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Only Now

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Album Review

It's quite difficult to say exactly what Chris Proctor does — yes, he's playing fingerstyle guitar, but what to call his unique melange of styles? There's an aspect of Americana in the echoes of Appalachian and old-timey styles that are apparent in just about every track, but there are also elements of jazz, Celtic folk, and a dash of blues in here somewhere. What Proctor does is create guitar music that reflects the whole heritage of the instrument and still has his own distinct stamp — a tall order, but he's up to the job. That's basically what he does on every album, but Only Now is different in two ways. First of all, Proctor duets with Michael Johnson throughout this album instead of playing solo, which frees him to explore all kinds of musical territory. Second, for the first time in a career that started 15 years before Only Now was released in 1997, Chris Proctor actually sings a song. He wrote it too, and it's actually a good song — more a piece of poetry with music behind it, but still it's a major departure. He's not as good a singer as he is a guitarist, but his half-spoken, half-sung delivery fits the material just fine. "Anymore" is an engaging, wistful little song, and here's hoping he doesn't wait another 15 years to write another one.

Only Now, Chris Proctor
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