April 4, 2011

Nick Jonah Davis - Of Time And Tides

Nick Jonah Davis 
“Of Time and Tides - Guitar Recordings Vol II”

Review by Andrew Stranglen

“Of Time and Tides” is a collection of 11 songs that would have seamlessly meshed into the Takoma catalogue. Nick is a fine player who strikes the balance between player and instrument, letting the guitar guide him as much as he is guiding it.

Fans of the Takoma & Kottke/Lang/Fahey (and others!) tradition, will not be disappointed in this latest coup de gras by Mr. Davis. Track 7, “Nocturne” is dominated by the piano, assumedly also played by Nick Jonah Davis (or perhaps pianist Ed Earl, see ‘Guitar Recordings Vol I') with just a slight hint of guitar accompaniment alongside. Track 10, “A Broken Circle” explores accompaniment of a single shimmering chord, reminiscent of John Fahey’s improvising against the hum of refrigerators and the like.

I know something is good, when I get lost in the reverie of listening to what I am supposed to be reviewing. I found nothing to dislike in this new album by Nick. He hails from somewhere in Nottingham, U.K. This probably means some British folk influences, Renbourn and others, are present, but not overwhelming. As I previously stated, this album could pass for a Takoma ‘blast from the past’. Being a guitar player myself, I also know something is good if it makes me reach for my guitar. This it did, but I restrained myself from playing alongside or stopping the playback to indulge myself, until it was over.

“Of Time and Tides”’s sequence is flawlessly chosen. Sometimes that can mean the difference between an okay album and an excellent album. But in this case it probably would not make a great difference if you shuffled things around a bit. Never boring, very captivating is my diagnosis, ***** Five Stars!

Good job Nick! -Andrew Stranglen

You can find Nick Jonah Davis on MySpace and buy the vinyl release on Tompkins Square.


  1. I saw him play last night at Cafe Oto. He can play guitar well for sure, but crikey I was bored out of my mind. In his live set there was little to no variation in the slightest, he seemed to play the same song over and over and again.

    Steffen Basho-Junghans eclipsed his set massively.

  2. No doubt you could have done better.

  3. Hiowdy! 'Tis one thing to be a player and another to be a performer in the public eye/ear...
    ...so few performers can be everything to everyone...what sounds great on record sometimes loses in the translation from the disc to the audience...sitting in the park and playing a song cannot compare to sitting in front of a crowd split between fans, critics, the uninitiated and those that don't really give a damn...it's hard for an "artist" to translate a work from the solemnity of ones room to being faced with a myriad of "critics" in situations such as clubs and concert settings...to me, as long as the artist is happy with what they are doing...that is the important thing...musicians don't need audiences in order to "grow" and become better musicians...but audiences need musicians in order to "grow" and become better audiences...the audience is but a minor part of a real musicians growth...there are musicians and there are entertainers...I'd rather listen to interesting, heartfelt musicians than view the same old retreads of reality TV and celebrity worship BS...

    Cheers! Blind Brand X.

  4. Here's a different take on this guy's live show:

  5. Hi kids, Give the guy some time. It takes years or decades to develop one's style to the point of an entrancing live show. Get near the box to hear the resonance. Tell the engineer to fix the sound. I'm just hearing this Tompkins LP right now for the first time, and Mr. Davis definitely has the chops to move forward and become a big favorite of ours. I dig his whole sensibility and brain direction, the best of the trancing raga-ist sensibility. Keep it going Mr Davis!!