Good News From Home

Beppe Gambetta
Green Linnet

Acoustic Guitar, December 1995

On his newest CD, Italian flatpicker Beppe Gambetta combines the power and drive of American bluegrass with the grace and gentility of European musical traditions. Joined by friends Mike Marshall on guitar and mandolin, and Todd Phillips on bass, Gambetta moves from bouncy, happy-grass tunes like "Good News from Home" to his somber, elegant "Slow Creek." Gambetta is a fine singer who manages to convincingly sing "East Virginia Blues" despite his accent. (Green Linnet).

WVA Occasional 7/95

Beppe Gambetta's Good News From Home marks Green Linnet's second major foray into the world of bluegrass, the first being Bill Keith's 1992 CD, "Beating Around the Bush." (The label has heretofore has been primarily associated with Celtic and World music). Good News From Home is a fascinating look at the music of a remarkable musician who has almost single-handedly popularized flatpicking throughout Europe, while forging his own unique approach to the guitar along the way. A native of Genoa, Beppe's influences include not only the Italian serenades and mazurkas of his childhood, but Eastern European folk music, Celtic rhythms and bluegrass sensibilities. The result is a unique and vibrant musical mix. For instance, the title track is a Celtic sounding composition (on which Beppe is joined by Todd Phillips on bass and Mike Marshall on mandolin). While the attack is pure bluegrass, the tuning on the guitar is DADGAD. On "Margartin," (sung in the ancient dialect of the Piedmont region of Italy), Beppe sounds like a young Pierre Bensusan with a flatpick. He infuses new life into the old standards '(Leather Britches" and "Soldiers Joy" (played as medley) with a unique arrangement featuring just the guitar and bouzouki. Gene Parsons lends his immense vocal talents on a funky version of "East Virginia Blues." The highlight of the project is probably the reprise of "Slow Creek" (from Beppe's debut "Duets" LP). This tune, a gorgeous mouth-watering slowed down version of "Salt Creek," is probably the one most associated with Beppe. Only a true master of his craft can make the slow tunes sing. Don't try this one at home without adult supervision. - Green Linnet Records, 43 Beaver Brook Road, Danbury, CT 06810(203-730-0333).

Victory Review, July 1995

Wonderful! Mr. Gambetta consistently casts musical spells, taking you to time and world far away. Whether to his homeland of Italy of the hills of East Virginia, you will find yourself wandering with him. Beppe Gambetta is a musician (magician) to be trusted. He is an accomplished guitarist, performing original and traditional pieces with flourish. A dozen different acoustic instruments, folk and classical, accompany Gambetta in various configurations. Equally effectively, he performs solo. Singing in Italian and English, his believable baritone becomes the story. This is traditional folk music at its finest.

Rhythm Music Magazine, September 1995

Lots of ink has been spilled over worldbeat influences on American music. But far less has been said about American music inspiring musicians abroad. Genoan singer/guitarist Beppe Gambetta is living proof that America exports more than Madonna. For a time Gambetta toured with New Grass icon Tony Trischka, and Gambetta’s guitar wizardry evokes bluegrass stylings, especially those of Doc Watson.

But this is no mere novelty album in which an Italian covers American folk songs. Rather, Gambetta brings his influences to bear on songs and tunes collected or inspired from around the globe. "Kiwi," for example, came out of New Zealand. It was co-written with Grey Larsen, and the piece sounds like one of Metamora’s more melodic offerings. on "Moravian Journey," Gambetta applies Watson-like flatpicking to two gypsy tunes, mixes them with Petr Panek’s dulcimer-like cybalo and Martin Hrbac’s scratchy fiddle to spice the piece with Appalachian shadings. On the title cut, his guitar bears the jauntiness of Scottish music; on "Beyond the Breeze" he travels to Sardinia and adds New Age flavoring. Perhaps the most unusual piece it "Duet for One," an aural illusion he accomplishes on a guitar/bouzouki cross-breed with four double strings. In addition to his instrumental artistry, Gambetta is also a smooth vocalist. There’s a charming rendition of "East Virginia Blues," complete with Gene Parsons on backup vocals. It sounds a bit like Tom Rush with an Italian accent!

New Country, May 1995

The beauty of mountain music, i.e. fleet picking ,sophisticated strumming and a generally genial vibe, is all over the string virtuoso’s debut date. But we’re not talking hoe-down here - these mountains surround the Mediterranean. Beppe Gambetta is a native of Genoa, Italy, and the shrinking planet syndrome (we’re all in each other’s business as the century fades, right?) informs the wide-perspective of his heartfelt new-grass. In it, you hear both the buzz of cobblestone marketplaces and the relaxed fantasia of the Smokeys. There hasn’t been an acoustic guitar date as sunny or engaging since Russ Barenberg debuted with his irrefutably classic Cowboy Calypso. I bet Gambetta’s familiar with Barenberg’s melodies; Gambetta’s inspired writing offers themes nearly as strong. He’s aided by domestic players who know how to make these styles flourish. Mike Marshall and Todd Phillips offer their patented lyricism, and settings are intermittently enhanced by accordions, cellos and dobros. each is cast in contexts unusual enough to reinvigorate its initial character. Harmonies by ex-Byrd Gene Parsons (where’s that Warners reissue of his wonderful Kindling?) enhance Gambetta’s moony vocals. Though trad gypsy tunes liven things up, it’s the "slow, intimate atmosphere" the guitarist rightly claims as his main musical sensibility that says the most.. The measured emotions within that viewpoint provide Good News From Home with its dreamy eloquence.

Pulse! April 1995

New album most likely to make fledgling flatpicker put his (or her) guitar in the closet: As if the likes of Dan Crary aren’t enough, along comes some guy named Beppe Gambetta with Good News From Home (Green Linnet/Redbird). It’s just what us barely competent string-plinkers need (yeah, right)-another acoustic guitar-flatpicking monster whose superhuman grace on the instrument shows the rest of us unblessed-by-deity folks just how far we have to go to pass muster. The grim truth here is that damn few of us will ever attain the sort of fretboard godhead achieved on this album’s quite beautiful closer, "Nino e Pasquale."

In the Walnut Valley Festival list of artists: