Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Jack Rose RIP

Fellow music lovers...

It's with a heavy heart that I relay the message that the warm guitar giant Jack Rose died on December 5th at the age of 38 of a heart attack. Although I didn't follow Rose's early work, he was a founding member of the influential guitar drone band Pelt and for the last 10 years had also focused his talents on his solo acoustic guitar playing. His guitar style was informed by traditional ragtime, blues, country, and 1920s jazz… even some Indian classical music. He played everything from a six-string to a 12-string and various lap steel guitars. He has released several solo acoustic guitar releases that illustrate his intimate fingerpicking. My favorites of these are his Kensington Blues album on VHF and his untitled album that was released on Archive in 2006 (and later re-released in LP format on Tequila Sunrise). Jack was simply a guitar extraordinaire and his shoes simply cannot be filled.

From ProgArchives:

"Jack Rose is a talented American blues rock guitarist which in parallel of his solo albums has released several items for an experimental, minimalist eastern tinged raga inspired project named Pelt. In this production, the acoustic, folk side of his musical background is orientated to unconventional, highly mystical experiences released with the help of traditional instruments as acoustic modal guitar, bowed strings, cello, bowed metal and addition of amplified sounds. In this adventure, Jack Rose is accompanied by three others musicians whose Mike Gangloss, Pat Best and Skipp James Connell. The quartet explores the universe of suspended "drones", the meditative density of eastern classical music and post rock. They provide a rather luminous, static and cinematic extended exploration throw infinite time. Pelt has published their first "classic" double album in 1996, called "Brown Cyclopedia". After that they have recorded the free form Burning/Filament/Rockets in 1996, then "Max Meadows", recognised for its great sense of diversity (a mix of Eastern raga, psychedelic rock and "world"). "Empty Bell Ringing In The Sky" marks their most psychedelic effort with freak out epic tunes. "Ayahuasca" ( 2001) is dedicated to the acoustic guitarist John Fahey. It features fingerstyle over ecstatic raga accompaniments. Published in 2003, "Pearls from the River" is an other exploration throw acoustic folk, monochord & calming raga sonorities."

From Pitchfork:

"Rose was a versatile player with an experimental bent, known for his work both with his group Pelt and as a solo artist. Following in the footsteps of left-field steel string guitar pioneers like John Fahey and Robbie Basho, Rose incorporated elements of drone, ragtime, folk, blues, and Eastern classical into his playing. He was featured on the landmark Golden Apples of the Sun, the Devendra Banhart-curated 2004 compilation that served as a high-water mark for freak-folk. Rose released albums on such labels as Three Lobed and VHF. He had recently signed to Thrill Jockey, who are set to release his tenth solo album, Luck in the Valley, on February 23, 2010."

Here's a video clip of one of Jack's solo ventures taken from his 2006 untitled album on the Archive label, featuring his slide guitar stylings:

R.I.P. Jack Rose (1971-2009)

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