Black Music Matters Festival

Greg Garing

Alone – 1997 (Revolution)

Reviewed by Brian Steinberg

CDs by Greg Garing

Finally, Daniel Lanois has some competition. Best known for rejeuvating the careers of Emmylou Harris and Bob Dylan with his penchant for moody, ethereal stylings, producer Lanois has in recent years appeared to be the only one capable of bringing the "high lonesome" tradition of Hank Williams and Jimmie Rodgers into the present day.

Meet Greg Garing. This old Nasvhille hand blends digital sampling and techno-beats with deft banjo- and guitar-picking to come up with some haunting gems. Songs like "My Love Is Real" and "All My Stars Are In Your Eyes" mesh his Jim-Lauderdale-meets-Jimmie Dale Gilmore pipes with a crisp sound and "Eleanor Rigby"-era Beatles atmospherics. The formula doesn't always work. On songs like "Fallen Angel" and "Don't Cry Baby," the digital overwhelms the down-home, and the results are somewhat flat. The new-tech approach remains interesting, but some of the life is drained out of the songs.

But when it works, it works. Garing's pinched, haunting warble lingers in the mind. Country fans may scoff at this novel approach, but this guy is not one to be easily dismissed. Garing's carrying some real nuggets in this sack.