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Tony Furtado

Bare Bones – 2005 (Funzalo)

Reviewed by John Lupton

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CDs by Tony Furtado

Tony Furtado is probably best known as the distinctively stylish banjo player in Laurie Lewis' band, Grant Street, back in the early '90s. He has since pretty much gone his own way as a solo artist, though his liner note credits as a "guest artist" are pretty extensive. For that matter, the names in the liner notes for his own solo albums to date are impressive enough on their own - can you say "Alison Krauss"?

As the title implies, this disc is a collection of live, solo performances, and if the idea of an hour or so of banjo music is disconcerting, fear not - for the most part, Furtado displays his talents as a singer, songwriter and slide guitarist, and on each count he is irresistible and compelling.

In point of fact, relative to the "label game," this is more of a blues album than anything else. Among the 11 tracks, listen especially closely to his own "Can You Hear The Rain" and his take on the traditional "Rove Riley Rove." The banjo pieces are nice enough, but this is one banjo picker who's got a lot more going on than expected. (520-628-8655)