By Paul Acquaro
When we last heard from pedal steel master Susan Alcorn, she had just released the stunning recasting of Astor Piazzolla's tango compositions for solo pedal steel guitar. It was an ambitious and exquisite record. On Evening Tales, a new collection of solo pieces, we are drawn even deeper into her musical universe - it's definitely more expansive than just a musical world - as Alcorn delivers a set of tracks that explores the entire range of what the pedal steel can do.
It has been noted before that it is wonderful to hear an instrument so iconic to country and western music recast in a jazz setting, and even more so to be deconstructed into the avant-garde. Alcorn is wizard-like in her attention to the instrument, in concert she moves effortlessly above and below the table of strings. There is no brute force used here, and I do not detect other effects, the sound is one of pure discovery and mastery, where one moment we're spiraling through the cosmos ('Sapphire') and the other listening to some rather baroque ('Milonga En Re').
Ethereal, haunting, and highly recommended!