It’s not Camel…it’s Dromedary! This music ain’t prog…it’s magick! Executed during live in-studio sessions and a separate intimate concert in the guitarists’ home turf of Athens, Georgia, Rob McMaken and Andrew Reissiger—who perform on acoustic 6-string guitar, charango, Appalachian dulcimer, mandolin, and dobro—cover traditional pieces as well as originals, and even offer up a sparkling rendition of Radiohead’s “Airbag.”
The first set is comprised largely of non-originals,
and is no less enjoyable, from the pristine flamencine beauty of Paredes’ “Melodia,” to the rural ode of Daniel Thonon’s “Ukrainian Stomp,” to the public domain piece, “Wayfaring Stranger.” “Klezmer Girl,” the only original in this segment, finds Reissiger’s quick charango strumming married perfectly to McMaken’s suspended chords and melodic underpinnings. The aforementioned “Wayfaring Stranger,” a Southern traditional, may be
the first half’s best selection.
The second half of Make Believe was recorded at Athens’ Healing Arts Centre, with guest dobroist Ryan McMaken and violinist Andrej Kurti on four of the six tracks. The Dromedary duo open the set with the aptly-titled “Charangabia”—that should be self-explanatory. The interlaced sonic qualities of the Appalachian dulcimer & dobro steam things up a bit on “Cassiopeia’s Dance,” then ease down on the laidback “Four Camels Waltzing” for a lengthy crescendo led by Kurti’s violin. The Arabic motif laid down between dobro & charango seems to be a recurring element in Dromedary's music, if just one aspect of their magnificent sound. After the duo treatment of “Wind Melody,” the quartet is back for “Vaisa.” The pretending ends all too soon—for now—with a rousing live version of “Ukrainian Stomp.”
Solponticello is a small label that keeps turning out winner after winner. Acoustic~musick hounds would do well to acquire Live From The Make Believe and Dromedary's labelmates’ releases—all tread similar territory staked out by Strunz & Farah, Michael Hedges, and Acoustic Alchemy. The new alternative music?