July-August 2018 | Review of the CD “Two Homes”
James Filkins © Minor 7th
Two Homes is the debut CD for Italian guitarist Danny Trent. Some of his family lives in Toronto, a city for which Danny also feels a kinship, hence the title. Although geography and culture affect all artists, the stronger influences here are musical. Trent pays homage to several of his steel string influences, specifically Tommy Emmanuel on “Capone” and “E.T,” but he also channels Chet Atkins, Jerry Reed and Merle Travis on original compositions like “Hubbard’s Rag,” “Strolling on the Shore” and the Merle Travis cover “Guitar Rag,” which features a very solid “American” sounding vocal from the Italian native. Trent is supremely talented, but his talent per se does not flagrantly steal the spotlight on this CD, because at the core of Trent’s artistry there resides a guitar player’s player. Impressive fretwork exists to serve the melody, and thus skill, melody and musicality fuse to transcend to pure auditory exhilaration. There isn’t a track here that doesn’t have this quality. From energetic Travis style rags like “Hubbard’s Rag” and “Guitar Rag,” as well as Trent’s cover of Renato Carosone’s “Tu vuo fa l’americano” to modernesque percussive finger-style compositions like “Waterfalls” and the sumptuously elegant “Love Thoughts” effused with subtle phrasing, Two Homes offers a variety of finger-style techniques. I am hard pressed to pick favorites here, but “Strolling on the Shore” with its infectious melody and effortless tempo certainly qualifies. It also showcases Tent’s compositional skill. Trent’s take on Carosone’s “Tu vuo fa l’americano” (You wanna be like an American) is an absolute delight, emulating Chet Atkins’ gypsy soul. Undoubtedly, it will bring down the house at any performance. Needless to say it is now on my list to learn. To appreciate Danny Trent’s artistry I encourage a visit his Facebook page and YouTube channel. Everything from covers of Ray Charles to Stevie Ray Vaughn can be found there (yes, he has an electric side). It makes perfect sense that Danny Trent began his foray into guitar at age 12 studying classical guitar and graduated with honors from the Niccolò Piccinni Conservatory in Bari, Italy. He is a classically trained musician who embraces the totality of the music. Not surprisingly, the liner notes of Two Homes indicate his passion for learning music in its original form before embarking on new arrangements. This respect for the masters, be it Mozart or Atkins, is embedded deeply in Trent’s own compositions and style. Danny Trent’s Two Homes is an amalgamation of the past and present, effortlessly appealing to contemporary melodic structure and fluid fretwork, yet clearly intertwining the structure of that foundation that is still the root and inspiration for the guitar player’s journey.