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A Time of Innocence
By Keith Driskill
Label: Self-Released
Released 9/19/2009
A Time of Innocence tracks
1. Miracle of Forgiveness
2. Lover's Farewell
3. Muir Woods
4. A Time of Innocence
5. Moonlight Lullaby
6. Melancholy Moment
7. My Angel Friend
8. Fireflies
9. Twilight
A Time of Innocence
While solo guitar CDs will never achieve the popularity (or sheer presence) of solo piano albums, I find them equally deserving of coverage and praise. Keith Driskill's A Time of Innocence is a case in point. Released to little or no fanfare on CDBaby in 2009, the artist has recently "re-launched" it with new promotion and I, for one, am glad he did. A Time of Innocence is a warm, instantly engaging collection of nine fingerstyle acoustic guitar instrumentals, played in a soft manner by an artist who realizes that it is the quality of the notes, and not always the number played, that makes for great music.

In some ways, this album reminds me of one of my all-time favorites in this genre, Steve Eckels' "Hymn for the Wolf". What these two share in common is a certain "softness" in how the guitar is played so that even when a piece is at a faster tempo, the mood remains soothing, especially if the listener keeps the volume down. Also, both Eckels and Driskill show mastery of a variety of moods but anchor each song in their distinctive style of playing which maintains artistic continuity.

Miracle of Forgiveness opens the album and comparisons to Will Ackerman may come to your mind, or perhaps the lesser known Clarelynn Rose. Lover's Farewell introduces pronounced elements of melancholy, interwoven amidst a haunting yet beautiful refrain. Muir Woods with its gentle loping cadence captures the pleasant beauty of a walk among the tall trees. The title cut unwinds patiently, one note a time, Driskill picking his way through the song with ease and grace. Other tracks include the aptly titled Melancholy Moment (one of the sparser songs on the CD), the spirited and sparkly Fireflies, and the peaceful closer Twilight.

I imagine the biggest knock on this CD might be its brevity (eight tracks totaling just under 30 minutes of music). I've always believed in cherishing quality over quantity and, in fact, the trend of many artists to load up CDs to their maximum potential (in minutes of recording time) is a trend I'd like to see disappear. Turning back to "A Time of Innocence", the decision on whether or not to purchase it should be based on whether or not you consider yourself a fan of fingerstyle guitar music (on the low-key side of things). I enjoyed the album from the first time I played it and through many subsequent listenings. As mentioned earlier in the review, there is a quietness, of both volume and "mood," at work here, and I would think the CD would be excellent late night de-stressing music or accompaniment to "mind work" when ambient is "not enough" and some acoustic instrumental music recordings are too busy or varied in tone and tempo which would prove distracting. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this is not the last we will hear from Keith Driskill.
Rating: Very Good   Very Good
- reviewed by Bill Binkelman on 7/29/2011
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