About John Kruth... The Pete Townshend of the mandolin. - Luka Bloom Burnin'! - John Scofield (May 2004) The best damn mandolin player around today! - Yank Rachell John Kruth is a multi-instumentalist known mostly as a folk/rock singer/songwriter (he's recorded for independent folk labels Flying Fish and Gadfly). John Kruth is also a journalist, author, and music historian whose oeuvre includes Bright Moments, a biography of idiosyncratic jazz saxophonist Rahsaan Roland Kirk. - Martin Stillion Album Reviews: Mandolin player John Kruth is banjo ace Bela Fleck's counterpart, taking the mandolin in new musical directions. - San Antonio Express Kruth picks mandolin as well as anybody on the planet. He's also an engaging front-man playing everything from folked-up funk to blitzkrieg bluegrass. - The Isthmus (Madison, WI) A one-man hootenanny trail blazing new genres. Kruth shows us just how hard a mandolin can rock. A fascinating argument for the mandolin as a prime tool of rock and roll. - The Milwaukee Journal What a fun CD! Originally released in 1995 on San Francisco's Weasel Disc, this hard-to-find little gem has been reissued by Milwaukee's Internal Combustion label, and is well worth tracking down. On this, his first all-instrumental disc, Kruth serves up a tasty gumbo of folk, experimental jazz, hip-hop, and world beat with a healthy dose of lunacy, prominently featuring his cherry red 1957 Fender Mandocaster (tuned to ADF#A, if you're keeping score). The fact that the disc is dedicated to both avant-garde jazz trumpeter Don Cherry and the Carnatic mandolin maestro U Srinivas should give you some idea of what you're in for. 'Karmachanic,' the leadoff number, has layered electric and acoustic mandolin parts that elevate it above the ordinary. 'Wabash Cannibal' takes the train-tune idiom for a wild ride, with defiantly out-of-tune Mandocaster licks and some great sax from Jason Todd-whose playing, in fact, is featured just as prominently as Kruth's on most of the tracks. There's a wicked turntable scratch groove from Malcolm of Citizen King on 'Bertha Cool,' and the weirdest Rolling Stones cover of the millennium has to be Kruth's free-jazz take on 'Lady Jane,' which he subtitles the 'Brian Jones ghost dance mix' in honor of Jagger & Co.'s late guitarist. 'Midnight Hora,' once again, is uniquely voiced: you won't hear tablas and tin whistle backing up an electric mandolin every day. There's more than a bit of New Orleans on 'Parisha,' while 'Crazy Maker' is sort of a Wes-Montgomery-meets-John-Zorn-in-the-Twilight- Zone thing: Kruth plays an insistent Mandocaster theme in double stops using an alternate tuning based on major sevenths and tritones (either that or he multitracked it), while Todd and the rhythm section riff like a wrecking crew. As if that weren't enough, 'Weeping Statues' and 'Mary Mandolin' are both haunting waltzes that lend a bittersweet touch to the proceedings. Kruth has said this may be his best CD, and who am I to disagree? - Martin Stillion.
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