Don Alder,
Acoustic Matters
(independent, 2007)

This Vancouver, British Columbia resident is good with his hands whether it be picking a guitar or working on a wheelchair. Canadian Don Alder was a member of the Canadian National Paralympic team in Atlanta for the 1996 Games and again in 2000 for the Games in Sydney, Australia. Alder did not participate as an athlete but as the equipment manager and wheelchair technician. Alder is also the guitar player for the band Spinal Chord, which is the performance band for the Adapted Music Society. And Alder still finds time to support friend Rick Hensen's Foundation -- Rick Hensen Man in Motion Foundation -- which promotes the potential of people with disabilities and spinal chord injury research.

Along with all these activities Don Alder has released Acoustic Matter, a CD of instrumental guitar music. Alder is no ordinary picker; he uses a technique known as finger-style picking. At the 2007 International Finger Style Championships held in Kansas, Alder placed first. While picking, Alder at times will beat on his guitar's soundboard, providing a percussion sound that is his only backup band.

Acoustic Matters is a collection of interesting and sometimes fun pieces showing off Alder's abilities. There are 10 tunes with comical titles listed on the album's cover art, but when placed in the CD player, my copy of the album boasted 16 tracks. Where the mistake may be is anyone's guess, but if the CD is accurate it is indeed a pleasant surprise for fans.

Alder's album is appropriately titled since every track is only the man and his acoustic guitar.

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
Sherrill Fulghum

10 May 2008

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