The Last Tree
2012 / Wayne White
Review by Kathy Parsons
The Last Tree is a 2012 solo acoustic fingerstyle guitar album by Wayne White. An award-winning guitarist from Idaho, White composed the twelve tracks and says “fingerstyle solo guitar encourages the heart and satisfies the soul” more than any of the other styles of playing he has explored. Explaining a bit more: “Alternating bass lines, cascading melodies and beautiful tunings allow the guitar to be heard the way it was meant to be. Artists such as Will Ackerman, Alex De Grassi, and Michael Hedges are a few who inspire me with their vision.” The album was beautifully recorded with a clear sound that is never too bright or at all brittle. Calling himself “the master of hopeful melancholy,” several of White’s pieces are thoughtful and reflective while others are bit more rhythmic and upbeat. With many years of playing a wide variety of music genres, White has developed a distinctive style and hopes his “music brings listeners the gift of feeling that life is a broad, beautiful adventure full of blue skies, bright moons, and always sun-lined clouds.” Works for me!
The Last Tree begins with “Tumbleweed,” one of the livelier pieces with a percussive rhythm also played on the guitar. There is something about this piece that expresses the beauty of open desert vistas and the peaceful calm of desolation. The title track is much more tranquil with a gently-flowing melody and just a touch of sadness. “Lift” starts out a little darker and more mysterious, gradually lightening as it progresses. “After the Rain” is a beautiful expression of nature’s sparkling renewal and refreshment as the skies clear after a rainstorm (we experience it often here on the Oregon Coast!). “View From the Moon” is a very interesting title and I’m sure different people would interpret it in a variety of ways. The music is very quiet and peaceful, but also feels kind of lonely and isolated to me. It’s a favorite! I really like “At the Vine,” too. It’s a lively folk-type piece with a strong melody and gently-driving rhythm that just might get your toe tapping (it does mine!). With just a touch of the blues, “Still On the Hill” is my favorite track on the album. Fancy finger-work and a percussive beat played on the body of the guitar (in passages, not throughout the whole piece) create contrasting themes that work together really well. “La Bella Vie” is a poignant “song without words” that incorporates musical phrases in a variety of styles to tell its story. “The Road Home” overflows with the warm contentment of returning to where you feel you most belong. It’s a great close to an excellent album!
If you like fingerstyle guitar, solo acoustic guitar, and/or peaceful and relaxing music with substance, be sure to check out The Last Tree! It is available from Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby plus several streaming sites.
December 17, 2018