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Reviews: Vicki Genfan ~ Live|
Posted on Saturday, April 03, 2004 @ 12:12:45 UTC
Artist: Vicki Genfan
Home: New Jersey
Quote: "Not only is it hard to believe she’s playing just one acoustic guitar; it’s hard to believe she’s only got two hands."
By Jennifer Layton
I had to keep reminding myself that I was only hearing one instrument. Vicki Genfan makes the acoustic guitar sound like an entire band. After each song on this live performance (recorded in Germany at the Open Strings Guitar Festival), I understand completely why the audience applauds and whistles so wildly. They’re as amazed as I feel. Whether Genfan is edging into rock or swirling with folk and jazz, this is fiery, living music. The strumming and plucking comes at rapid-fire pace. She beats on the body of the instrument for percussion and plucks at the high notes to make bell-like sounds. Not only is it hard to believe she’s playing just one acoustic guitar; it’s hard to believe she’s only got two hands.
I got lost in the instrumentals. “Impossinova” sounds like tall grass waving in the breeze. “Outside The Box” is a laid-back bluesy number with a smile on its face. I have to smile myself during both tracks when Genfan suddenly starts scatting and crooning. It’s like she can’t help but join in when she hears how much fun the guitar is having. Somehow she manages to keep quiet during “Sí,” although I wanted to sing along as the guitar lowered its voice and drove the sound in a deep, heavy groove. When Genfan does sing, it’s a blend of Judy Collins and Alanis Morrisette. Sweet and spunky.
The sheer timing involved with one particular track made it my favorite. Genfan does a cover of “What’s Going On,” and I sat listening to it less than one week after the train bombings in Madrid. This CD was recorded in late 2002, but when Genfan pauses on lines like “only love can conquer hate,” I felt the hair on the back of my neck stand up. When Marvin Gaye originally sang the line, “everybody says we’re wrong,” he was talking about the misunderstood, long-haired war protesters of the 60s, but I saw it in terms of how other nations are seeing the United States right now. World events combined with one simple song were connecting Gaye and Genfan, and I was sitting right there watching. It gave me chills.
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