Guitar Confluence Live DVD/CD
by Mark Hanson and Doug Smith
Grammy-winning duo Mark Hanson and (national fingerpicking champion) Doug Smith have played together since the mid-90s. Their duo shows are inspiring displays of beautiful music, incredible togetherness, and great fun. They even won a Grammy for their duo rendition of Henry Mancini's "A Shot in the Dark"!
This DVD contains 14 original tunes and arrangements from a show at Alva's, a lovely venue in southern California. The accompanying CD includes additional tunes from that same show. There are 22 tunes in all in this package, mostly duos, but the DVD also includes solos of Mark's emotion-packed "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" and Doug's moving "Feed the Birds."
The camera-work is great and the sound is wonderful (live sound can be problematic, but not here!). Mark and Doug's great musical prowess and camaraderie, augmented by their enjoyable onstage presence, make this a concert that you will want to visit time and time again!
DVD Tracks: Easy Virtue, Confluence, Sunday Sonata, Ryan Time (Again), It's Only Love, I'm Looking Through You, Brother Can You Spare a Dime?, A Mighty Fortress is Our God, Dyerville Giant, Power of Two, Waimea Canyon, The Water is Wide, Masters in This Hall, Feed the Birds.
CD Tracks: Easy Virtue, Confluence, Sunday Sonata, Ryan Time (Again), It's Only Love, I'm Looking Through You, A Shot in the Dark, Dyerville Giant, Power of Two, Mister Sandman, Waimea Canyon, Viva Las Vegas, Ave Maria/Can't Help Falling In Love, The Water is Wide, What the World Needs Now, Bye Bye Blues, Jerry's Breakdown
*REVIEW* from NBC "Dateline" correspondent Dennis Murphy, quite a guitarist in his own right:
Guitar Confluence Live CD and DVD are tremendous anthologies. They're all highlights. "Ryan Time", "Waimea Canyon", Beatles medley, "Viva Las Vegas" would be on my EP release. Terrific thing about the video is you see just how much these guys enjoy each other and their music. Solos "Feed the Birds" and "Water is Wide" are both magical.
*REVIEW* from Minor7th.com
Smith and Hanson are clearly having fun on "Guitar Confluence," a live performance CD/DVD of contemporary steel string acoustic fingerstyle guitar in the trajectory of Michael Hedges, Alex de Grassi, and Leo Kottke. The guitarists play together as if they have forever. In fact, they released their first duo album in 2001 and both appeared, as soloists and a duo, on Grammy-winning "Pink Guitar" in 2005 (their duet "A Shot in the Dark" is included here). "Guitar Confluence" is quite varied, with inventive renditions of many pop turns, including a set of Beatles songs, a slip gig, a Hawaiian slack key offering ("Waimea Canyon") and the terrific "Dyerville Giant," titled for a giant redwood tree, which features propulsive percussive tapping. The pieces are on the short side, but the advantage that this allows the musicians to showcase many styles and techniques, including a few jazz and blues stylings. One of the most exciting is the Celtic-sounding "Masters in This Hall," with wild rhythmic strumming and fast fingerwork. The two solos on the CD - a rendition of "Ava Maria" (in which Smith reveals his classical training) and Hanson's version of traditional "The River Is Wide" - are especially lovely. The album comes to a close with the jaw dropping "Jerry's Breakdown," a fitting conclusion to a strong collection, which also comes with a bonus DVD.
© Céline Keating