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Friday, September 11

Jon Stickely Trio Review - Lost at Last

Jon Stickely Trio Review - Lost at Last

Glow sticks 5 out of 5 

Probably the best thing about reviewing music is finding artists I’ve never heard of and falling in love. When I listen to something I’ve never listened to before, I like to go through a few times before I even look at track names, check to see who plays what, or what song was written by whom. When I first put on Jon Stickley Trio’s sophomore album, Lost at Last, I listened for a few minutes and thought, ‘that’s bold--opening with an instrumental.’ I dig it. I soon learned it was an album of sell-your-soul-to-the-devil quality picking instrumentals.

The gentle picking and building melody of “Point to Point” is beautiful. At around 34 seconds something starts to shift and song becomes driving and powerful. By the time I’ve gotten midway through an impressive version of “The High Road,” I decided I had to see this band play. Off to YouTube, I went. 

What I found was a song from the album called “Darth Radar.” In the video, Jon described it as “combination of several different styles of music we listen to… including dubstep, and brostep, and Skrillex.” Just a little bit of this song convinced me I was a JS3 fan. Watching it felt good, and a little bit dirty at the same time--am I supposed to see people when they’re having this much fun? Jon is precise, Lindsay Pruett is determined and fluid, and Patrick Armitage has a drum beat for every groove.

“Rice Dream” is an homage to Tony Rice that is both elegant and aggressive in picking and playing style. Next is a beautifully executed version of The Bad Plus’ “Never Stop,” but with Jon’s guitar taking the lead, not a piano. I had no idea those notes were written for a piano. Jon played them like they were his own. The same flat picking precision is present in “Octopickin,” a song full of notes that are Jon’s.

Sandwiched between impressive renditions of Bela Fleck and Mark O’Connor’s “Slopes” and Wasso Gr├╝nholz’s “Valse de Wasso” is “Goa.” Close your eyes and relax when you listen to this one. It’s a journey. 

“Pamlico Sound” and “Flight of the Durban” round out the album’s 11 tracks. After each time through Jon Stickley Trio’s Lost at Last I’m exhausted from all of the notes. That’s OK, the exhaustion only lasts until the first track comes on again.

Lost at Last is set to release on October 6, 2015. If I didn’t have it already, I’d be champing at the bit to get it. 5 outta 5 glow sticks.

Words Dan Fugate