Willy Porter Willy Porter

Porter's guitar technique should be called orchestral finger style, because when he plays solo acoustic it sounds like he has an entire friggin' orchestra backing him up. It's this ability for one man to sound like a full band - percussive beats, deep hitting bass lines, treble-bound strumming and melody lines interspersed throughout - that have allowed him to stand alone on coliseum-sized stages opening for the likes of Sting, Jeff Beck and Paul Simon. This self-titled release is more about collaboration though. Most of the tracks are assisted on by a full band, turning Porter's ingenious and unusual solo material into more commonplace songs. He's backed up at times by Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson (bamboo flute) and King Crimson's Tony Levin (bass), and "All Fall Down" was co-written with Barenaked Lady Ed Robertson and Verve Piper Donny Brown. The recording is crisp and broad, with songs bent on narratives as much as prominent beats. In the end, though, the best material is still the solo album opener "Breathe" and "How Did You Know," with Porter accompanying himself simply on acoustic and e-bow guitars. (Six Degrees)