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Assessment: Teja Gerken’s ‘Test of Time’ Is a Sonic Wonder from High to Backside

A longtime member of the San Francisco Bay Dwelling fingerstyle guitar community—besides to a creator/editor at Acoustic Guitar for 16 years forward of co-founding the stringed instrument lesson direct Peghead Nation in 2014—Teja Gerken files infrequently, but when he does it’s always a predicament off for occasion. Test of Time is appropriate his third solo album (On My Map got here out in 1999 and Postcards in 2005), even supposing my authorized of his outdated releases is his marvelous 2020 Duets album with Doug Young (one other AG contributing creator). Young has his fingerprints on this one to boot, co-engineering two tracks and mixing and mastering the album, which is a sonic wonder from top to backside—each and each detail and nuance in Gerken’s impeccable playing will also be heard so clearly. 

teja-gerken-take a look at-of-time
Teja Gerken, Test of Time (tejagerken.com)

Test of Time is frequent of Gerken’s solo dwell performances—in fact all ten tracks are pieces that he’s played onstage but by no approach recorded. There’s combination of styles and influences, from Celtic (“The Kerfunken Jig”) to a jazz classic (John Coltrane’s “Naima”) to J.S. Bach (a short minuet on the inspiration for keyboard) to an customary Kottke-esque 12-string ramble (“Takoma”) to a mournful, centuries-worn Scottish ballad (“Neil Gow’s Lament for the Loss of life of His 2d Wife,” played with intellectual subtlety and sensitivity on a Nationwide resonator). Gerken’s a form of heartfelt, melodic originals paint many plenty of moods and feelings; particularly transferring is his ode to his daughter’s beginning, “11:11 PM.” 

With the exception of the aforementioned resonator (a 1997 Reso-Phonic Vogue 1 Tricone), Gerken’s arsenal on the album entails a sparkling, glistening 1999 Lowden 010; a warm-sounding 2004 Martin Customized Store OM; and a well off and resonant 2000 Taylor 355 12-string. Their differences bring one other layer of fluctuate to the program, as does his artistic employment of plenty of tunings, along side DADGAD (unbelievable on “Naima”!), CGDGGD, CGDGCD, CGDDBD, and CGCGCD. 

All in all, Test of Time is an extra special and deeply fulfilling album that positively lives as a lot as its title, whether you’re mostly into technique and guitars, or appropriate an casual fan (fancy me).  

Blair Jackson

Blair Jackson

Blair Jackson is the creator of the definitive biography Garcia: An American Existence and changed into senior editor at Acoustic Guitar forward of retiring in 2023.

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