Jazziz names the album one of “10 Albums You Need to Know” as the first single, “Bluewave Bossanova,”
is added out of the box to the SiriusXM Watercolors playlist.
Undeniably different, invitingly familiar and as masterful as ever, guitarist Lawson Rollins heads “True North” on his tenth album, a collection that commemorates the Billboard chart-topper’s 20th anniversary as a recording artist. Jazziz magazine named the Infinita Records release that dropped last Friday one of the “10 Albums You Need to Know.” With the influential SiriusXM’s Watercolors leading the charge, radio programmers are welcoming the new release by adding the first single, “Bluewave Bossanova,” to playlists out of the box, favoring a radio edit featuring Mary Fettig’s soprano sax caress.
“True North” is the first album that Rollins composed, produced and recorded all the guitar parts on his own. He relies upon his mesmerizing classical fingerstyle guitar play to forge a unique path incorporating contemporary jazz, world music, Latin and New Age, making records that convey exotic travel, exhilarating adventure and quixotic escape. “True North” continues the quest yet it’s easy to observe a variety of new dimensions spawned from a recent spate of assorted music and film projects.
Named by Guitar Player magazine as one of the “50 Transcedent Acoustic Guitarists” of all-time, the San Francisco-based Rollins curated a collection of his best (“Airwaves: The Greatest Hits”), experimented on “Dark Matter: Music for Film”; scored his first film, “Stay Out Stay Alive,” a multiple award winner and consistent film festival favorite that opened last November (Rollins also served as the movie’s executive producer); and collaborated on a single (“And If You Will Come With Me”) with Israeli superstar singer Idan Raichel. Rollins couldn’t help but be impacted artistically from this diversely prolific period when it came to crafting “True North.” The works expanded his sonic palette with Rollins adding electric and slide guitars, steel string guitar and interesting synthesizer textures alongside his signature classical Spanish nylon string acoustic guitar rhythms and rich melodic expressions.
Renowned for dispensing dazzling acoustic guitar arpeggios, scales and harmonies at astonishing speed (showcased in YouTube videos that have received over 10 million views), “True North” exhibits sharper focus, self-control and command as he “stays on course” instead of wandering off on prolonged improvisational excursions. The tone of the lead guitar emotes new warmth and purity. Even the album art, consisting of sundrenched images taken on the Outer Banks (North Carolina) where Rollins spends a lot of time each year, is filled with light and soft pastels unlike earlier images.
Rollins’ “True North” traveling mates are drummer and percussionist Dave Bryant, bassist Dan Feiszli, violinist Mads Tolling and Stephen Duros who plays additional keyboards and electric guitar on the album’s “With the Wind,” an eclectic and extravagant track unlike any ever recorded by the artist.
Below is a sampling of some of the early album reviews:
“The 14 original tracks on this new album find his improvisational flair in top form and showcase a wide range of emotions as well as that cross-aesthetic that has come to characterize his music since he first rose to popularity in the early 2000s.” – Jazziz
“A lovely, skillful and engrossing album, Rollins is just plain a contemporary master of the art. An album acoustic guitar fans should not be without.” – Midwest Record
“He plays his instrument with a soulful intensity that combines the stimulating rhythmic drive of rumba, salsa, and samba with graceful melodic finesse and free-flowing improvisational flair... On ‘True North,’ Lawson is most definitely back to doing what he is most known and admired for: staying true to the direction of his artistic inner compass and delivering the kind of inimitable guitar playing, creative instrumentation, and memorable compositions his fans have come to love.” – Exclusive Magazine
“Lawson's crossover style will undoubtedly once again attract fans of all kinds. Putting him in a category is not necessary, as long as the music is beautiful!” – Keys & Chords