one man's appreciation of his God-given gifts.

Linda J. T. LaFianza  3/5/00 

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