Pop & Rock

The Third Guitarist


Founded by John Fahey, the Takoma label served as home to three masterful guitarists. Two of them, Fahey and Leo Kottke, remain in the fore of musical consciousness as artists who blended blues, folk and jazz styles to create wide, rich pieces. Robbie Basho, the third artist, never achieved the same fame of his labelmates and contemporaries, despite elevating the steel-string acoustic guitar to something of a classical instrument as evidenced on the collection Bashovia.

Perhaps, the heavy use of Eastern sounds and arrangements kept him from achieving the same cultural longevity. Or maybe it was the few instances where he offered up his rather unusual singing voice, which appears one moment as a sort of docent at a Native American museum and another moment as a folk yodeler. But, the instrumental tracks on Bashovia are as layered and vast as any by Fahey and Kottke. Tracks like "Lost Lagoon Suite" and "The Hajj" draw upon worldly influences, mixing Indian, Eastern, classical and even European elements to create a mystical journey full of meditative serenity.

Bashovia combines selected tracks from three Takoma releases -- The Falconer's Arm I, The Falconer's Arm II and Song Of The Stallion. Basho passed away in 1986, but his unique sound served as one of the inspirations for the genre now known as New Age. In that, his legacy lives on.

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