Scott Wainwright – Sentimental Debris

Album Review | Self Release | Review by Marc Higgins | Stars: 4/5

Scott is a master guitar player. After the layered lavish music of Talking Backwoods his last album Sentimental Debris is a tighter ship of solo guitar instrumentals recorded in one four hour session. If those parameters put pressure on Scott, it doesn’t show in these measured shining acoustic pieces. “King Kenny’s Dream” has the pick and slide atmosphere of a nimble piece by American Primitives John Fahey or Jack Rose. “Where Two Rivers Meet” and “Revival In The Valley” like the misty back sleeve shot and the blissed cow on the front are wonderfully bucolic pieces. Both have that effortless laid back but intricate trance like feel of Michael Chapman or Nick Jonah Davis. “Samuel’s Turn” continues that feel, with a touch of Country talking blues. Throughout there is a wonderful sense of space and pace. “Static, Back Then” is lights down low lullaby music, the beautiful sound of someone drifting off into sleep. Stanley, my Labrador, particularly liked this one, listening head on one side to the motif. Progressively through the sequencing of this fine album there is a growing sense of contemplation and quiet. “Ragtime Raga #1” has passages of frantic ragtime, but also moments of real meditative quiet that you can get lost in. This is atmospheric as much as an exercise in fleet fingered virtuosity that solo guitar albums can be sometimes. “A Day Without Sorrow” is languid perfection. Wonderful string bending and those resonant notes that John Renbourn played so well. The slide and bending add a surreal otherworldly edge to the playing, a little bit of disquiet amongst the quiet beauty.

Solo guitar is possibly niche, but Americans like Glenn Jones and William Tyler make big statement recordings on large labels to great reviews and attention. Alongside UK players like Jim Ghedi or a latter day John Renbourn mixing solo guitar instrumental albums with song sets, it would be good if Scott grabbed the collective ear of the atmospheric acoustic music buying hipster public. This is a limited edition physical CD, 100 copies, so don’t delay.