As the creative force behind Boston's Glorytellers, Geoff Farina is probably better known for fronting indie stalwarts Karate and Secret Stars.
He's also known for over a decade of contributions to Tape Op magazine on the subject of tube amplifiers and contemporary guitar-related technologies, a topic he also discussed in an interview on US National Public Radio's Talk Of The Nation show.
But the guitars on Glorytellers' debut sound anything but contemporary, as they conjure Jim Hall, Johnny Smith, Gary Davis, Blind Blake, Skip James and other of Farina's earlier American guitar heroes.
On this first release Farina and collaborator/drummer Luther Gray III balance Farina's abstract harmonies and urgent vocal style on pristine pre-WWII guitar and drum sounds, as bass lines are thumb-picked on acoustic guitar and 50-year-old cymbals sizzle for choruses.
Although they are sometimes drawn indiscriminately from the American songbook, Glorytellers' songs are anything but campy.
The urgency of these songs manifest the depth of Glorytellers' commitment to their influences: Luther Gray has backed Sabir Mateen, Joe McPhee, Anthony Braxton, Roy Campbell, Fred Anderson, and other contemporary Jazz greats; Farina has studied with Roswell Rudd, performed with Michael Zerang and Allan Chase, and he will break down a John Hurt, Blind Blake, or Kenny Burrell tune for you note-for-note at the drop of a hat.
Glorytellers are musicians' musicians who have been individually mining the dusty bins of 20th Century American music for many years, and revitalize their findings with this unique set of delicate ballads.