Wild ‘Bout It
Johnson city Rag
Swamp Dog Blues
“Here we have a set of 13 solo acoustic guitar
instrumentals [Bottomlands] performed on both steel and wood bodied
instruments. There is a mixture of both cover numbers and originals,
which all sit comfortably together. 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 National style O. 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
~ ~ Blues in Britain.
Bismark Tribune - Entertainment
Dowling shares acoustic sunlight
by KEN ROGERS
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
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