Indigo Road – Ronn McFarlane

Indigo Road - Ronn McFarlane Artist: Ronn McFarlane
Album: Indigo Road
Release Date: November 13, 2007
Duration: 53:54
Genre: Classical
Styles: Chamber Music

American lutenist Ronn McFarlane has taken on the difficult task of popularizing the lute, which does not appeal to the average listener as readily as does a guitar. He has released several chronological collections with maximum audience appeal as the primary selection criterion, and with Indigo Road he offers a disc of original lute music that is contemporary enough and mellow enough to be easily digestible — but that has enough technical flash to compel the attention of professionals and artfully modernizes the tradition of the Renaissance lutenist. The music of the English lute school, though it might be circulated among various players, was often intended for performance by the composer himself, so McFarlane is in a sense picking up where Renaissance players left off. His style refers only glancingly to Renaissance music — Dowland’s Goodnight is based on a theme by John Dowland — but he draws in contemporary styles such as bluegrass, Celtic music, and even rock, elaborating them much as a lutenist of four centuries ago might have. McFarlane breaks up the sequence of lute pieces with accompaniment by bass, flute, harp, harmonium, various other instruments, and a string quartet; these instruments are held to a quiet enough form of address that they do not overshadow the lute, and the variety is appealing, but the shifting textures may prove distracting to those paying close attention to what McFarlane is doing. The new age calm of some selections may also put off listeners whose tendency is to pay attention intensely, but for many newcomers this will be an attractive introduction to an unfamiliar instrument.

It is also beautifully recorded, which seems to be a tall order for lute discs.

Title/Composer Performer Time
Cathedral Cave, for lute, flute, bass & percussion Ronn McFarlane 3:57
Indigo Road, for lute Ronn McFarlane 3:14
Denali, for lute Ronn McFarlane 4:18
Overland, for lute, harp, string quartet, bass & percussion Ronn McFarlane 3:48
Pinetops, for lute, cittern & bass Ronn McFarlane 2:43
Blue Norther, for lute Ronn McFarlane 4:31
Chocolate Factory, for lute & percussion Ronn McFarlane 3:43
Rosa, for lute, harmonium, bass & percussion Ronn McFarlane 3:23
Uncharted Waters, for lute & bass Ronn McFarlane 4:05
Sycamore, for lute, flute & bass Ronn McFarlane 4:25
Dowland’s Goodnight, for lute Ronn McFarlane 2:12
Early Christmas Morning, for lute Ronn McFarlane 1:59
Gigue, for lute Ronn McFarlane 1:50
Thistleheart, for lute, flute & bass Ronn McFarlane 3:36
Over the Green Earth, for lute Ronn McFarlane 2:53
Augusta, for lute, harp, bass & percussion Ronn McFarlane 3:17

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