Go ahead pick up a copy of Spirit Wild. Check out the picture of the handsome neohippie with his acoustic guitar. Read where he states that his new recording is "dedicated to the life forms of Planet Earth." Now what do you expect to hear? Maybe the usual lush paeans to Mama Nature sandwiched between the sounds of canyon winds and soaring eagles?
Thank Don Reeve for shunning the knapsack of new age cliché's and offering instead a unique approach to guitar playing. Faster than you can say "your mantra," Reeve bounces between finger-hammering his instrument into sitar like drones and spewing out frenetic passages of 100 well placed notes.
Though Reeve may share the philosophies of other new-agers, his machine-gun playing sets him apart from the lullaby guitar work of less competent players. When reaching for sentiment in "Roses"--a title which preps the listener for cosmic sappiness if there ever was one--Reeve turns out a fine balance of warmth and dark edge. His morose guitar isn't gently weeping, it's beating out a waning that makes you question the nature of the beast called romance. Reeve is playing as much for the thorns as the petals, you might say. the unsanded presentation is very refreshing.
No one-note musician. Reeve directs his masculine guitar pounding in a number of directions. His ax-whacking is playful on "Tickle," meditative on "Rain" and damned near danceable (if you jig) on "Celtic Cross." Obviously, this guy didn't whet his frets just listening to new age patriarch William Ackerman. Bet he's got some well-played John McLaughlin and Stanley Jordan albums in his collection. Reeve deserves a lot of praise for not aping his high-minded, whole-grain musical brothers and their cosmic drudgery.