‘Verging On The Perpendicular’ by Dan Walsh - ability to draw so much from the banjo

(April 24, 2017)

Referring to Dan Walsh a banjo player is somewhat similar to calling Eric Clapton a guitarist ... mostly accurate but way wide of the mark. Of course, Walsh plays the banjo, however it’s Verging on the Perpendicularhis incredible mastery of the instrument and his ability to draw so much from the banjo that elevates his playing to another level.

His latest album is ‘Verging On The Perpendicular’ offers a blend of tradition, mixing polkas, jigs and reels with self-penned songs and tunes. The result is both diverse and inventive but always there’s that instantly identifiable Walsh style. The album has a richness of variety that doesn’t let up - original compositions like ‘Vaults’ and ‘Want What You Don’t Have’, the energy of ‘Funky Haystack’, which offers precisely what you would expect, while the bluegrass-driven ‘Leave This Land’ matches the observational narrative of ‘Going To The USA’.

Unlike its predecessor ‘Incidents and Accidents’, this album is primarily solo, and it’s that stripped-back feel that comes through. There’s some help from Tom Chapman with percussion and Mark Hutchinson with harmonies, otherwise it’s unadulterated Walsh. To my ears the standout track is ‘The Chase Suite’, possibly the most involving piece of banjo (or almost any other) music I’ve heard in a while – you’ll have to buy the album to find out why.


Review: Charlie Elland

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