12 Songs, 51 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

As the pedal steel guitarist for San Francisco’s American Music Club, Bruce Kaphan was the band’s main musical architect. He took the pedal steel and found a place for it outside its usual country music borders. His intuitive grasp of musical space gave the band an edge they never regained after his departure. His solo albums have an instrumental excitement to them, uncommon considering the calm and austere tones for which Kaphan is best fitted. Hybrid, his second solo album, is once again a tour of a world that’s part Twin Peaks, part southwestern desert reverie, part auditory hallucination. Tracks such as “Dust Bowl Revisited,” “Loops For Larry” and “Legacy” don’t attempt to refine genres, so much as ignore the very idea that genres exist. “Renewal” suggests a sophisticated nod towards country music. “There But 4” adds enough drums to make for country rock. This is one phenomenal album. If you were ever an American Music Club fan, you will instantly realize what the band is missing. Singer Mark Eitzel may have been the chief songwriter, but Kaphan was his necessary foil.

EDITORS’ NOTES

As the pedal steel guitarist for San Francisco’s American Music Club, Bruce Kaphan was the band’s main musical architect. He took the pedal steel and found a place for it outside its usual country music borders. His intuitive grasp of musical space gave the band an edge they never regained after his departure. His solo albums have an instrumental excitement to them, uncommon considering the calm and austere tones for which Kaphan is best fitted. Hybrid, his second solo album, is once again a tour of a world that’s part Twin Peaks, part southwestern desert reverie, part auditory hallucination. Tracks such as “Dust Bowl Revisited,” “Loops For Larry” and “Legacy” don’t attempt to refine genres, so much as ignore the very idea that genres exist. “Renewal” suggests a sophisticated nod towards country music. “There But 4” adds enough drums to make for country rock. This is one phenomenal album. If you were ever an American Music Club fan, you will instantly realize what the band is missing. Singer Mark Eitzel may have been the chief songwriter, but Kaphan was his necessary foil.

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