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The Sounding Board by R J Lannan
RJ Lannan is the reviewer for The Sounding Board.
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Consistent Variation
By Rob Eberhard Young
Label: Young Brave Music
Released 3/15/2004
Consistent Variation tracks
1. Wandering Minds  
2. Silence
3. Checkered Past
4. Jeremy
5. Windsong
6. Natural Man
7. The Wish
8. Perfect Strangers  
9. Perfect Strangers Reprise
Finger Flicking Good
I am well acquainted with acoustic guitarist Rob Eberhard Young’s second album, Sticks & Stones. However, I have never heard his debut solo album, Consistent Variation until recently. I was already impressed with Young’s unique style of finger picking guitar and the odd tunings of his strings that produced a sharp, solid sound, especially on the harmonics.

Although originally an electric guitarist, Young changed his tune in 1993 after hearing a well-known street musician, Ned Landin, play his guitar with an alternative tuning and incredible energy. Young wanted to produce something like it or better and Consistent Variation was created. His compositions are not weak modifications on a theme, but high-energy works that make you sit up and pay attention and then fall back in awe.

The first cut Wandering Minds, explodes from the speakers like a train about to derail. Young’s fingers dance frantically across the fret board and your ears can barely keep pace. Your concentration is whipped one way then the other as you try to follow his amazing musical exertions.

Silence is a powerful piece that is anything but quiet. Imagine two people in a room. Angry, frustrated and non-communicative. Staring daggers at each other’s hearts with words unsaid, emotions not pledged, each waiting for the other to break. The tension is palpable. That is Young’s version of Silence.

One of the outstanding tunes on the CD is Jeremy. The precise and contemplative guitar work reminds me of an old rock tune by Jefferson Airplane called Triad. I do not know what the song is about, but the sharp harmonics and catchy phrasing leads me to believe that there is friend out there somewhere that needed help at one time or another.

On the song Perfect Strangers, Rob’s fingering is so masterful and complex that you will not believe that only one man is playing. He scrubs the low strings making his guitar sound like a slap bass. It is reminiscent of Michael Hedges at his best.

After listening to Consistent Variation, you might want to try his other album Sticks & Stones. The music is consistent with Young’s high standards and features a band of innovators of Adult Contemporary music including Will Ackerman, Michael Manring and the late guitarist-genius Michael Hedges. Young has a new website at, which explains his compositions, his techniques and his future plans for his music.

I liked the in your face quality of the re-mastered recording. The re-issue is technically well produced and the sound is clean and sharp with most of the sound coming from the center channel. It does not bounce around the room like most ordinary stereo track recordings. Young is in the room with you.

Editor Note: There is an excellent interview with Rob Eberhard Young in Jamie Bonk's Conversations: Artist-To-Artist series.
Rating: Very Good   Very Good
- reviewed by RJ Lannan on 4/19/2004
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