World Fusion in a Pastoral Mode from Urban Nature Guitarist
Todd Boston is a child of Windham Hill records and Shakti and you can hear that with his world fusion duo, Urban Nature and on Alive, his solo debut. Although to call it solo might be a misnomer. Boston plays acoustic guitar as well as flute, bass and percussion and he’s joined on many tracks by his Urban Nature partner, Ramesh Kannan on tabla.
Listen to Todd Boston’s “Twilight”
He’s also doing live looping. He’ll lay a guitar line down and just as you’re getting lost in the melody, a new theme comes in, played in real time while the original melody continues in a loop.
That makes Alive a lot more than your standard finger-style solo guitar album. Boston creates deep meditative pieces that swirl with melody, from the refined strains of “Harmony” with Boston weaving flute melodies through his guitar filigree to the gentle sound of “The Brightest Night,” where he plays a simple solo line, plucking harmonics against a back drop of bass and crickets. “Midnight Dreaming,” is a caravan crossing, with Kannan’s tabla groove loping underneath Boston who first plays guitar and then brings in the bansuri flute.
Calling this album meditative might be misleading. Much of it is buoyant, like “Just The Beginning” with its Celtic trilling once Boston hits the solo run. The folk-like refrains of “Skipping” sound like an Appalachian folk song with Indian percussion. Boston isn’t afraid to toss anything into the mix, including some country slide guitar on “3AM.”
Todd Boston is getting into a different sound on Alive. You can hear his roots, but he has a more pastoral feel than Shakti, especially when cellist Matthew Schoening guests on the luxurious expanse of “Twilight.” There’s also a more expansive approach to melody than you’ll find on most Windham Hill records.
Todd Boston is now working with Windham Hill founder/guitarist Will Ackerman, but I’m not sure how much that can improve upon Alive, an auspicious debut from a soulful musician.
John Diliberto ((( echoes )))