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Saturday, 08 December 2012 22:24

Dan Miller and Brad Davis 12/8/12 + Video

L to R: Brad Davis and Dan Miller L to R: Brad Davis and Dan Miller
Written by Glen Herbert
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  • Date Recorded: December 8, 2012
  • Artist / Band: Dan Miller and Brad Davis
  • Hosting Show: Down Yonder
  • Sound: Drew Freiberger
  • Video: Ed Kleinberg

Brad Davis is Texan by birth, and his nickname is the Shredder, a reference to his guitar playing. Here he is joined by Dan Miller, who is well known as the publisher and editor of "Flatpicking Guitar" magazine as well as a good number of guitar technique books.

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Miller's voice is nice, and is beautifully expressive on the ballad "Old #9," but this set is really all about guitar. In fact, it's even more specific than that: this set is about guitar accompaniment and arrangement, with those aspects of the music often upstaging the runs and solos.

Despite the bluster of Davis' nickname, he's an extremely thoughtful guitar player, and certainly high on the A-list of flatpickers today. More known as a session musician, he also has releases of his own that are about as good as you can hope to get in the world of flatpicking. Davis and Miller offer workshops in things like timing, rhythm and ensemble playing, all things that they are hands-down experts on.

This set is, in every way, a testament to that pedigree and skill level. The musicianship is close, careful and thrillingly precise, as in the solo sections of "Old #9." "Red Wing" is a fiddle tune that is a favorite of the parking lot pickers. Not to disparage them, but the rendition here raises the piece to an intricate, virtuosic piece, never doing the same thing twice and advancing through the composition -— despite the repetitious themes -— as through a textual narrative.

Miller and Davis achieve a kind of quiet duet playing that you simply don't see enough of, one that brings to mind the "Tone Poet" release from Acoustic Disc, and their later "Tone Poems" series. Here, as there, it's about music -- not speed or showboating -- and the result is rich, layered and full of complex chords and voicings. Again, the "Shredder" nickname is more ironic than anything, because Davis -- despite the swagger and the sleeveless shirts -- is such a careful and virtuosic player.

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