An appreciation of Gary's all-acoustic 1996 "Evangeline" album
|HollandTunnelDive blogspot, 11/20|
"GOOD ALL YEAR 'ROUND...AN ALL ACOUSTIC HOLIDAY."
|ROLLING STONE, 12/97|
(CHOSEN AS ONE OF THE TOP ALBUMS OF 1997)
"JAW-DROPPING FRETWORK, this time all acoustic...the range of material is nearly as amazing as the man's instrumental facility. A PURE PLEASURE."
|BILLBOARD (lead 'Pop' review with a star), 7/97|
"LUCAS DISPLAYS AN ARTISTRY AND MASTERY OF ACOUSTIC SONGWRITING TO THE UTMOST DEGREE...he transforms the attentive listeners into attentive students with his abstract compositions and bluesy freefall. If ever there was a blues improv authority, Lucas is it. His dark and penetrating slide combined with the intense melodic fretting stands the hair on the back of your neck on end."
|WHAT IT IS! JOURNAL (Philadelphia), 4/98|
"ONE OF THE MOST EXHILARATING ACOUSTIC ALBUMS I HAVE HEARD IN MANY YEARS...Lucas is a master picker with a sense for the offbeat. Anyone who can put Wagner, Blind Blake and Sun Ra songs on the same album and make it work has to be a musical genius. Lucas' own intricate instrumentals and songs are also quite breathtaking. The slide instrumental 'Ah Feel Like Ah Syd' is worth the price of the disc alone!"
"THIS COULD WELL BE THE EPITOME OF OVERLOOKED ALBUMS...it's not just 'interesting' but actually interesting."
"FRANKLY, IT'S A KILLER...Lucas is an ultrawhizz...all tossed off with an infectious grin and a can-do there's-more-where-that-came-from air. Aw, heck, it's all good. Get this now."
"THIS IS JUST ONE OF THOSE INCREDIBLE RECORDS THAT DEFIES DESCRIPTION...the results are stunning. There's really nothing to say except this is fabulous. IF YOU LIKE GREAT PLAYERS who are quirky enough to put a killer version of the 'Wedding March' on their CD, YOU'LL LOVE THIS."
"SOPHISTICATED (WITHOUT BEING SLICK), resembling a younger John Fahey. Lucas also compares favorably with Ry Cooder, not only with his prodigious guitar technique and his fondness for bottleneck and other traditional blues styles, but also as soundtrack composer for TV documentaries which parallels Cooder's own film soundtrack work...LUCAS DISPENSES PLENTY OF TREATS."
"HIS PLAYING IS STUNNING THROUGHOUT...he's taken himself and his guitar into a wholly individual territory. On 'EVANGELINE,' he's strictly solo and at his best. Eclectic it most definitely is but Lucas stamps his personality firmly on the material. And it's all acoustic, with just an occasional sonic enhancement, as on the spectacular slide guitar piece 'AH FEEL LIKE AH SYD.'"
"LUCAS IS A CONSIDERABLE BACK PORCH ACOUSTIC FINGER PICKER...his edgy originals are driven by the rhythm of emotions rather than metronome perfectionism, and his short of breath vocals have an appealing down and out vibe. Gary's resophonic and wood body playing ranges from the sublime to the unabashedly lunatic."
"LUCAS' SOPHISTICATED TUNES REVEAL AN IMPRESSIVE SYNERGY BETWEEN HEAD AND HEART...they're infused with a good dose of rhythm that renders them toe-tappable, yet they're intricate enough to prevent listeners from forgetting they're listening to a real virtuoso at work."
"SOOTHING AS IT IS SUMPTUOUS Lucas carries on his love affair with life and music on his new acoustic CD 'EVANGELINE.'"
"HANG ON AND ENJOY THE DIZZYING RIDE...a hell-bent-for-steel-strings frenzy. IT'S A MUST-HEAR IF YOU THINK YOU KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT GUITAR PLAYING."
"GUITAR MAGIC...A STRING MAGICIAN OF ALL STYLES. An exciting whirl between country and blues. Nothing is so holy it can't be run through his guitar treatment. He mesmerizes with visions."
