This is a huge step as Ian Siegal takes time away from his bands and plays the Royal Albert Hall solo. He lets us all see that he is not just a flashy guitar player, but an innovative and entertaining performer. This performance is ten songs, four of which he wrote; the others are divided between some big name writers (Tom Russell, Stephen Foster) and traditional material. This set puts him out there with just his guitar and personality to perform before a full, lively audience.
Siegal’s songs keep the crowd entertained, and his stage patter is kept to a minimum, yet he shows himself to be able to ad-lib and keep things interesting and moving. The songs are from all over the place, from the country tinged “The Silver Spurs” to the bluesy slide work on “Mortal Coil Shuffle.” A heart-rending take on Tom Russell’s “Gallo Del Cielo” is especially affecting.
Siegal is a performer of the utmost modesty: on the Charley Patton song, “Pony Blues,” which has an intricate introduction, he proclaims, “Ah I already goofed it.” However, aside from that note (which probably went unnoticed) his guitar playing is spot on, whether it’s electric, acoustic, or slide. Siegal is a performer that deserves to be heard for his outstanding playing, his voice, and versatility, and Man & Guitar is an excellent example of that.
– Bob Gottlieb