Picks and Pans Review: Stay Tuned
You don't have to be hung up on strings to enjoy this guitar album. All you have to do is enjoy good music. Atkins, the Nashville patriarch, gathered most of the best young guitarists in pop music and went head-to-head (or pick-to-pick) with them for this LP, with uniformly delightful results. There are two duets with George Benson, who, especially on the precise, moody Sunrise, plays with a lyrical warmth that is a reminder of what a captivating musician he can be. Atkins brings out the bluesy side of fusionist Larry Carlton, the playfulness of Earl Klugh and the reflectiveness of Toto's Steve Lukather. He also engages in some gorgeous exchanges with Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits on two tracks. Cosmic Square Dance, on which Atkins and Knopfler sizzle along with violinist Mark O'Conner, turns the unlikely blend of hoe-down and techno-pop into a happily dazzling surprise. Dean Parks and Atkins' protégé, Brent Mason, also show up on guitar, and saxophonist Boots Randolph makes an appearance. Atkins closes the album with a solo version of the old Leo Robin-Ralph Rainger tune If I Should Lose You. It is understated, soft, lovely and too short; it leaves you, as Atkins always does, wanting more. (Columbia)
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