Review: Teja Gerken’s ‘Test of Time’ Is a Sonic Surprise from Top to Backside

A longtime member of the San Francisco Bay Situation fingerstyle guitar community—to boot to a author/editor at Acoustic Guitar for 16 years sooner than co-founding the stringed instrument lesson attach Peghead Nation in 2014—Teja Gerken info once in some time, but when he does it’s continuously a grunt off for celebration. Test of Time is apt his third solo album (On My System came out in 1999 and Postcards in 2005), despite the indisputable truth that my favourite of his outdated releases is his marvelous 2020 Duets album with Doug Young (another AG contributing author). Young has his fingerprints on this one as successfully, co-engineering two tracks and mixing and mastering the album, which is a sonic surprise from high to bottom—every factor and nuance in Gerken’s impeccable playing might per chance maybe per chance moreover be heard so clearly. 

Teja Gerken, Test of Time (tejagerken.com)

Test of Time is long-established of Gerken’s solo are residing performances—if truth be told all ten tracks are items that he’s performed onstage but by no way recorded. There’s an excellent mix of styles and influences, from Celtic (“The Kerfunken Jig”) to a jazz traditional (John Coltrane’s “Naima”) to J.S. Bach (a transient minuet first and well-known for keyboard) to an customary Kottke-esque 12-string ramble (“Takoma”) to a mournful, centuries-dilapidated Scottish ballad (“Neil Gow’s Lament for the Death of His Second Critical other,” performed with great subtlety and sensitivity on a Nationwide resonator). Gerken’s other heartfelt, melodic originals paint many replacement moods and emotions; in particular keen is his ode to his daughter’s birth, “11:11 PM.” 

With the exception of the aforementioned resonator (a 1997 Reso-Phonic Vogue 1 Tricone), Gerken’s arsenal on the album entails a intellectual, glistening 1999 Lowden 010; a warm-sounding 2004 Martin Custom Shop OM; and a successfully off and resonant 2000 Taylor 355 12-string. Their differences bring another layer of fluctuate to the program, as does his inventive employment of a few tunings, collectively with DADGAD (impossible on “Naima”!), CGDGGD, CGDGCD, CGDDBD, and CGCGCD. 

All in all, Test of Time is a lustrous and deeply enjoyable album that certainly lives as much as its title, whether you’re mostly into method and guitars, or apt a casual fan (treasure me).  

Blair Jackson

Blair Jackson

Blair Jackson is the author of the definitive biography Garcia: An American Existence and became senior editor at Acoustic Guitar sooner than retiring in 2023.

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