Cathryn Craig & Brian Willoughby
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Never particularly keen on solo performances, I was less than convinced that I should make an instrumental album. However, over a late-night crate of red wine, I was cajoled into it by Cathryn and the Toblers, John and Lynda. John runs Road Goes On Forever Records and he put this album on his roster. Although my terror of playing alone still persists, I was pleasantly shocked by the many wonderful reviews the album attracted…
Reviews For "Fingers Crossed"
"Showcases many influences, with acoustic and electric pieces that traverse blues, Celtic, country, rock and ragtime territories."
"very clever, tricky and stylish guitar playing...if you don't know Brian's skills and you like the Chet/Tommy Emmanuel/Big Jim Sullivan stuff we've been exposed to this last few years, we'd recommend you give this a listen. Terrific."
"...differs from the mainstream, as he switches from acoustic to resonator to Strat showing a level of expertise and displaying a sincerity of style that can't be ignored...'These Nights, These Dreams and You' could easily become a Shadows' instrumental while 'Sweet Insanity' and 'Broken Hearts in Nashville' would have suited Chet Atkins...This is inspirational stuff indeed, filled with ideas and bursting with encouragement for every guitarist."
"Strawbs' finest hour was undoubtedly their acoustic incarnation with Brian Willoughby. On this impeccably crafted album, Willoughby moves seamlessly through just about the whole gamut of acoustic styles….its lavishly-documented guitar and tuning details will delight many a picker."
"…it's as a superlatively skilled guitarist that Brian's probably best regarded by his many fans…the playing is always, always absolutely top-notch…a real master of many styles, too, from evocative mood pieces to intricately picked mini-extravaganzas to jaunty raggy Resonator work to Fahey-style delta bottleneck to the prog-country full-on electric phase-soaked onslaught 'She Rang My Bell' that ends the CD. Not only does Brian display a formidable grasp of technique throughout, but unlike some "guitar technicians" we could mention, he uses this gift to play beautifully."
"…a quiet, peaceful album…Brian's technique is never in doubt. His masterful touch and versatility are in evidence all over the album. It's definitely a gentle affair and makes for a restorative nightime listening experience."
"…undoubtedly one of the finest guitarists from the heyday of the folk rock boom still plying his trade…it's all tastefully done, as you would imagine from a maestro of this calibre…if it's the sort of thing that turns your crank, you'll find plenty of it here."
"…if polls were a true thermometer of talent, Brian would be regularly at the top of any guitarist chart."
"On this recording he demonstrates a deft touch and highlights the subtleties in tone change for those who enjoy listening intently to the qualities inherent in this album…it's like a mellow wine that will accompany a good night sitting in front of a glowing fire…the overall performance is clean and uncluttered without overdubs and all the more enjoyable for it."
"'Fingers Crossed' comprises 19 tracks that showcase Brian's versatility on a wide range of acoustic and electric guitars."
"…a pleasant, understated album…reveals a wide range of influences…not surprising to find some strong slide playing…"
"A well-trained ear will recognise that his playing is impeccable…this is one for the guitarists out there to file alongside their Bert Weedon books."
"All of the tunes were written or co-written by Willoughby who uses a wide range of guitars to create his magic…"
"The expectations of 'Fingers Crossed' are high and it doesn't disappoint. A little bit of blues, a little bit of country are woven around the folk roots. For the layman the talking point is surely 'She Rang My Bell'. On it, Willoughby broadens his horizons and includes all manner of goodies."
"…full of vital and sometimes quirky inventiveness, without the attention seeking postures of some of Willoughby's guitarist contemporaries, neatly trading vertiginous electric guitar showmanship for an almost humble classic style…Mellow melodies for the more discerning music fan, whether it be for late night background music, or a study of emotional and intricate guitar work…Guitar nerds will find the booklet of interest, with notes of which guitars were used on which tracks; album sleeve perusers will find the personal background notes for the tracks insightful."
"Willoughby is one of those steady hands that will never let you down on concert stage or studio…an all-rounder who is equally adept whether playing nylon or steel-strung acoustic, bottleneck on Resonator, or letting rip when some electric juice is required…the production hands, both those playing and twiddling the knobs, are so gentle that when listening to this, you start floating off into a dream-like state…these delicate little compositions sparkle and pop a bit like those fizz bomb bubble bath novelties that kids like…"
"No longer with the Strawbs, Brian Willoughby is now concentrating on his musical partnership with Cathryn Craig, but that hasn't stood in the way of making what is an immensely enjoyable solo instrumental album…Brian's guitar work is spectacular, but never flashy. I liked this very much."
"My favourite guitar sound here, like his, is the Gibson J45 in Bm tuning…the playing is delightful…"
"A good 'un for budding guitarists who are tired of reading chord charts from instructional books."
"These pieces are mere teases—you'd wish they'd go on forever…further proof of his virtuosity, the net result is an album rich in variety…all in all an accomplished outing."
"Simply stated and beautifully played, guitar aficionados will appreciate 'Fingers Crossed'...Brian never trades elegance for technical brilliance. Each composition is distinct and he does a good job of mixing styles and utilizing different guitars to keep things interesting. A pleasing album."
"A consummate piece of work that successfully bestrides just about every boundary."
"A versatile and technically accomplished fingerstyle guitarist with an impressive command of altered tunings."