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acoustic musician review

updated: 06/18/09

Copyright @1996, Acoustic Musician magazine. Reprinted by permission.

Phil Volan
Favorite Colors
Coupstick Music PVCD9953

If you love the sound of pure, crystalline, solo acoustic guitar, you will be mesmerized from the first note of this CD. Phil Volan's first solo release, Favorite Colors, is an impeccably performed and lushly recorded work. The disc is divided between original compositions and fingerpicking standards.

Volan's pieces defy categorization as they seamlessly glide between genres. Many of the influences of the solo acoustic repertoire are present here, including blues, jazz, bluegrass, classical, Celtic, New Age, ragtime, and more. It is in the combination of these that a unique sound and style are achieved. The songs are played meticulously, but with a lighthearted good nature that prevents them from feeling rigid. The cover tunes are new arrangements of songs that acoustic guitarists are probably familiar with, but with new twists and turns that will elicit double takes. They are always approached with a freshness that sheds a new light on the material, making some well-worn old friends feel brand new. The deviations from the strictly acoustic format are a treat that flow well with the recording. Violinist Gordon Burt plays tastefully on Scarborough Fair, and his string arrangement on the title track is a thing of beauty. Volan's vocalizations on Out of the Blue make one wonder what other talents he is holding in reserve. (SE)