Vickie Genfan is the queen of pyro-percussive guitar. Incendiary, explosive, the notes come shooting off her hands like stars, like sparks, like a sky full of lightning. She is taking the guitar places it has never been.
And in the guitar age, with so many monsters walking the planet, that's something to say. But Vicki is so deeply lyrical and so primally rhythmic that's it's not a guitar that she's playing, it's music. She plays with an uncanny stringth, and commands the guitar not merely to sing, but to confess, to dance. To love.
Some Puremusic enthusiasts may recognize Vicki or her signature style from a video we ran of her in our wrap-up of last year's Folk Alliance. [It's the last clip on that page, or you can just click "dig this" among the links below.] I was hanging out with our mutual friend Erika Luckett, and Vicki pulled us into a stairwell to play us the piece that begins this record, the wild "Atomic Reshuffle." You can also see Vicki arranging the tune in the studio with producer Ian Melrose (who also plays acoustic and electric guitar, low whistle, and dobro), in the movie that's included in this enhanced disc, which is very enlightening. There are a handful of other great players, too, but Vicki G. is front and center.
And all this guitar magic is just disc One, Up Close.
Disc Two, Personal, is Vicki's singer songwriter side. Although she'll move seamlessly from on to the other in concert, I thought that separating them for this recording really worked. As she says in the notes, people will make their own mix on their iPods, anyway...
I forgive myself for forgetting what a great singer she is; it's no wonder. I feel my head moving in a more circular rhythm now instead of just side to side in delighted disbelief. Her womanhood fills the headphones, and her voice moves inside me as only something that comes from inside can. I feel the atoms reshuffling.
There's a lush, funky take on Marvin Gaye's transcendental anthem, "What's Going On." The late guitar genius Chris Jones' song "Ain't Got Love" grooves deeply. Sometimes it amazes me how much some great releases offer. Get this one. • Frank Goodman