|away from the water
Alchemy Records (2003)
Kingsley Durant's CD, away from the water, apparently offers proof that guitar playing talent may be genetic! Kingsley's brother is Jon Durant (who also appears on this recording), one of the finest "ambient" guitarists currently making music. While Kingsley's music is not in the same vein as brother Jon's, it is nonetheless excellent.
On the CD, Durant (Kingsley, that is) plays a variety of guitars (acoustic, electric, lap steel) and performs everything from Michael Hedges-like fireworks (such as the album opener, "Domains") to quasi-delta bluesy swamp riffs ("Where angels fear to tread") to quirky folk-rockish instrumentals ("The boy who loved trucks"). All of those aforementioned songs are solo efforts, but some tracks also feature assorted accompanists. On "It happened one night," brother Jon contributes his patented "cloud guitar" (sounding like ambient synthesizers), Vinny Sabatino plays percussion, and Viktor Krauss adds
acoustic bass. The lap steel guitar and Sabatino's percussion paint a picture of palm trees wafting in the wind, although not in a hokey or Hallmark-card fashion; the song still offers plenty of evidence of Durant's chops (as well as Sabatino's, who has graced a few of Jon's releases, too).
One of the best songs on the album is the jazzy piece "Dragons don't dance," a finger-snapping, toe-tapping jam between Durant, Sabatino and Krauss. This sounds like they had a lot of fun recording
it. Durant seesaws back and forth from vibrant rhythm work on the acoustic guitar to fiery (and occasionally rapid-fire) electric leads. "Get it to go" once again showcases Durant's ability to play acoustic guitar in the powerful style of Hedges but the song also throws in some softer and more melodic sections too. Durant is a versatile guitarist; he displays no weakness on the recording despite its diversity of moods, styles, and tempos.
Worth mentioning as a caveat, though, is the presence of two vocal songs, "You can turn me on," and Eric Johnson's "When the sun meets the sky" (the only song on the album not composed by the artist). Of the two, I prefer the former, although both are pleasant enough. I never comment on lyrics, but I will mention that I like the line "I'm your night light" from "You can turn me on." It's an unusual lyric and, as a writer, I appreciate the cleverness of the metaphor. Durant's voice is certainly not glamorous or "slick"
which means it fits in well with the music; he's earnest when he sings and he reminds me a little of David Wilcox. Since there are only two vocal selections, you shouldn't be dissuaded from getting the album because of them. You can always program them out of the playback on your CD player (although, the music on each of them is pretty good; you may want to "stay tuned" to catch the guitar work on "You can turn me on").
The album closes with another strong track, "Emperor of the air," the only cut to feature any keyboards (in this case, piano played by Jon). It's an evocative number, fusing forceful acoustic guitar (again, in a Hedges vein), Sabatino's percussion, Jon Durant's cloud guitar, and Krauss' bass. Most of the song is high energy, but certain stretches quiet down, juxtaposing a dark driving sound with a lighter
and more desolate feel at times.
Kingsley Durant's CD is one of those multi-hued recordings that appeals to me, either because of its diversity or maybe in spite of it. This is not "mood music" although some tracks are very good at creating mood. However, this is an Alchemy Records release, after all, and as a label, they seldom release an album that follows a well-trodden path. Alchemy has always been about blazing trails, not following conventions. While the music on this CD is not avant garde or experimental, the wide assortment of tunes will not appeal to everyone, unless they have the same great taste in music that I do, of course! Seriously, guitar lovers should strongly consider this release as an addition to their collection. Jon Durant has every right to be proud of his brother. He's done real good for the family! Recommended. Bill Binkelman, Wind and Wire
An artist currently being produced by Jon Durant, his his older brother Kingsley Durant, recorded and released his 2004 CD Away From The Water on Alchemy Records. Compared to Jon Durant’s electronic soundscapes, Kingsley’s Away From The Water favors acoustic guitar instrumentals (with the occasional vocal and electric guitar) in the spirit of Michael Hedges, Pat Metheny and Eric Johnson, who Durant covers on “When The Sun Meets The Sky”. With assistance from Jon Durant, Vinny Sabatino and Viktor Krauss on acoustic bass Away From The Water is a most atmospheric acoustic guitar sojourn. Robert Silverstein, 20th Century Guitar, MWE3.com