Guitar Player Magazine
Complete Review from the April 2001 Issue:
The Country Blues Guitar of Catfish Keith
"The sterile atmosphere of a video studio is not always conductive to lively, inspiring performance. But guitarist Catfish Keith throws down as if he's playing to a rowdy roomful of moonshine-swilling fans on The Country Blues Guitar of Catfish Keith ($29.95). After serving up greasy, fingerstyle arrangements in the styles of Mance Lipscomb, John Lee Hooker, and the Rev. Robert Wilkins, Keith sheds light on the bottleneck magic of Bukka White and Blind Willie Johnson. And while the tunes are simple -- some are just one-chord vamps -- they are not easy.
The opener, "Eagle Bird," showcases Keith's percussive, string-snapping technique, along with his cool use of artificial harmonics and banjo rolls. He explains all the techniques in a logical, down-home manner and, thanks to the righteous split-screen shots, you can always see exactly what's going on.
One thing that might surprise students is Keith's extensive use of bending. He doesn't just bend single notes, either. He bends entire chords -- as well as the neck and body of his guitar -- to wrench emotion from what he describes as "bone-simple" songs.
Throughout Country Blues Guitar, Keith is an engaging performer and teacher. He emphasizes funk over precision and vibe over intonation -- important lessons you don't find in many videos. Keith is a great resource for quirky, percussive fingerpicking patterns, and the techniques are not limited to country blues -- they'll also work great in funk and rock. Knock yourself out."
Homespun Tapes, Box 340, Woodstock, NY 12498; (914) 246-2550; homespuntapes.com
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