Is there a greater acoustic guitar miraculist anywhere? How do the five fingers of the human lump and wires on a box of wood become at once so insouciant and inscrutable and incandescent? “This is the most beautiful name I ever heard,” he says of “Mona Ray” in the liner notes. Jeeze, I don’t think it’s such a great name. But, by god, this is one of the most beautiful guitar pieces I ever heard. Monstrous twelve string finger picking in beautiful duet with Mike Johnsen on a six string (at least that’s my guess at the instrumentation). Here we have an almost Elizabethan appoggiatos, and then a delicate descending folk melody, and now there a resplendent strumming air. And it returns again and again to the melody, and each turn is more unspeakably – well, beautiful – than the preceding. And then suddenly it ends, and we are. . . just here, in the silence.
Leo Kottke, Dreams and All That Stuff, Capitol Records, St-11335 (1974). Album Design – John Van Hamersveld.