Eli West – Tapered Point of Stone
Pacific Northwest musician/producer Eli West may not hit the top 100 mainstream charts with this material. But his musical sincerity certainly shines on these songs.
Recorded in 2020 just before everything shut down West manages to reshape from traditional musical clay to sculpt something refreshingly new & his own.
A late entry Eli West – Tapered Point of Stone (Tender & Mild/Released April 23, 2021) is a collaborative effort mindful at times of the fine work the late fiddle/violin/banjo player John Hartford produced throughout his career. Though not as traditionally engrained.
Some instrumental tunes may not resonate with city folk but there are little jewels among the stones. All the playing is superb. The title cut “Tapered Point of Stone,” is the most accessible. Well sung, good lyrics & the playing is attractive. Nothing here sounds vintage or antiquated. It’s a well-constructed song.
Despite the Pacific Northwest locale, the music is filled with the type of melodic undercurrent found in many Appalachian melodies. Delicacies for an audience of listeners. This music is good for early morning or late-night listening. Relaxing, satisfying & consistent.
I was tempted to compare Eli to the late John Denver in regard to John’s friendly approach to vocals, but Eli is not as country-oriented & vigorous as Denver. West, patient with his arrangements & presentation seems to not rush things along – everything is cohesive.
“The Hearth” is another jewel. Chimneys were headstones for houses that burned in a fire. Nice sentiment, poetic with solid aggressive banjo playing reminiscent of the playing of multi-instrumentalist & 5-string banjo player Paul Rodden.
Multi-instrumentalist West is joined by the fine fiddlers Christian Sedelmyer & Joseph Decosimo. Andrew Marlin (mandolin/guitar), Steph Coleman (singing/Shruti), Julie Fowlis (singing), Billy Cardine (dobro), Jens Linell (tambourine), & Clint Mullican (bass).
Decosimo’s bowing on 3-Juneau, Alaska folk festival (every April) favorites “Sweet Marie,” “Ora Lee,” & “West Fork Gals,” is excellent. Everything on this collection is uplifting, enthusiastic & just the right remedy for the times we are passing through.
Song Premiere: Eli West “Brick in the Road”
The 52-minute CD is available at Bandcamp & https://lnk.to/taperedpointofstone