|From The Edge|
|Produced by Rich Marcil|
|Released on April 14, 2003|
|no chart information|
|Find it at www.richmarcil.com|
R ich’s niche would seem to be instrumental guitar music along the lines of Anthony Phillips, but with an Eastern/Celtic/Appalachian twist. Those are some pretty disparate geographies, you’re thinking, and perhaps it’s fitting that Marcil lists Big Country’s Stuart Adamson and Tony Butler as influences. Glance at his other guitar-slinging heroes (George Harrison, The Edge, Peter Buck), and a signpost of “jangly guitars ahead” pops up. (I don’t know how Will Sergeant missed the list, since the cover’s a ringer for an Echo album.) Rich Marcil is not a household name, instead an artist with a fine day job thank-you-very-much (psychologist), but perhaps someone who (like many) relented to the soundtrack that had been playing in their head since childhood. (Musicians in general are hooked into the Great Radio, and they either learn to give vent to the messages or, in dire cases, suffer silence.) From The Edge is his first solo effort, fraught with the mistakes you might expect from a maiden voyage. Here, Marcil is shipwright, navigator, captain and galley cook, showing more skill for some tasks than others. For example, the disc is recorded at too high a level, so the first order of business (lest you want to be shocked out of your sofa as I was) is to turn your CD player down a few notches. After that, it’s a simple matter to let Marcil’s high-strung loops of melody weave their modest magic. His musical worldview at the moment is somewhat limited; the same sounds and spirit often reappear from song to song. But there are instances when the music illuminates the gifts of an otherwise median muse into wonderful miniatures, “Magna Carta” and “Passage” in particular. The remaining tracks have at a minimum a pleasant and invigorating melody at their core (contrary to the new age tag, this disc isn’t relaxing so much as stimulating), yet they fold in on themselves too quickly, settling on becoming a small pattern repeated (the musical equivalent of plaid, I suppose). Rich would do well to paint with a wider palette of sounds, perhaps losing the bass (it tethers these otherwise potentially exotic animals) and introducing a flute or muted keyboards into the mix. Yet his life-affirming energy is contagious, and several tracks (“From The Edge,” “Castles”) are only a vocalist away from becoming good rock songs. With some seasoning behind the boards and more natural pacing (some of the tracks feel unnecessarily rushed), Rich Marcil may one day move from the edge of new age to the center of a new Celtic/Eastern/American movement. And it’s the enrichment from peripheral artists (who are free to re-shape their influences in a relative vacuum) that keeps the industry from growing stagnant.
RICH MARCIL -- 12-string acoustic guitar, mandolin, E-Bow, electric guitar, bass guitar
|REGION||RELEASE DATE||LABEL||MEDIA||ID NUMBER||FEATURES|
|US||April 14, 2003||Rich Marcil||CD||RRM-CD01|
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