Personnel: Ulf Bandgren (steel guitar); John Stowell (nylon-string guitar).
Audio Mixer: Mark Frethem.
Liner Note Authors: Ulf Bandgren; John Stowell.
Recording information: Doolin Studio, Portland, OR (06/14/2011-06/15/2011).
Photographer: Mike Doolin.
Guitarists John Stowell and Ulf Bandgren have been friends for several years, having played together in workshops and a few concerts. These sessions feature just the two of them, with Stowell using a nylon-stringed acoustic instrument and Bandgren a steel-stringed guitar, mostly focusing on Bandgren's originals. The contrast between the sound of the two instruments makes it easy to tell the players apart, and they way they accompany one another makes it seem like they've worked together regularly for a long time. "Five Roses" is a spry opener that one could easily imagine being played by Django Reinhardt with Stéphane Grappelli. "You Know It When You Got It" is a funky blues with a few twists. "Vitra" has a lyrical quality to it, while "Nimba" is a bittersweet ballad. "Freight Train" is a brisk bop vehicle and one of the late pianist Tommy Flanagan's lesser-known compositions, played with enthusiasm by the duo. The loping "Throop" was penned by Stowell, with a theme that hints at being a bit ominous but quickly transforms into an intimate, if unconventional blues. Recommended. ~ Ken Dryden