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Ari Eisinger

YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND (Second Mind) • Ari Eisinger

Whoa, this cat is smokin. Eisenger takes some of the most complicated of the blues and ragtime geniuses of the 20s and 30s and just tears it up so clean and so smooth, man. There are very few players around anywhere that do it quite like this.

He's a veritable expert on the work of one of my lifelong guitar idols, Blind Blake. Arthur Blake's piano-sounding guitar had a remarkable bounce to it and all these thumb rolls and other syncopations, that only the most obsessive country blues enthusiasts really got the letter and the spirit of his music under their belt. (Ry Cooder did, and brought it to a larger audience by recording "Police Dog Blues" and "Diddy Wah Diddy.")

Ari Eisinger lives in Philly, he's been playing this music all his life, and it sounds like it. He's one of a very short list of people selected by blues icon Stefan Grossman to record instructional videos on the work of the acoustic blues masters. If you are interested in learning this style of guitar, you can't beat this method. There are music/tablature booklets included, and Ari breaks the moves down really well. (These tapes weren't around when I was figuring this stuff out as a teenager, and we used Stefan Grossman's books and listened to scratchy records. We loved it, too.)

Eisenger is a real bluesologist, and includes the work of well known and more obscure artists alike. You'll find Reverend Gary Davis and Jelly Roll Morton, and Tampa Red. There are generous notes on the original versions of the songs, other favorite blues records, and where to find them. Apart from being a respected performer of this style of music, Ari is an educator and leads workshops nationally.

Check out the sound clips. Ari gets Country Blues totally, and he delivers. He is one bad mofo, I'm tellin ya. • FG

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