Artist: Jack Rose
Title: “Kensington Blues”
“Kensington Blues,” released in 2005, came at a time when Jack Rose was beginning to fully master his gift and emerge from the shadows of his inspirations, particularly that of John Fahey, to whom he was frequently compared.
Rose’s droning, acoustic, dexterous instrumentals pulse with passion and ability. “Cross the North Fork” is gorgeous, a slow lament that rises and falls in its seven-and-a-half minutes.
On “Flirtin’ with the Undertaker” and “Rappahanock River Rag (For William Moore),” Rose, who died of a heart attack in December 2009, shows why he chose the name Dr. Ragtime. Both are a fusion of modern acoustic guitar elements with a ragtime spirit, sounding zestful.
But he wasn’t strictly a luddite, either. “Now That I’m a Full-Grown Man II” carries an Indian flavor while “Cathedral et Chartres” found Rose tackling the 12-string guitar to sound like a band unto himself.
It’s quite possible that from a talent as incredible as Jack Rose, “Kensington Blues” earns its reputation as one of his best.
Our Music Year is Daily Republic popular culture writer Nick DeCicco’s yearlong online review in 2012 of albums he had previously not listened to. The reviews will appear in print on their corresponding days during 2013. Reach him at 427-6966 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ndeciccodr.