"Weird Al" Yankovic guitarist Jim Kimo West releases immaculate collection of slack-key guitar instrumentals
(Published: November 23, 2011)
The latest album from guitarist Jim Kimo West, Na Lani O Maui-Maui Skies, is a love letter. However, West's pen is his guitar, and they speak a language that only the imagination is able to interpret. An immaculate collection of slack-key guitar instrumentals, Na Lani O Maui-Maui Skies works not only as a homage to its country of origin but as a breathtaking introduction to the genre.
The fingerstyle technique of slack-key guitar has its roots in Hawaii, shortly after Mexican cowboys offered guitars to the natives and taught them how to the play the instrument. Once they departed, the Hawaiians began to fashion their own way with it. West captures both the history of the genre as well as his own mesmerizing take on it, effortlessly blending covers of timeless classics with his spellbindingly beautiful originals.
On the opening cut, "Two Paniolos," West weaves a web of crystalline prettiness; his sparkling, calming acoustic guitars create feelings of tranquility as well as transcendent bliss. West paints images of tropical paradise so vividly that one can almost feel the hot sand and the blistering kiss of the summer sun. "Holoholo Hana Bay" unveils layers of crisply played guitars; they build up into a sweltering jam. The dreamy atmospherics of "Hi'ilawe" is awash with intoxicating romanticism.
Best known for his work with "Weird Al" Yankovic, West is a highly impressive talent on his own. His mastery of slack-key guitar, as prominently displayed on this record, is not just fueled by technical precision but also depth of emotion. For example, "Maui Skies" is poetry set to music; it is bursting alive with the constant evolution and vibrant colors of nature, its soothing textures caressing the heart and lighting fire to the soul.
More Information: http://www.jimkimowest.com