I wish I had known Dave Giegerich, but after listening to this album, I feel like I did. Recorded between 2008 and 2010, this was Dave’s gift to the world as he battled an almost inconceivable series of ailments: throat cancer, aplastic anemia, and finally complications from a bone marrow transplant that took his life in December 2010.
With the production help of Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer and the added tracks in April 2011 by Rickie Simpkins, Jimmy Gaudreau, Ralph Gordon, Cathy Fink, Marcy Marxer, Richard Ward and Gary Ferguson, the album was completed and released under the loving guidance of Dave’s wife Pam McLeod. This is not a tribute album; it’s a full-throated burst of life from someone who clearly lived with a sense of the possibility inherent in every minute and every measure. Dave’s playing covers a wide range of styles, all done with respect to the genre, but with a playful creativity that keeps you listening.
Of the 19 tracks here, 15 are solidly in the bluegrass/acoustic style, and four from his Hawaiian band, the Hula Monsters. When that band kicks into “Cat’s Eyeland,” if you can keep from buying a ticket to the islands, you’re more disciplined than I. There are so many great moments on this recording. One of the best is Dave’s version of “Isa Lei,” a traditional Fijian farewell song, made poignant by the circumstances, but given a joyful interpretation by Dave.
Giegerich played with many bluegrass artists: Mac Wiseman, Jimmy Arnold, Bobby Hicks, Gary Ferguson, Wayne Taylor & Appaloosa, and others. He was a sideman in the best sense of the term—always making the song and the artist shine. He was also an effective and much-loved teacher, having taught at ResoSummit in 2008 and 2009. He is missed by family, friends and the wide musical world he inhabited so gracefully and humbly. This album will keep his playing and his memory alive for many generations of resonator guitarists to discover. I’ve run out of stars to give it. Highly recommended. (Pam McLeod, 3731 Crossbow Ct., Ellicott City, MD 20142, www.davegiegerich.com.) CVS