Rhymes With Orange – Gordon Stone
On Rhymes with Orange, the acclaimed pedal steel guitar and banjo player Gordon Stone gives us nine tracks and thirty-six minutes of progressive “acoustic” music that is sparse, funky, and pleasantly transient. Joined by teenage fiddle player Mike Barnett and electric bassist Aram Bedrosian, the Gordon Stone Band breezes through their tunes (which appear to be free of overdubs) without ever giving the impression that they are trying to get you to listen. Their legs hanging outside the car of a moving train, the GSB contentedly play to the open spaces beyond; but whether these spaces are populated or not seems beside the point
Stone’s impeccable sense of melody is foremost responsible for this feel; on tracks like “Nice Feet” and “Buffalo Blues,” he plays the pedal steel with a passion that is never showy, evoking the leisurely ambiance of rural America. Barnett’s fiddle is able to lock into that feeling, and his playing compliments Stone well. Bedrosian, though, while a competent enough bassist, makes a huge mistake by slapping his way through the album. What at first is an intriguing novelty soon wears off and becomes a distraction to what are otherwise fine compositions. It doesn’t help that the music on Rhymes with Orange has so much open space in it, which propels the bass to play a more prominent role in the mix that it might have otherwise. But if you can overlook the incongruity, Rhymes with Orange shouldn’t fail to provide fans of instrumental Americana with a pleasantly ephemeral excursion.