Jimmy Robinson, Three (Independent)

If Woodenhead’s music is just too tricky for your tastes, guitarist Jimmy Robinson’s third solo CD is the perfect entry point. Not that it’s any less tricky.

On the contrary, Robinson navigates daring time signatures and lightning-fast runs with the usual ease. But performing solo on acoustic guitar (with no guests this time, and no apparent overdubs) allows his more lyrical instincts to come through and makes this one of his most accessible records.

For an example of how Robinson’s mind works check the disc’s one cover, the Beatles’ “Blackbird”—the original version of which was also solo acoustic. But Paul McCartney’s signature guitar riff—the one that probably comes to mind as soon as the song is mentioned—appears nowhere in Robinson’s version (nor does the whistling). Instead, he highlights the song’s sense of flight with some appropriately soaring licks of his own.

Unlike most of his band albums, this one finds Robinson singing on four tracks and not doing a bad job of it. He does a thank-you song (“You Rescued Me”) and a fuck-you song (“Done With You”) with equal aplomb.

The two-part “Franciacorta” brings Robinson’s country roots into play with some elegant picking. And for cheap thrills there’s “Rush Hour” whose title reference to a certain Canadian trio has to be intentional, especially since it opens with a quick “Spirit of Radio” quote. Again using just the one guitar, he manages to suggest the sound of that trio in full flight—complete with power riffage, bass/lead exchanges, and even some hand-on-guitar drumming.

It’s not often you find yourself head-shaking to an acoustic solo.