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Yair Yona

Remember

(Strange Attractors Audio House; US: 1 Jan 2009; UK: 1 Jan 2009)

Acoustic guitarist from Tel Aviv makes a statement

Yair Yona is an Israeli guitar player whose album Remember is a collection of instrumental guitar tunes that showcase his impressive skills. “Remember” kicks off the album with a gently swaying slide guitar riff, while “Are You Smarter than a 35 Year Old TV Host?” sounds like an undiscovered gem from the Bert Jansch songbook, notwithstanding its jokey title. “Russian Dance” channels a faintly Slavic vibe—no surprise there—in a pure acoustic-guitar tune. The lively “Struggled So Hard” features a dancing melody over a thrumming down-tuned bass D string. Many of the tunes feature unorthodox tunings, which Yona helpfully lists in the liner notes. The centerpiece of the record, “Floodgates Open to Allow a Ship to Come Through (As It Carries the Passenger Fahey On It)” is a stately number that brings some echoey piano and electric guitars into the mix, though they are much muted and firmly in the background.


Anyone looking for traditional pop songcraft—you know with singers, drummers, that sort of thing—would best look elsewhere. Only “Floodgate” and album closer “Skinny Fists” offer anything resembling an ensemble sound, and those songs stand out mainly in contrast to the studied austerity of the rest of the record. Make no mistake, Yair Yona is a solid talent—one listen to “Brave Walls” makes that clear—but his form of solo musicianship is a niche taste.

Rating:

DAVID MAINE is a novelist and essayist. His books include The Preservationist (2004), Fallen (2005), The Book of Samson (2006), Monster, 1959 (2008) and An Age of Madness (2012). He has contributed to The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Esquire.com and NPR.com, among other outlets. He is a lifelong music obsessive whose interests range from rock to folk to hip-hop to international to blues. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works in human services. Catch up with his blog, The Party Never Stops, at davidmaine.blogspot.com, or become his buddy on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or whatever you prefer) to keep up with reviews and other developments.


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Yair Yona - "Remember"
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29 Apr 2012
An accomplished set of instrumental tunes from a six-string whiz.
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