Taking blues, reggae, country and avant-garde down a back alley of alternate guitar tunings might seem a fool's errand to most folks, on par with Zig-Zag rolling papers sponsoring a NASCAR event. Yet for Neil Haverstick, who's spent the last fifteen years trying to subvert the Western Hemisphere's over-reliance on the equal-tempered twelve-tone scale, such microtonal strolls through the garden of musical theory can have mystifying results, which is exactly the case with the six-stringer's latest full-length. Equally comfortable playing cockeyed hoedowns ("Jimmy and Joe"), strutting worldbop ("Project 9") or squalling doom rock ("Microseconds"), the fanatically precise Haverstick flexes his muscles as both a scale-climber and a gifted improviser, emphasizing depth of expression with each sonic adventure. While he conjures Steve Morse, King Crimson and John McLaughlin (sometimes in the course of a single tune), the H-stick keeps his rousing tribute to Mother Earth both melodic and accessible. You won't need your slide rule for this one, Poindexter. (See www.microstick.net.)
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