Album of the Week - Eli Winter - Unbecoming
Eli Winter's Unbecoming opens with one of the best and most grand songs of the year - a 23-minute freewheeling John Fahey jam in which the young guitarist indulges musical whims as they arise, touching upon a variety of melodies and moods. Either I Would Become Ash (the name of that first track) contains the most exciting 12-string, open-tuned noodling since Matthew J. Rolin's Someday I Will Be Free, but while Rolin's masterpiece builds to a foot-stomping crescendo, Winter's epic moves slower and explores space in softer moments. They are both excellent early morning soundtracks, when you are waking up to greet a new day, facing the sun.
But Unbecoming has a Side B as well, featuring two very different sounds. The Chicago-based virtuoso jumps into Maroon, a William Tyler-style composition which bops along with percussion and pedal steel, and then finishes with a solo live piece like some Jeff Buckley coffee shop cut, complete with raw sound, ambient noise, and crowd banter. But enough with the guitarist comparisons. Winter, who was named "an artist to watch" by The Guardian and has earned critical praise from publications including the vaulted Aquarium Drunkard, personifies the next generation of creative six and twelve-string composers. Surely, this beautiful album will be an early entry in what will become a rich, robust, and singular discography.