Music: 8-9, Recording: 8
|STEREOPLAY (Germany), 4/97|
"A LEGEND...GARY LUCAS reduces such 'guitar virtuosos' as Al DiMeola and Paco De Lucia to hollow twangy men. Lucas does also play terrifically fast and is a master of every playing technique, but he is certainly not a soulless technician. The absolute highlight is 'INTERSTELLAR LOW WAYS,' Lucas' tribute to the great Sun Ra live, electric, and dizzyingly played."
|ROLLING STONE (Germany), 4/97|
"WHAT MAY BE THE MOST FAR-SIGHTED, ADVENTUROUS AND WELL-PLAYED COMPENDIUM OF SOLO ACOUSTIC GUITAR PIECES EVER COMMITTED TO THE DOMAIN OF THE DIGITAL CIRCLE with 'EVANGELINE,' the idiot bastard son of Stravinsky, Jimi, Wagner, Syd, Doc Watson and Reverend Gary Davis has done it again."
"FOUR STARS HIS SONGS ARE CATCHY, HIS PLAYING KNOTTY, AND HOW HE SETS THE PACE ADDICTIVE...the devil's jazz, bluegrass, folk, rock and avant garde all play a hellish good poker. Gary Lucas surprises with a smooth, beguiling voice. Lucas has always been a lone culprit, who achieves his greatest out of the hidden."
|JAZZTHETIK (Germany), 3/97|
"SOME OF THE MOST CHALLENGING SOLO GUITAR WORK THIS SIDE OF EARLY JOHN FAHEY...on 'EVANGELINE,' Lucas lets loose. He's got some of the fastest fingers on the planet. Attention all brides-to-be looking for a decent version of 'Here Comes the Bride': This record has an amazing version of the song sure to alienate half the family and impress the other half."
|RIVERFRONT TIMES (ST. LOUIS, MISS.), 8/97|
"YESSIREE, 'EVANGELINE' IS THE CATCH OF THE DAY."
|THE INDEPENDENT (N. CAROLINA), 10/97|
"'EVANGELINE' OVERFLOWS WITH 15 FANTASTIC TRACKS...Lucas sure isn't your run-of-the-mill guitar god."
"A GOD-GIVEN MASTERPIECE OF THIS CENTURY...'Evangeline' is one of those albums which great musicians succeed with only once in their lifetime...timeless music with extravagant lyrics, Gary creates infinite spheres leaving space for mystical worlds...an imaginary movie in wide screen and technicolor deluxe...like a Leo Kotke on hallucinogens. A technical genius, a demon, a wizard on the strings, fast and sensitive, just as the situation requires, he is a master of all styles. This man tells stories without words and with touching vividness. For every guitarist, Gary Lucas is an inexhaustible fountain of inspiration."
|NOTES MAGAZINE (Germany), 11/96|
"SIMPLY INDISPENSABLE: something that should join your Robert Johnson box, Charlie Christian sides and Jimi's 'Experienced' on that short list of guitarists' desert island favorites...one of the quintessential showcases of how exceptional guitar work and great songsmithery can co-exist (the other is Jimi's 'Are You Experienced?')."
"ECLECTIC, WARM AND MIND-BOGGLING...his new solo acoustic album 'Evangeline' proves that he's an even more miraculous guitarist."
|NEW YORK DAILY NEWS, 12/96|
"IT WILL BE HARD TO TOP 'EVANGELINE'S MIX OF MATERIAL...nobody else has ever used a 1920s National Steel Duolian or a 1945 Gibson J-45 quite like this. That one man can make the overture to 'Tannhauser' sound as full and majestic as it does here is sufficient demonstration of his talent."
"4 STARS...STYLISTIC LIMITS ARE UNKNOWN TO LUCAS, AND PREVIOUSLY VALID LIMITS OF PLAYING TECHNIQUES HE SEEMS TO CROSS EASILY. With 'EVANGELINE,' the man lets rip so virtuosically that he defines the acoustic guitar's modes of expression in a new way. But Lucas is also able to produce simply wonderful elegiac melodies."
| MUSIKEXPRESS/SOUNDS (Germany), 1/97|
"4 STARS...IT'S WHEN HE'S ALONE WITH HIS NATIONAL STEEL OR 1946 GIBSON J-45 ACOUSTIC THAT THE BREADTH OF HIS ARTISTRY IS TRULY REVEALED...his whole approach is geared to stirring souls rather than with the technical refinement with which it's accomplished. He also has a sense of humour. A class act."
| NOW MAGAZINE (Toronto), 1/97|
Chosen as one of the Best Albums of 1997 by TONE CLUSTERS
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