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Lawson Rollins – Full Circle

May 22, 2013

I stand convinced that, in order to be a truly effective Latin or flamenco guitarist, one must be somewhat well-travelled. Just take a look at the world travels of Jesse Cook, Ottmar Liebert, and Johannes Linstead. All are great guitarists with enormous vision. Well, add to that list, guitarist Lawson Rollins who always brings a refreshing pLawson Rollinserspective to his music and transfers that perspective to his fans. The guitarist now brings us what could be considered a commentary on his travels and music: His latest release entitled Full Circle.

Rollins brings to light the beauty of all the world as he offers World-influenced gems here while never relinquishing the Latin flair that yours truly has come to know and love so well. Rollins says, “’Full Circle’ is somewhat of a return to my roots in a sense, with the focus shifting to a sound that is more centered and grounded in the instrument I know best—the nylon string Spanish guitar. I was determined and indeed excited to create a cohesive, guitar-focused album. I had to reign in my instinct to apply layer upon layer of sound to any given track. That’s not to say that ‘Full Circle’ does not have some adventurous musical rides, but the heart of the album can be found in concise musical statements…’Full Circle’ is perhaps the most accurate, pointed expression of my guitar style and approach to melody and songcraft to date.”  Personally, I have always felt that Rollins’ approach to melody and songcraft have been dead-on, but, of course, being the perfectionist that he clearly illustrates that he is, who can argue with the man’s assessment?

This powerful work and the beginning of the circle starts with a rich and melodic rumba called “Momentum” that immediately captures and brings the listener to that point of anticipation of the next track …and the next…and the next. By tossing in an exotic touch of Japanese music, Rollins ensures that the combination is simply irresistible. On its heels is another lesson in Spanish exoticism called “Point of Attraction.” Full of beauty and structured so meticulously, its call is almost hypnotic.

“Pursuit” picks up the rumba pace, and we dance on…atop the wings of Rollins’ vivid and very colorful imagination and musical ingenuity.

A stop in Brazil brings a pair of bossa nova goodies in “Flight” and “Bloom,” while “Serpent’s Tale” takes us and the Latin vibe farther into the World influence. The combination is wonderfully tasteful.

Perhaps my favorite track is “Gone From Here,” an 8-minute riveting piece of melodic art that finds  Rollins on electric guitar, has blinding riffs and a rock-like feel toward the end where there exists a gripping and stirring crescendo.  A masterful demonstration.

Nimble-fingered with lightning speed and possessing a full grasp of the cultures of the world as voiced through his guitar, Lawson Rollins wears his captivating music like a second skin. – Ronald Jackson