Pete Kent, "The Hidden Hand," 2016
Minor 7th: May/June 2016.
Written By Kirk Albrecht
It's ironic that the last cut on Pete Kent's second solo acoustic guitar CD is titled "One Trick Pony," because as a guitarist, he's not that! Kent shows off about every trick in the modern fingerstyle arsenal – tapping, slapping, harmonics, percussive effects, slides, bends, and straight finger picking – all to good effect on the 11 tunes on "The Hidden Hand." He is deft when needed, simple in the best sort of way by not trying to do more with a phrase than the music requires. But Kent can play, as evidenced by the opening cut, "Icon," as he slaps and picks, mixing in a few ripping arpeggios to make sure you're not lulled by the grooving rhythm.
The CD has eight originals and three covers: a terrific version of Bruce Hornsby's hit "The Way It Is" that captures the drive of the original; "Everywhere" by Fleetwood Mac, where we can almost hear the melody sung by Christine McVie; and Level 42's "Hot Water" played with sass and funk. "Every Time I See Your Face" is a delicate flower. The title cut "The Hidden Hand" begins with a Spanish-style repetition with reverb, then shifts into another gear of single note runs while retaining an Andalusian feel. "Summer Daze" has a sing-song quality as the bass and melody tick-tock back and forth like a rocker on the front porch in the cool evening air. Maybe it's the title, but "The Devil's Chair" has a certain drive and power all its own in a haunting kind of way as bass plays off harmonics through much of the song. There's not a weak song on the CD. British audiences are being treated to some fine playing when Kent takes the stage, and we can only hope for more offerings as creative and well played as "The Hidden Hand."
© Kirk Albrecht
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