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Album Review: Adagio
Russ Daniels
Cover image of the album Adagio by Russ Daniels
Adagio
Russ Daniels
2019 / Russ Daniels
25 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Adagio is the third album from guitarist/composer/pianist Russ Daniels. Inspired by several finger-style guitarists, the eight pieces on the album were composed by Daniels over the past three years. Hailing from West Chester, PA, Daniels is joined by Peter Willis, Corrin Pryor and Kevin Dye throughout the album. “Adagio” is a musical term for a slow, relaxed tempo, giving a good indication that this is not heavy metal or rock music! Actually, the beautiful cover artwork by Rishi Neal Arora more than hints that this album will be peaceful and easy-going - which it is. In addition to being great music to unwind with, this is excellent music to have in the car while driving or for any events that would be enhanced by quiet guitar music in the background.

Adagio begins with “Chaoshands,” a short, spirited opener that sets the mood for the music to come. “Cityworks” includes light hand percussion in addition to the guitar. The calm and easy mood of the piece could mean that it was inspired by a late evening or early morning in the city. The title track has layered sounds that suggest a number of additional instruments that mostly stay in the background - interesting effects! “Stillhear” is my favorite of the eight tracks and has passages that are solo guitar and others that include additional sounds. The solo parts make me think of a guitarist sitting in a room or under a tree, playing from the heart and only for himself. The more layered parts of the piece add tonal colors and various effects that keep it always interesting and moving forward. The gently-flowing “Delaware” is dreamy and smooth. “Quarters” is brighter and somewhat more percussive, but there is an intimacy in that it feels like the guitar is in the same room with you. The light and playful “Essex” is another favorite. Livelier than the other tracks, ambient supporting instrumentation is a smooth contrast to the guitar and then brings the piece to a slightly mysterious close. “Tam” begins with a happy, good-natured demeanor, slowing a bit and softening near the middle as it adds background instrumentation, and then fading out as it brings the album to a quiet close.

If you enjoy acoustic guitar, solo and with accompaniment, be sure to give Adagio a listen! It is available on Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby as well as on Soundcloud and Bandcamp.
November 15, 2019
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