Now Hear This: Ron Nagle

January 10, 2014

AS CONTEMPORARY MUSIC SEEMS DESTINED TO FURTHER DEVOLVE INTO COMMERCIALIZED clone-ism and disposable ditties, it’s rather a shock to hear something harkening back to an era when artists struggled to create miniature symphonies of impassioned pop. In fact, hearing Ron Nagle’s Spread the Love [Fendis Intl] can almost be a creative gamechanger—if you are open to being seduced by old-school composition, arrangement, and production. The cinematically haunting album is far from a guitar fest, but any guitarist can deploy the lessons within its grooves to craft better, more evocative musical spells. Spread the Love is also a reunion of sorts for Nagle and producer Scott Mathews, who first gained national exposure in 1979, as the eccentric writing, production, and DIY recording team, the Durocs.

“There is never a master plan to making records,” says Nagle. “You should have an appreciation for music history and its innovators, of course. You need to be inspired, and to strive to make a statement that’s all yours. After that, it’s all about intuition—about creating a mood and a feel. I actually believe it’s more fun if you’re surprised by the journey. If you come up with something exactly as you expected, then you’re probably doing something wrong, and you’re thinking too much.”

Although there are tons of guitar textures on Spread the Love, few call explicit attention to themselves.

“The role of the guitars was to play second fiddle,” explains Mathews. “The tunes informed me as to what the guitars could do to help. Leaving them packed away in their cases was always a good option until a guitar part was actually needed.”

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