PHNTM006

J.R. Bohannon | Recôncavo

April 26th 2019

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Illustrates the shapes and sights of American landscapes by bending some of its usual musical forms
Grayson Currin, Indy Week

Bohannon is a student in American styles and - from his time living in Brazil - fado and modinha guitar music, his compositions for 6 and 12-string guitar sit somewhere between the dulcet, pastoral bliss of American pioneers such as Leo Kottke or Robbie Basho and the passionate fluidity of Andres Segovia or Heitor Villa-Lobos. He also mentionsTuareg music and Gabor Szabo in his list of influences, leaving room for dark, dissonant passages and wide open sparseness. The marriage allows yet more intrigue into a record that already transports us alternately to dusky backroom bars in São Paulo and lonesome treks through the foothills of Kentucky. And, strangely enough, "a hotel room in lord knows where Connecticut. I was actually tour managing a great Ethiopian band called Fendika at the time, and I brought a little Martin travel guitar my buddy Charlie Rauh lent me and a zoom field recorder on the tour."

Named after a lush, coastal, sugar-growing region in eastern Brazil, Recôncavo opens with 'Under The Friar’s Ledge', a gliding, patiently paced spiritual tour guide through that landscape. "It's hard to imagine a piece of music I write that doesn't owe something to this period of my life," Bohannon writes. By the time we reach closer 'Envelopes', we have journeyed all the way back to 19th Century USA, hearing offerings that sing with emotional depth.