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Monday, Dec. 5, 2011

Jason Loughlin

Peach Crate (Engine Company Records)

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It's hard to tell whether guitarist Jason Loughlin's Peach Crate could be characterized best as jazzy twang or twangy jazz; either way, the Brooklyn-ite's debut album wondrously fits the space that had been empty since jazz-country genius Danny Gatton took his own life in 1994.

Loughlin has long plied the sideman trade for other artists, including Amos Lee and Lesley Gore, but here he unleashes original compositions steeped in nothing but old-school, old-timey, laid-back instrumental rockabilly. Pushed on by upright bass, lots of brushes on the snare and dobro-spiced grooves, Loughlin's guitar work runs the wood grain of his Telecaster neck as well as a healthy gamut of six-string heroes: There's the gentle, running melodicism of Chet Atkins, the country-boy leanings of early Herb Ellis, the earthy, cerebral offerings of Bill Frisell, and even the muscular funk of John Scofield.

Most prominent throughout, though, is the ghost of Gatton, with tasty single-note runs, jazzy phrasing, bluesy punctuations and dexterity to burn, but with the taste to understate. It's a remarkable debut for a musician who would be equally at home at a honky-tonk on Route 84 or an intimate jazz club in Greenwich Village, and it's the closest that modern music fans might get to a fretboard meeting between New York City and Nashville.


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