| REVIEW by John Kruth
David Drew Longey - Blood From a Stone
Living in New York City I sometimes feel like I've lost touch with what author Greil Marcus called that "Old Weird America." I'm thousands of miles from Wall Drug. Haven't seen a Jackalope in well over a decade. Snipes can't handle TV sets and boom boxes. Want nothin' to do with NYU students wobbling down the sidewalks, high on beer. Gotham is the land of bright lights and advertising. Myths need moonlight, wild winds whipping through primeval forests. Solitude. That's when I think of my pal David Drew Longey up in Greenfield, Massachusetts. Longey is a banjo picker and builder of fantastic igloos. A Zen mediator who spontaneously composes hillbilly koans with the thrum and jangle of the much-maligned four-string drumguitar - the shortest of which - "Bendy," clocks in at thirty-six seconds while his opus "Running Down A Hill" barely makes it over the three minute mark What's intriguing about this disc is its butt-nekked honesty. David Drew Longey doesn't call himself a musician. He's best known as a visual artist and a crackerjack web designer. He's hardly gunnin' for banjo slingers like Bela Fleck or Danny Barnes. Hell, he makes Peter Stampfel sound downright schooled! But there's a stark and genuine beauty to this rough and ragged collection that recalls the front porch pickin' of Michael Hurley and the tone poems the late great John Fahey at times. My favorite number is the last tune, "Innertumbling" which features a Jew's harp soaked in a vat of reverb. Robin Williamson of the 60's folk duo the Incredible String Band claimed that "inspired amateurism" was their mantra for plunging ahead into unknown territory with instruments they barely the names or tunings of. This is not to say Dave doesn't know what he's doing or where he's going, although he takes a couple surprising twists and turns on this sonic backwoods tour of that Old Weird America that I'm glad to know is still out there.
- John Kruth