Archive for February, 2008

James Blackshaw Re-Issues Due March 25th

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

Coming off a round of year-end praise for James Blackshaw’s 2007 release, The Cloud of Unknowing, the Tompkins Square label will release four catalog titles by the acclaimed UK guitarist/composer on March 25th, 2008.

The reissues will comprise out-of-print works previously only available as tiny private runs of CDRs and LPs. They include Celeste, Sunshrine, Lost Prayers And Motionless Dances, and White Goddess.

The Cloud of Unknowing was selected as a Top 50 Album of the Year by Pitchfork and Wire Magazine, a Top 10 Album of the Year by WNYC, and was hailed in the New York Times on December 31st by Jon Pareles, who said, “Blackshaw plays 12-string acoustic guitar, picking endlessly circling, intertwining arpeggios: stately, tolling ones on the lower strings and faster ones, verging on tremolo, up above. Yet what usually emerges from the welter of notes is not bustle but tranquility. The music has the same contemplative scope that turns countless tiny daubs into a Monet water lily.”

James toured extensively with Jose Gonzalez in 2007. He will return to the U.S. in the Spring in support of his next studio album.

Imaginational Anthem Volume Three : Third Installment Of Tompkins Square’s Acclaimed Acoustic Guitar Compilation Series

Friday, February 15th, 2008

On April 8th 2008, Tompkins Square will release Imaginational Anthem Vol. 3, the third in a series of compilations devoted to acoustic guitar mavericks past and present. The label will also release all three volumes together as a box set on the same date.

As with Volumes 1 & 2, the new album features extraordinary young talents such as Cian Nugent (Ireland), Ben Reynolds (UK), and Shawn David McMillen (Austin, TX) alongside unsung heroes from decades past, such as banjo master George Stavis, who recorded an album for Vanguard in the 60’s; Richard Crandell, whose rare private press works will hopefully now be brought to light; and Mark Fosson, whose lost 1977 Takoma album was recently issued.

Released in October 2005, Imaginational Anthem was featured on NPR’s All Things Considered, and received 4 stars from Uncut (“Entrancing”), All Music Guide (“Masterful”) and Mojo (“Groundbreaking”). Rolling Stone’s David Fricke wrote, “The history and beauty here speaks for themselves, at the perfect volume.” Jon Pareles wrote in The New York Times, “Old and new, the music meditates on blues, Appalachian music, raga and ragtime, and traditions are transfigured by a deep love for the sonority of the acoustic guitar.”

Released in June 2006, Imaginational Anthem Volume 2 opened with the gorgeous “River of Heaven” by Tompkins Square recording artist James Blackshaw, and featured unreleased recordings by legends such as Michael Chapman, Fred Gerlach, Billy Faier, Peter Lang, and Robbie Basho. The album was supported by a national Arthur Magazine-sponsored U.S. tour with Blackshaw, Sharron Kraus and Sean Smith. Pitchfork wrote, “(IA2) pairs some of the leading lights of the current avant-folk subculture with unearthed vintage folk rarities.”

Tompkins Square has been steadily mining the genre known as “American Primitive Guitar” with a string of acclaimed releases over the past two years, including reissues of seminal ’60’s albums by Robbie Basho and Harry Taussig; an album by three young guitarists from the Bay Area, Berkeley Guitar; The Cloud of Unknowing by 25-year old UK trailblazer James Blackshaw; Catfish, the debut album from Austin multi-instrumentalist Shawn David McMillen, and a tribute album for ’60’s-era Vanguard recording artist Peter Walker, entitled A Raga For Peter Walker.

Full Album Stream:

Track listing for Imaginational Anthem Vol. 3 :
1. Richard Crandell – Zocalo
2. Ben Reynolds – Here Toucheth Blues
3. Greg Davis – Sleep Architecture
4. Nathan Salsburg – Bold Ruler’s Joys
5. Steffen Basho-Junghans – Blue Mountain Raga II
6. Cian Nugent – When the Snow Melts And Floats Downstream
7. Matt Baldwin – Sean Cycle
8. Mark Fosson – Another Fine Day
9. George Stavis – Goblins
10. R. Keenan Lawler – High Tower Bells For Loren Connors
11. Shawn David McMillen – Texarkana 1971