Ken Aldcroft Group Kirby Sideroad, Randal McIlroy, Manitoba Style, 2004.


For once, a cover image nails the mood of the music within—a quiet road and field at twilight, with a glimmer of urban lights in the distance to keep the ambient spookiness only slightly at bay. Canadian guitarist/composer Ken Aldcroft has long been a subtle player, but this double set prowls closely through crepuscular blues and indigos. “A Strained Hello” begins as a strolling blues before twitching in and out of double time. “Not Far from Home” turns chilly on the brilliant shiver of Joe Sorbara’s cymbals. Aldcroft plays against his own glinting guitar loops in “A Country Mile,” only to open blowing room presently for cohorts Sorbara, bassist Wes Neal and provocative alto saxophonist, Evan Shaw. Reflecting other evocative guitarists, Aldcroft echoes some of Bill Frisell’s Midwestern Americana and Terje Rypdal’s Nordic chill, but the Canadian is his own man.