Sound — 9
Lawrence Blatt is a guitarist's image of a guru among their brethren. His latest CD, The Color Of Sunshine has Blatt playing a variety of steel-string and nylon-string acoustic guitars, Hawaiian ukuleles, and a South American 10-string charango guitar augmented with an occasional keyboard and percussion tool. He is joined by a crew of prominent musicians such as T-Bone Wolk on bass, accordion and slide guitar, Derrik Jordan on percussion, Jeff Oster on flugelhorn, Steve Schuch on violin, and Patrick Gorman on drums. The songs project the tones of the universal color wheel like the wispy acoustic cascades sprayed along Alhambra which portray the red sands of the Moorish desert, and Orange Blossom Honey which is beaded in silky ukulele riffs and inspired by the music of the Hawaiian islands. Blatt's music is a fusion of folk, jazz, classical, country, rock, and ethnic tones like Latin, Middle Eastern, and Hawaiian accented acoustics. His finger-picking style is liken to the UK's Si Hayden and his melodic sensibilities show a diversity that is unparallel to his fellow guitarists. The soft Spanish-wayfaring mists of Look To The Sun have a succor effect on the senses, and the calming acoustics of the title track depict a picturesque tranquility. The detailing of Blatt's finger-picking in Infrared The Abyss is spellbinding as his fingers skip gleefully across the nylon strings with island-tinged beats in the backdrop. The sullen mood of Jaune has an introspective mood, while the blossoming sprigs spruced across Green Corn And Spring have an optimistic shadowing. The Latin-clad acoustics gallop across Mar Azul making one think of the street performers that play along the avenues of Madrid, Spain, and the fairytale tresses of Violet Blue have a peppy gait in the braided acoustics. The album turns inspirational in the gingerly sprinkled wanderings of UV Radiations and country-folk in Black Rock Beach before closing out with the delicate tendrils of Reach For The Rainbow. Produced by William Ackerman, The Color Of Sunshine has an inspirational pop flare that makes the music feel light and fluffy but also earthy and picturesque.
Lyrics — 9
The Color Of Sunshine has all instrumentals but the melodic patterns are very lyrical as Blatt uses his guitar strings to shoot out particles like streams of light. He fashions the amplitude of his acoustics to project brightness, and it's wavelengths to determine the color of his finger-splayed particles. A man not only of music but also of science, math, biology, history, and nature, Lawrence Blatt learned to vary the frequencies of his musical notes to produce colors which create a bond with the listener's emotions, hence the sullen feel of some tracks and the optimistic attitude in others. The seven notes of the music scale relate to seven shades of color in the universal spectrum: yellow, orange, red, green, blue, purple, and brown or burnt sienna in Blatt's music. Blatt's songs show the natural relationship between color, sound and mood simply by linking and layering music notes and making them sing.
Overall Impression — 9
Everything about The Color Of Sunshine is harmonious sounding. He improves on acoustic-pop models and fuses them with ethnic-based tunage and earthy tones. Blatt began playing the guitar at 12, and by his early twenties he was a part of the folk scene in his home state of Indiana as a singer, songwriter and guitarist. Blatt became a bit of a nomad afterwards, moving wherever the wind blew him from Los Angeles to Boulder and presently settling in San Francisco. He was influenced by finger-pickers like Dave Wilco, Leo Kottk, Michael Hedges, Ottmar Liebert, and The Netherlands' Harry Sacksioni, and developed his own style of playing that allows him to create a clear mood in his music. His album is music made for the ears to enjoy. His finger-picking style might be complex and intricately detailed but the result is music that is uncomplicated, easy to grasp and puts the listener's in trance-like state following the streams of light.