Todd Boston’s Touched by the Sun is Echoes June CD of the Month
Hear an interview with Todd Boston Tuesday, 10/9/2012 on Echoes.
In June, the month when the sun has unchallenged dominion, guitarist Todd Boston has released the perfect album for summer days. Touched by the Sun is a thematic suite centered on images of the solar orb and built around the global chamber sound that Boston has been working with for a few years. He has an Indian fusion duo with percussionist Ramesh Kannan called Urban Nature and he released a solo album, Alive, that was an Echoes CD of the Month in October 2010. At that time he was already working with guitarist Will Ackerman, the founder of Windham Hill Records. Back then, I wrote that I wasn’t sure how much working with Ackerman would improve upon Alive. The answer is, quite a bit.
A child of the Windham Hill generation, Boston heard seminal records by guitarists like Ackerman, Alex De Grassi and Michael Hedges on Echoes when he was growing up in the Philadelphia suburbs. Now he’s made a convincing statement to be considered in their ranks. Ackerman brings in his posse of side musicians including cellist Eugene Friesen, bassists Tony Levin and Michael Manring and violinist Charlie Bisharat, allowing Boston to expand his eastern fusions to embrace Celtic, gypsy and chamber music in a sound of pastoral repose and gentle dances. It’s Bisharat who brings the gypsy sound, wailing on tracks like “Sol Rising” and “The Brightest Night” with a free-form ecstatic brand of soloing.
Boston has adapted the techniques of his heroes, like the two-handed tapping of Hedges, as well as the ragas of Ali Akbar Khan, the Indian sarod master with whom he studied. His guitar playing often has Indian inflections and he also plays the dotar – kind of a baby sarod – to good effect especially on tracks like “Sol Rising.” Through the wonders of multi-tracking, he also plays flute on several tracks including “Full Moon” which carries a Celtic-suffused melody against Bisharat’s violin accents.
Boston earned nearly $25,000 in a Kickstarter campaign to fund the record, and you can hear every penny of it on this beautifully produced CD. Here’s one of several Kickstarter videos Boston made about his recording sessions with Will Ackerman.
Touched by the Sun sits comfortably in a world fusion landscape that goes back to The Paul Winter Consort, Shakti, Oregon and Ancient Future. Ackerman’s influence on the impeccable, expansive sound and arrangements elevate Todd Boston out of the finger-style guitarists glut.
~© 2012 John Diliberto ((( echoes )))