Doug B. Smith,
Diving for Pearls
(Sabre, 1998)

The acoustic guitar is the instrument most credited with the rise and rebirth of folk music in the mid-20th century. On Diving for Pearls, Doug B. Smith proves its worth and versatility in a collection of tunes old and new culled from throughout the British Isles, as well as some new pieces by himself.

Here are some pearls that you need only delve into a beautiful CD to retrieve.

The CD opens with "Hills of Shiloh/Things to Do," which shows off the guitar talents that have earned Smith credits as an accompanist of artists from Kate Rusby to Hazel O'Connor.

He takes over on vocals on "Roving Gambler" and proves himself to be very good at presenting lyrics, too (although his vocal efforts on Newman's "Bad News from Home" are a little obscured by the banjo track). He continues his very personal style with other traditional pieces such as "With My Rovin' Eye."

He excels on the instrumental tracks on this CD. These range from the lovely traditional-sounding airs written by Smith, such as "Joy" and his beautiful "Lament to the Moon," to the actual traditional pieces that he so expertly mixes with his own compositions.

If you like the sound of the acoustic guitar, you will love this album.

- Rambles
written by Nicky Rossiter
published 26 April 2003