John Charlton - Walking the Red Road

Foxy Digitalis

Chicago area guitarist/sound artist John Charlton 's debut "Walking the Red Road," is deep study into the very nature of the guitar; incorporating its past, present and potential future within a span of 40 minutes. The tracks range in style from delta blues numbers such as "Stephen Taukus Pharaoh," and the opener "Flood" to more experimentally bent approaches to the instrument, as is the case with the track "Chelvdra" where he trends a similar path to Area C's Eric Carlson or when the guitar is employed as a percussive instrument as on "Zhiishii." The biggest shock is the albums closer, "The Montauk Project," where your ears are suddenly engulfed in a dense swath of layered feedback and beautiful overtones invoking Michael Morley at his most ferocious.

As Charlton veers through guitar styles on "Walking the Red Road," he maintains an almost baffling amount of clarity, allowing his voice on the instrument to really ring through, no matter what style he is playing off of. Each track is imbued with an expansive amount of space and layering that resembles nothing more than walking down some desolate dusty road. Though he may at times tread similar territory to some of the Takoma revivalists, Charlton manages to create a very distinct and refreshing approach that sets him far beyond the same old finger-picking that this writer has heard way too much of lately. Hopefully we'll hear from him again very soon. 9/10 -- Cory Card (22 August, 2007)

  • John Charlton

    Walking the Red Road


    Carbon Records CR147

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