Glenn Jones, My Garden State

Richard Gehr

By Richard Gehr

on 05.14.13 in Reviews

My Garden State

Glenn Jones
An elegiac jewel

New-school American Primitive guitarist Glenn Jones’s fifth solo album is an elegiac jewel. You may even discern the arc of a son’s bittersweet ruminations on his ailing mother and New Jersey motherland from the music alone, before taking in song titles or back-story, which sketch the contours of a sweetly autobiographical journey. Jones is a butter-smooth fingerpicker known for diverse open tunings and other harmonic alternatives; wind chimes and upbeat tracks bookend the album, which takes a stormy turn in the middle with “Alcoeur Gardens” (the name is for the Alzheimer’s care facility where Jones’s mother resides), a spontaneous composition augmented by ambient rain and thunder. Jones serenades another invalid in “Blues for Tom Carter,” celebrating the titular then-ailing guitarist with a partially capoed blues in the key of Mars. Charles Ives’s rollicking spirit levitates “Like a Sick Eagle Looking at the Sky,” which is about as fine an example of the new American Primitive spirit as you’ll find.