Alec Stone Sweet "Memory & Praise"
Finalist ....Association for Independent Music Instrumental Album of the Year"
1. Mrs. Poer, or, the Concerto (4:01) 2. Ducks on the
Pond / The Frosty Morning (5:00) 3. Squire Wood’s Lamentation on the
Loss of His Half Pence (2:56) 4. An Phis Fluich, or, The Choice Wife
(2:32) 5. Manx Lullaby / O’Carolan’s Welcome (3:36) 6. O’Carolan’s
Farewell to Music (4:30) 7. Bells (1:35) 8. The Lamentation of Owen Roe
O’Neill (3:23) 9. Mona Vu (2:42) 10. The Rights of Man (4:12) 11. The
Connemara Stocking (2:09) 12. Shady Grove / Salt River (3:30) 13. Mabel
“As beautiful a solo guitar recording as I have ever heard.”
- ERIC SCHOENBERG
“Extraordinary guitar playing, resembling no one else in touch, technique or feel.”
- JODY STECHER
Alec Stone Sweet Memory & Praise Solid Air Records 2005 CD
A new name for me in the guitar circuit, but certainly one to remember.
Memory & Praise is an album with 6 pieces written by the legendary 17th
century blind Irish harp player Turlough O' Carolan and rearranged by Alec
Stone Sweet. 2 Appalachian fiddle tunes are also included at this album
together with some Irish traditional songs. Alec Stone Sweet plays very
intimate with deep emotional aspects and with full dedication in a lovely
peaceful ambiance. Alec Stone Sweet plays in altered tunings to play the
beautiful Irish moods at its best. Most tunes are played in a soothing and
absorbing atmosphere as he paints his music. Ducks on The Pond/The
Frosty Morning is played in a claw-hammer banjo style. Also some Irish
dance tunes are played as the memorable An Phis Fluich, or, the Choice
Wife. Personally I find Alec Stone Sweet Stone at his best in songs like
in compositions like Manx Lullaby/ O'Carolan 's Welcome, The Rights of
Man, Shady Grove/Salt Water and the intriguing Mabel Kelly.
At the same time Alec Stone Sweet released his album Tumbling Gap
which all are played with the claw-hammer technique which is mostly used
on a banjo but now on steel-string guitar. All tracks are written again in
altered tuning . The guitar music is less intimate due to the fast banjo
technique used, but still are very pleasing in a cheerful atmosphere.
Exceptions are Itzikel and Chasing the Moon which express a passionate
feeling. Most other tunes invite to dance on the typical Irish reels.
Henk te Veldhuis
Bridge Guitar Reviews.
ALEC STONE-SWEET : MEMORY & PRAISE
If Alec Stone Sweet teaches law at Yale University as well as he brings to life the music of the British Isles,
then his students must count themselves honored indeed. For Stone Sweet's "Memory and Praise" brings an austere,
almost sparse quality to these thirteen songs, six attributed to the blind Irish harpist Turlough O'Carolan, the
inspiration of much recent Celtic guitar music. While "Memory and Praise" is new on Solid Air Records, Stone Sweet
originally released it back in 2001 on Appleseed Records, and it remained a relatively obscure treasure until last
year. The CD also includes music from Applachia, France, Israel, as well as the obligatory jig (the traditional
"An Phis Fluich" played with modal dexterity) and hornpipe ("The Rights of Man" played with a gentle tempo where
the tune lingers gracefully like a lament, thanks also to Richard Scholz on lap dulcimer). Included from the
O'Carolan repertoire are "Manx Lullaby/O'Carolan's Welcome", which shares some melodic themes with "O'Carolan's
Farewell to Music." At times you can hear Stone Sweet's use of clawhammer banjo techniques (like on "Shady
Grove/Salt River"). Stone Sweet's modal interpretation of songs like the traditional "Ducks on the Pond/The
Frosty Morning" gains power from his use of hammer-ons, creating a driving rhythm. All of the songs on this
recording show first-rate guitar playing; it's as enjoyable collection of traditional music on solo guitar as
I have heard.
Kirk Albrecht Minor7th.com
||Alec Stone Sweet