Upon realizing that Over the Waterfall was a collection of guitar instrumentals played by Jamie Stillway and Eric Skye of the Pacific Northwest, I went in expecting tunes at fast tempos with lots of dazzling licks. What I soon discovered was that this album is completely opposite of all that, which in actuality is its greatest strength.
Stillway and Skye’s debut release, Home On The Midrange, consisted entirely of original tunes, whereas Over the Waterfall is completely centered around traditional old time pieces. Recorded with one stereo microphone and both guitarists seated a foot apart from it, the duo approached this project in as traditional a sense as possible.
Most of if not all eight of these tunes should be familiar to any longtime listeners of traditional acoustic music. One thing that jumped out at me from the first few bars of the opening track Cold Frosty Morning is that both players are playing it at a much slower pace. This is the case with all these pieces. While it might get monotonous for some, I feel that this was an appropriate choice as it allows the listener to hear the melody of the tune more clearly. It was especially a wise choice for the title track Over the Waterfall, as well as Sergeant Early’s Dream.
Another strong aspect of this project is both guitarists ability to improvise on these pieces without taking away from the original melody. This is best demonstrated on the last three tracks, Cattle in the Cane, Chinquapin Hunting, and Red Haired Boy.
Over The Waterfall provided a pleasant listening experience. While casual listeners would enjoy listening to Jamie Stillway and Eric Skye’s interpretations of these tunes, this project could most likely benefit guitarists who are attempting to learn these pieces since they’re played at easy to follow tempos. This release is a well done, resourceful effort.