Let It Slide


BLUES REVUE : Issue No. 99 APR/MAY  – Michael Cala

David Holt

Let It Slide

High Windy Audio 1259

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David Holt is a banjo player and instructor whose past repertoire has consisted primarily of old-time Appalachian music. His relatively recent adoption of slide guitar is rooted in tragedy: After losing his only daughter in a car accident, his recollections of the single lesson he’d gotten from Doc Watson’s late son, Merle, on the instrument gave him a reason to stay alive.

Holt’s liner notes list as inspirations contemporary resonator guitar greats Steve James and Bob Bozeman, and he also tips his hat to slide legends Johnny Shines and Tampa Red, Helping out on Let It Slide are Doc Watson and session heavy-weights Sam Bush, Kenny Malone, and Byron House, along with Gina Wammock on background vocals. For those familiar with Holt’s banjo work, it’s a pleasure to note how easily his virtuosity shifts across the instrumental spectrum on these 13 tunes, most of which he penned himself.

The title track opens the album, melding the related styles of slide blues and slow rockabilly to excellent effect. (These twin sensibilities pop up repeatedly.) “Hole in My Heart” and “Got No Use for Lonely” move closer to rock. “Steel Guitar Blues,” a virtual talking blues, flows like slow molasses, enveloping the listener in all that’s seductive about slide guitar. “Shotgun Wedding” features Wammock’s R&B-flavored background vocals, while on “John Hartford’s Farwell,” you can almost hear wind blowing through leafless trees in an instrumental paean to the late banjo and fiddle player.

“(Sittin’ On) Top of the World” stands out as an excellent cover of an old chestnut that sounds as though David Bromberg influenced the in-your-face phrasing. The other highlight is “Trouble in Mind,” to which Holt again attaches the familiar country/rockabilly spin. Holt’s writing is professional and his slide work is excellent.