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Beyond the Desert
Artist: Dave Beegle
Label: Avant-Acoustic Records
Exceptional instrumental music has the ability to take you to places in your imagination that you would otherwise never experience. The newest release by Colorado guitarist Dave Beegle of Fourth Estate fame does just that. Picture yourself sitting in a comfortable chair in Istanbul, you're sipping a cup of Turkish coffee and watching the methodic rhythmic moves of a belly dancer. Or perhaps you are at a villa in Spain overlooking the deep blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea watching a Flamenco guitarist playing his instrument. His fingers are a blur as they race across the neck of his instrument. What if Fro do and Sam were guitarists sharing an evening of quiet music at the Prancing Pony, a few years after their adventure to the delight of all of the younger hobbits. These are just a few of the mind pictures that "Beyond The Desert" have awakened in my imagination.
Dave's second acoustic release is a wonderful collection of seven songs which features magnificent playing by some of the best players around today. Each song features explanatory remarks as well as the various guitar tunings used on the pieces. My suggestion would be to go into your music room, turn down the lights, stretch out on a nice comfortable recliner and let these songs take you where they will. It will be a great journey to say the least. If you don't live in or around Colorado, then by all means get out to Cornerstone 2003 to see Dave play. I know that is what I am going to do. And by all means check out www.davebeegle.com and www.AvantAcoustic.com
Chris MacIntosh aka Grandfather Rock 6/8/2003
Dave Beegle is a mystery; not his guitar playing, which is top-notch, as anyone who has heard his Fourth Estate projects can attest, nor his style, which is that of rock inflected with healthy doses of flamenco, blues and eastern European folk music. The mystery is that Beegle is not better known or respected as a guitarist.
This latest Beegle project showcases his talents on the acoustic guitar, which, not surprisingly, rival his accomplishments on the electric guitar. The only real difference in style is that with the acoustic his playing tends to be a little brighter and less based on strange tunings, as his electric work using the Transperformance Self-Tuning system tends to be. To underscore his abilities, in the duet he shares with Phil Keaggy, "Something Shared," both guitarists demonstrate again their proficiency in a way that allows each to shine while in no way showing any deficiency in the other's playing. When two guitarists of this calibre are able to play off one another, the result is spectacular indeed.
Other highlights include a remake of Beegle's Bulgarian-flavoured "Kara Kum," where the acoustic guitar gives a lighter, less ominous tone to the proceedings, allowing more texture to shine through; "Ecstatico" with its flamenco feel; and "Sandy's Painting", which seems to tell a story.
What is truly surprising is the richness achieved in the layering of instruments used, all without keyboards, samplers, or electric guitars (although some may wish to argue the e-bow used in "Kara Kum" comes close).
Anyone who enjoys good fret work like that of Phil Keaggy, Scott Denté or other acknowledged acoustic masters owes it to themselves to at very least try to find a copy of this album to listen to, if not purchase. While there are many self-styled guitar heroes, true heroes are few and far between. Dave Beegle continues to demonstrate why he is one of the best in the business. Truly an amazing album.
Alex Klages 7/13/2003