Jack Rose – Opium Musick

LP, Eclipse Records, 2003


As the title suggests, this album of acoustic instrumentals is meant for those sedated, lethargic moods we can find ourselves in. The first track (“Yaman Blues”) is a peaceful, meditative raga featuring sitar-like guitar floating through a river of droning tamboura (very reminiscent to his work with Pelt). The relatively short “Linden Ave Stomp” follows with more of a jovial ragtime vibe and features Jack on Lap Steel with Glenn Jones joining him on second guitar. The second side starts with the sparse “Mountaintop Lamento”, a pastoral fingerstyle meditation on solo acoustic guitar filled with enough silences and empty spaces to hear the resonances float off the strings and decay into the air before the next phrase begins. Album closer “Black Pearls” is definitely the darkest song on the album, beginning with a dense, ominous cloud of Phrygian fingerpicking on 12-string. The cloud dissipates into frantic meanderings and eventually a frustrated catharsis. If this album is really “Opium Musick”, this last track is withdrawal musick after a blissful high.

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