The first time you hear Treehouse by Ned Evett you might wonder what makes his album so special. If you have to ask that then it’s time to give up listening to music and perhaps find yourself a safer more mundane hobby such as collecting stamps.
For anyone growing up in the 1980’s and seeing the cover of the Dire Straits album, Brothers In Arms, one of the most vivid and iconic images is that of a steel cased guitar that adorns the sleeve. It’s stunning and beautiful. Keep that image, magnify it by about a hundred and you are close to what Ned Evett has managed to achieve on Treehouse.
Where the two albums differ is of course the approach, style and general accessibility of the music. The music of Mark Knopfler may have taken the standard up a notch with the amazing lyrics and superb guitar riffs but Ned Evett has one thing that makes Mark Knopfler sound like a man fiddling around with a two string guitar he found in a garage sale. The difference is in the guitar itself, surely no other musician could ever construct an entire album around the sound of a fretless glass necked guitar. That’s up there with playing football with an orange or writing a best seller in a café whilst drinking tea to keep warm. It’s unheard of but its real and it gives the blues an extra edge and a dimension that makes angels scream in joy. Forget the image of a steel guitar, the guitar is dead, long live the fretless newcomer.
The album itself hums all the way through, it appeals even to those whose interest in blues is tempered to the idea of a lonely man wailing about his lack of love from his dog. This new sound gives an upbeat image to an old dusty tune, on songs such as Pure Evil and Dead On A Saturday Night; the listener is left in a permanent and somewhat joyful daze, not sure whether to be disturbed by the lyrics and subject matter or just be thankful that the tune was even created.
Treehouse is not only a joy to listen to but it but it defines a new era in music playing.
Ian D. Hall