Apart from his newest effort, The Feudal Spirit, Boston fingerstyle guitarist Rob Noyes has only one other release to his name: Demo 2014. Nevertheless, The Feudal Spirit is a fully realized and cohesive piece of work, housed in an immaculate handmade black-and-white LP sleeve that seems destined to become a collector’s item.
Any time an artist follows in the footsteps of the late John Fahey, he or she is inevitably tagged an “American primitive”, a label that has sometimes confused me. There’s nothing primitive about the amount of notes and harmonies that a musician such as Noyes conjures on a 12-string scramble like “Blather”, or on meditations such as the title track. Actually, The Feudal Spirit wraps up in under 35 minutes, making it go by all too quickly if you’re caught up in something else.
I certainly don’t want to give the impression that Rob Noyes has reached his peak so very early, lest such a claim ends up discouraging anyone from checking out his later releases. But if he has more pieces of warmth combined with driving drama à la “Soft as Lights” waiting in his back pocket, then he’s on his way to joining the current fingerstyle Americana elite. After all, Glenn Jones gave Noyes props for a reason.
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