Judson Kimble | Beginnings
album review by John Powell
Many albums these days evoke inspiration, artists honing in their skills to produce music that moves fans, enters the network of popular music, and fits into a certain niche. On the other side of things, some musicians want to create “art” and end up with strange, loose uses for the word “music” that never really come off pretty.
Judson Kimble’s Beginnings is the meeting point. Solo acoustic, finger picking his way through 14 tracks, Judson needs no back up, no lyrics- nothing but a keen sense of guitar. In fact, he’s a master. The output on this album is one hundred percent beautiful music.
He utilizes finger picking, strumming, slapping, and dives head first into complicated arrangements, at times sounding like a bass and string section accompany him. Nope. It’s all him.
“Rain Drops” flows between fast and slow, high and low. Mesmerizing rhythms get the song to an almost funky point, before swirling back into gorgeous soothing. Does it awaken thoughts of rain? Maybe: the coming of a storm, the whipping wind, and then releasing into sun and the water drying up.
He gets slightly darker on “Brazil”, bolstering his Latino side, scorching through harmonics and bends. It’s a guitar player’s heavenly bliss, hearing Judson hold nothing back. Just when you think he’s reached capacity for invention, he pulls out a new rhythm, a new melody…whatever he can to keep you invested.
“Harvest Song” is a highlight, evoking magic, swirling, swimming glimmers of music, like watching a butterfly emerge from a cocoon. Similarly, “Summer Nights” has a frolicking feel to it and “Winter Into Spring” sounds exactly like its name.
Honestly, this music should come off corny. Songs called “Apples” and “Gentle” ought to be elevator music, but Judson Kimble’s exploration in solo finger picking is nothing short of gorgeous. Is it frilly? Absolutely! I wouldn’t have it any other way. The frills make this style lovelier. I highly recommend this underdog of an album. Seek out pretty music. It’s out there and it’s called Beginnings.
Bottom line: Solo acoustic fingerpicking evokes magic, nature, and seasons changing. Wonderful.