Loren Connors: Blues: The ‘Dark Paintings’ Of Mark Rothko (LP, Family Vineyard, April 2015)

Less “while my guitar gently weeps”, more “while my guitar gently bleeds out onto the canvas”. This rare 1990 recording (originally under his Guitar Roberts alias) has been remastered for this release by Taylor Deupree, which is a hint that we’re in for something a bit special. This is just recognizably blues, but of the most sparse and abstract kind. There are little fragments of absent-minded melodies which start hesitantly and seem to get lost halfway through. There’s slide-work so wobbly it kind of sounds like he’s too weak to hold the guitar. It would be easy to call this directionless, but I think that would be a mistake: it’s slow, it’s quiet, it sounds almost unbearably lonely and isolated, but there’s a subtly steely purpose to what he’s doing here. The reference to Rothko in the title (and on the cover of this LP, which is Untitled (Black on Grey) from 1970, the year of the painter’s death) is telling. Clocking in at just 28 minutes, this is a sad, fragile, and strangely powerful thing.

I bought this from Boomkat. They call it Folk / Roots.

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