In first hearing this, I thought "Wait a minute, what's the chances I'd get another CD just as incredibly good as Andy McKee's The Gates of Gnomeria (elsewhere in this forum) on the same day?!?!". Then I looked at the particulars: they're labelmates. Candy Rat Records, then, is obviously an enterprise with stratospheric standards, because DuFour is McKee's musical soul brother, a jaw-droppingly accomplished player and composer. With stuff like this, there are times when I get so caught up in it that the entire day is spent listening to highly sophisticated solo guitar music. Existence now goes in the hopper as a disc of choice for those times.
DuFour isn't as moodily based as McKee, possessing a brighter sound and more lilting sensibilities but is equally as complex and spirit-stirring. These two playing together would be literally a mind-blowing experience, and we can only hope for such a happenstance between now and when we greet the Reaper. In the meanwhile, the 13-cut Existence is a wonderland of fingerpicking and highly intricate compositions soothing the soul as they engage the mind. DuFour's riffs are incredible, never-ending, and at times seemingly impossible for human fingers to pull off, yet he does so without a single flaw, not even a near-flaw, often percussing the soundbox while laying down hypnotic patterns. In fact, I've long averred that aficionados of demoniacally good players like Al DiMeola and John McLaughlin would have to range to material like this in order to sate ever-thirsting ears. Antone DuFour is the perfect exponent of that thesis.
In that same inclination, though, I used to worry: when Kottke and ilk are gone, who will replace them? I don't worry about that a bit any more. And if the Candy Rat label is the wave of the future of solo acoustic guitar music, then none of us need carry Concern One; all is well and we can rest our world-weary heads, happy in the knowledge that the next generation's pleasures will be the measure of ours...perhaps more.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
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