Les Finnigan shows some restraint on The Fiery Cart
Despite the title, it’s a relatively restrained Les Finnigan who shows up on The Fiery Cart. While this popular street entertainer and solo finger-style guitarist can rip with the best, here he concentrates more on creating moody soundscapes—some of which are downright eerie. I’m thinking of tracks like “The Fairlane”, which kicks off with a cycling, almost Moroccan-sounding riff before adding a bevy of unpredictably timed slapped harmonics, or “A Sense of Pillow”, which is saved from lullaby softness by its undercurrent of psychic distress. True, the former carries echoes of the late Michael Hedges’s work and the latter sounds a bit like something Bill Frisell might have dreamed up, but those are pretty big names to conjure with in the world of solo guitar, and Finnigan wouldn’t embarrass himself in their company.
This is also an exceptionally good-sounding record; even through crappy computer speakers it sounds like Finnigan and his instrument are right there in the room. Nice work.