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Bottomlands - Mike Dowling $15.00

   Dowling’s playing and composing runs the gamut from slide tunes evoking trips down the Mississippi to the energetic Johnson City Rag. Dowling lives in northwestern Wyoming where he operates the Wind River Guitar, a unique live-in guitar school. He has also starred in three best selling instructional videos marketed worldwide by Hal Leonard Publishing.
“One of the finest guitar players there is, anywhere”
~ ~ Vassar Clements 
In the artist's words...
When I was first approached about doing an instrumental guitar album for Solid Air Records the only direction he gave me was a “rootsy bluesy” feel like my composition “Swamp Dog Blues” from the CD of the same name. The producer loved “Swamp Dog Blues” and I thought, “Well, looks like I have one tune in the bag anyway.”
Since I’m one who tends to take artistic suggestions rather literally I considered the task at hand in the context of where the stylistic boundaries might be. After all, the “roots” moniker pushes the idiomatic door wide open, but what about “blues”? Does it narrow the doorway or simply serve to put a little creak in the hinges? While interesting to ponder, my doorway analogy served up no suggestions for album material.
So, as the water rat I’ve sometimes been, I began to think about a float trip down a muddy old river and how it might afford some interesting diversions to quiet side channels and backwater sloughs. I think of American roots music in much the same way, drawing its form and volume from accumulated tributaries; some fast and clear running, others roiled or slow seeping. But in the end, all channels are equally buoyant for the drifter.
I hope in some small way the tunes in this collection will transport you somewhere “rootsy” and “bluesy.”
~ ~ Mike Dowling

Wild ‘Bout It
Rocky Road
Johnson city Rag
Swamp Dog Blues
Jan’s Song
Bottleneck March
Amazing Grace
Hard Times

Mike Dowling BOTTOMLANDS SACD 2012  cD
from the magazine BLUESinBRITAIN

Here we have a set of thirteen solo acoustic guitar instrumentals performed
on both steel and wood bodied instruments.  The liner notes end with Dowling
quoting "I hope in some small way the tunes in this collection will
transport you somewhere "rootsy and Bluesy". Dowling has certainly done

The whole atmosphere of this set is relaxed and low key, with a fascinating
set of titles chosen with great integrity.  There is a mixture of both cover
numbers and original compositions, which all sit comfortably together.

During Dowlings long career he has performed a wide range of musical styles
including blues, vintage swing , jazz and ragtime, and all of those styles
and influences can be heard on this set.  the guitar picking throughout is
clear, crisp, beautifully crafted and with a very distinctive sound, played
on a group of instruments that most of us players would die for including a
1928 Ntaional style O.  There is a strong jazz atmosphere on "Nitpickin" ,
played on a superbly toned Martin M-36, where his admiration for the style
of Chet Atkins is quite clear.  The much recorded classic "Amazing Grace"
has a stamp that is very much Dowling's own, and the slide version of
Stephen Foster's "Hard TImes" bring this set to a perfect close.

This is a very strong set from a man of consummate talent who enjoys and
loves what he does. He is an absolute professional and a man who is willing
to share his craft with others and I for one can't wait to see him on tour
here very soon.

Rating 9
Bob Tilling
Bismark Tribune - Entertainment

Dowling shares acoustic sunlight

Proof of Mike Dowling's style and  grace on guitar can be found in his newest recording, "Bottomlands" a collection of his bluesy instrumental arrangements.  On this release Dowlings fingerpicking is clean, articulate and masterfully simple.  There are no bad tracks on this acoustic performance.

The CD opens full of sunlight and warmth with "Wild 'bout it" and finishes with Dowling's arrangement of Stephen Fosters "Hard Times".  Its a CD with roots in the muddy brown water of southern backwaters.  Dowling leans on the "Swamp Dog Blues" to set the tone of "Bottomlands".  From the opening notes, "Swamp Dog Blues" captures the listener , using a nice blend of drama and repetition.  In "Rosalie" Dowlings guitar actually walks and talks.

On "Bottomlands" Dowling employs four vintage guitars -- a 1928 National Tricone, 1936 National style O, 1979 Martin M-36 and 1933 National El trovador.

A listener can hear strains of blues, swing and ragtime in "Bottomlands".  While "Amazing Grace" might seem like an odd choice for this collection of songs, Dowlings arrangement of the beloved but overdone tune works just fine.  The CD holds together from start to finish.


Artist: Mike Dowling
Product Type: AMR CDs
Item #: SACD2012
Price: $15.00
Bottomlands - Mike Dowling
This product was added to our catalog on Thursday 29 September, 2005.

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