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Bo Ramsey

Fragile – 2008 (Self-released)

Reviewed by Brian Steinberg

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CDs by Bo Ramsey

Music aficionados may know Bo Ramsey best for his tasteful guitar work and production work (he has worked with Lucinda Williams and Greg Brown, among others). Those artists aren't the most booming or stentorian singers you'll hear, so it's little surprise just how spare and hushed Ramsey's work is on his latest effort.

Ramsey's craggy voice melts into spartan musical backdrops, and a listener can easily envision an outside producer taking some of these tracks and beefing them up with extra instrumentation. The driving title track could easily morph into something for rock radio, given a bigger sound and broader instrumentation, for example. Elsewhere, Ramsey sounds like a private detective elucidating his latest adventure. Ramsey has wonderful musical instincts, but one hears a guitar-rock record in here and couldn't help but layer in imaginary backup singers and guitar accompaniment to the proceedings.