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The Sounding Board by R J Lannan
RJ Lannan is the reviewer for The Sounding Board.
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By Bob Kilgore w/ Bear and Sarah Morris
Label: Weaseltrap Records
Released 8/25/2011
Metamorphoses tracks
1. Prelude
2. Metamorphosis 1  
3. Metamorphosis 2  
4. Metamorphosis 3
5. Eleventh Hour
6. Road to Damascus  
7. Haven't Changed a Bit
8. June Bug
9. Grasshopper
10. Blue Fin
11. Dogwood  
12. Catspaw  
13. Mirror Mirror
14. Mr. Dithers  
My How Things Do Change
robably one of the most exciting albums to come into fruition for 2011 is Bob Kilgore's Metamorphoses. First of all, all fourteen tracks are noteworthy. I had a hard time picking a favorite. They all became favorites. Second, this music contains some of the best compositions I've ever heard; dramatic, intricate and meticulously performed. Also it is nice to hear someone with strong production values. This album of contemporary guitar music has so much going for it already, but the addition of Bob's brother Bear on keyboards and cellist/violinist Sarah Morris made the music more heartfelt and memorable. It is funny how the little things matter.

The opening track Prelude does not set the tone for the rest of the album as it is sometimes customary. Instead this energetic, pouncing melody stirs the blood and the senses. Here is something new, here is something different it expounds. The tempo is driving, the melody shoots off sparks and then it’s off to the next tune and that next track completely changes.

The next three tracks form a suite called Metamorphosis 1, 2, & 3. "M1" is slow, flowing and contemplative. It literally gives us something to think about. "M2" is light hearted aided by the subtle string accompaniment giving it a feeling of aerial movement, not quite drifting; more like being guided by unseen updrafts of melody and sunny warmth. Go with the flow. "M3" led with the piano and offered a sense of yearning. The horn had a distant reverberation to it as if beckoning me along to the next change.

Road to Damascus started out with a dark ambiance to it, but it seemed appropriate. The song is about the discovery of faith and how much personal power faith can bring. It is about a transformation from unknowing to knowing. For some, it is a revelation.

Bob features his incredible fingerstyle picking with a ditty called Catspaw. It is chock full of harmonics and fret tapping a la Michael Hedges, one of Bob's heroes (ours too!). The tune of course is playful, yet it is stealthy in its energies and direction. Sort of cat-like.

Mirror, Mirror had a Middle Eastern feel to it. Mysterious and brooding, but the kind of tune that makes me curious. I tend to forget that my mirror image is not only me that I am seeing, but everything behind me as well. Not just today, but yesterday and beyond. Symbolically, it is my whole life I am seeing.

Finally the icing on the cake is a wonderful track called Mr. Dithers. I don't know who Mr. Dithers is, but his life must be just one big ball of excitement and joie de vivre. The song seemed more like a celebration as well as a completion. Remember, we are talking about a metamorphoses here.

If there is one thing I learned during my suit & tie years is that there is some good in all changes. As I get older I tend to see more changes and if I look close enough, I can still the good. Bob Kilgore's music reminds us the metamorphoses that we experience every day have the chance to provide the good if only we look close enough or listen with an open heart. This album is going on my Top Ten for 2011 and well deservedly so.
Rating: Excellent   Excellent
- reviewed by RJ Lannan on 9/25/2011
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