When I look back on 2004 sometime next year, there will be many great albums I'll remember. Hopefully it will be seen as the year that BushCo was fired, and the year this little 'zine starting growing up. I'm sure there's a lot of movements in music happening that I'm completely unaware of, but one thing about 2004 that will definitely stick with me for awhile is how much excellent solo, instrumental, acoustic music was released. 2004 is the year for being unplugged with your mouth zipped shut. Between new albums from established favorites like Six Organs of Admittance, Steffen Basho-Junghans, and Jack Rose to newcomers like Langtry, it's been a damn good year for the genre.
And then there's Glenn Jones. I've long been a fan of his work with the often under-appreciated Cul de Sac, so I was excited to learn that he was finally doing a solo album. Over the course of eight tracks, Jones pays homage to the giants of the genre. In the liner notes, he specifically talks about the influence of John Fahey and Robbie Basho, without whom I suspect "This is the Wind That Blows it Out" would not exist. Also in the liner notes, Jones mentions that these songs aren't specifically about anything, but that they do evoke something for him when he plays them. There might not be any specific themes, but my thoughts turn toward autumn when I listen to "This is the Wind That Blows it Out."
"Friday Nights With" is the most warm and relaxing song on the album. Every time I listen to this song, it brings new images of orange and gold oak leaves blanketing hibernating grass. I imagine two lovers rolling around in those leaves, dressed in multiple layers as the temperature drops. The scent of hickory smoke rises in the distance, tickling each of their noses. Jones' carefully chosen notes have a sense of innocence to them; listening to him glide along the fret board, one can't help but think nothing could ever go wrong. Melodic and intricate, "Friday Nights With" is nothing short of brilliant.
Jones shows off his skill on all of these tracks, but his abilities are most apparent on "Sphinx Unto Curious Man" and "Nora's Leather Jacket." The former, which is the longest track on the album, jumps between slow, carefully controlled strums and rapid-fire finger plucking. Overall, there's a feeling of desolation and betrayal sprinkled over the track's notes. I imagine this playing in the background as the person who has been wronged stares out the window, watching as the first snow falls on the season. There is a slight sense of hope underlying the darker moments here, and the snow signifies the new beginning. Just cover everything in white and move on.
"Nora's Leather Jacket," on the other hand, is a nostalgic piece played at light speed. Nowhere else on "This is the Wind That Blows it Out" does Jones flex his muscles like he does on this track. His technical skill is unbelievable, and is only topped by his ability to write beautiful and moving compositions. "Nora's Leather Jacket" is like looking back at an eventful summer. You've just had one last hurrah over Labor Day weekend, and you're exhausted. Thinking back to all the things that transpired over the most memorable summer of your life, you can't help but close your eyes and smile. This is an inspiring track.
It might have taken him years to finally complete his first solo album, but Glenn Jones has crafted a masterpiece. From his work in Cul de Sac, I knew he was dripping with talent, but I never would have guessed he'd thrive in this setting like he does. "This is the Wind that Blows it Out" may not have been written with anything in mind, but for every listener, it will invoke vivid imagery and emotions. As I write this, it's almost 100 degrees out and autumn can't get here soon enough. With each subsequent listen, however, I feel like summer is that much closer to saying goodnight for another year. 8/10 -- Brad Rose (25 May, 2005)