The Eric McFadden Trio’s Joy of Suffering gets my vote as the best and most original guitar recording of the year so far. The overdriven tones McFadden conjures by amplifying an ancient Gibson archtop (as well as a classical nylon-string) are as unique as his Gypsy-jazz-inspired trills and carnival-noir tales of sin and redemption. His gruff, Tom Waits-like vocals fit perfectly with the dark and haunting nature of the material, which ranges from the slammin’ “Bury Our Sins” to the spaghetti-western feel of “Miranda” to the surf-music-gone-mad instrumental “The Ghost-Maker.” McFadden has been an underground sensation for years—finally gaining recognition playing mandolin and guitar with George Clinton’s P-Funk All Stars from 2000-2004—and he realizes his potential on Joy of Suffering, a record that may just win him the legions of devotees an artist of his uncompromising character and unquestionable quality rightly deserves. Terminus.
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