Al Petteway & Amy White,
Acoustic Journey
(Maggie's Music, 2004)

Moment of truth time: over the past 15 years or so, I've seen Al Petteway play guitar in just about every circumstance you can imagine -- as the leader of the Al Petteway Quartet, a jazz group; as the accompanist for the Smith Sisters, a folk duo; as a folk guitarist -- name a genre and he has performed it.

Although Petteway was very good in all of these roles, he never really quite came alive, never quite lived up to his full talent until two things happened: he fell in love with Celtic music and he fell in love with Amy White. Together they have made several albums of wonderful duets, playing their original compositions in the Celtic vein and the occasional traditional song. The results have been consistently brilliant.

Acoustic Journey is just what the title implies, a disc that ranges through their past, a "best of" package. If you haven't heard them, this is a good place to start.

With Al on guitar (and, occasionally, fretless bass) and Amy on piano, mandolin and guitar, and with a couple of other musicians occasionally helping out on percussion, the recording is simple and small enough to rely on the quality of the writing -- but since the writing is consistently excellent, Acoustic Journey never fails. This recording is highly recommended.

by Michael Scott Cain
28 October 2006

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