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Memories of Summer as a Child

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Album Review

The Beyman Brothers' debut release, Memories of Summer as a Child (2009), centers around the comfy "made in the kitchen" (literally) trio of Christopher "Doc" Guest (mandolin/mandocello/clarinet/guitars/lap steel guitar), David "Nudgie" Nichtern (acoustic/electric/slide guitars), and C.J. Vanston (keyboards/accordion/synths/drum programming). In the spirit of acts such as the Walker Brothers, none of the group are actually named "Beyman", nor are they siblings — at least in the literal sense. They are connected by their seemingly innate and obvious abiding love and respect for acoustic instrumental improvisation. While the genesis of this unique collaboration was borne out of the lifelong friendship between Guest and Nichtern, Vanston had also worked with the former for nearly two decades. Most notably, serving as the ''musical director" for mock-rockers Spinal Tap, and in a variety of roles within Guest's various films. The ruminative opener, "Tulong," sets the project's meditative mood. The central theme, while complex, never ventures too far from the optimistic and beguiling melody. Adding a particularly important textural contribution is percussionist Rafael Padilla. The slightly perceptible lilt throughout "Man of la Mantra" offers a perfect example of Padilla's immense, yet never overbearing participation. Guest's understated clarinet lines tether a palpable melancholia to the consistently amiable tune, while Nichtern's fretwork is equally potent for its robust and sonorous leads. "Moon of Tunis" takes the tempo up several notches, yet never loses the project's prevailing subdued ambience. The vibe is enhanced all the more by the infusion of Guest's smooth lap steel guitar. The title composition, "Memories of Summer as a Child" is a meditative masterpiece. Its capability as a sort of sonic reflecting pond will captivate the listener upon every visitation. "Triad" — a title which shouldn't be confused with the David Crosby ballad of the same name — begins with Nichtern's languid and trippy introduction, yielding to some of his most poignant playing thus far. "Shelter Island" serves up an inquisitive pastoral setting behind a propulsive backbeat that conjures the once vibrant cultures of the American Southwest. In a similar way, the hypnotically percussive rhythm driving "Hidden Passage" adopts the region's intangibly liberated ethos. Vanston's remarkable — albeit too brief — solo "Interlude" bears witness to his criminally underutilized skills. Marston Smith's (cello) role in "Hartland" gives the performance a wider breadth of scope, resulting in a cinematic quality reminiscent of incidental scores from the likes of Elmer Bernstein. Nothing grandiose mind you, but it is definitely heartier in scope — especially when blended with Padilla's inviting percussive environs. "The River Ebro" rolls at a pace all its own with Vanston's accordion weaving tastefully around Guest's sensitive mandolin and Nichtern's sagacious strings. "Awakening" concludes the effort in much the same unhurried way it began. However, instead of retreading familiar territory, one is left invigorated, rather than depleted.


Formed: 2008 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '00s

They aren't siblings in the traditional sense of the word. Nor were any of the trio born with the name Beyman. So, of course, it would stand to reason that Christopher "Doc" Guest (mandolin, mandocello, clarinet, guitars, lap steel guitar), David "Nudgie" Nichtern (acoustic, electric, and slide guitars), and Jeffrey "C.J." Vanston (keyboards, accordion, synths, and drum programming) would transform themselves into the guise of musical brethren better known as the Beyman Bros. The connection between...
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Memories of Summer as a Child, The Beyman Bros.
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