Skunk In The Alley
This is a one man show, and it is impressive. Asti plays all of the instruments and moves between bluegrass and old-time music. He wrote three of the tunes here, including the title-track. He does an impressive job of twin banjos on “Reuben’s Train 45,” and his mandolin, fiddle and guitar breaks are all on par with what one would be hearing from touring bands.
He varies the tenor and flow of the music by featuring different instruments, lending a nice variety to the music. He has a bluegrass picker’s sensibility about melodies, and they often are treated as a point of departure for improvisation. He is adept at clawhammer and the three-finger bluegrass approach to the banjo. He displays his flatpick guitar licks early on in this project. More impressive are his fingerpicked chops on the original “Gin And Tonic Rag.” His take on “Over The Waterfall” features his guitar flatpicked in drop-D tuning and his mandolin in a rolling attack that brings out an almost Celtic feel to the tune. His fiddling throughout the project is appropriate, but is featured nicely on the old tune associated with the late Gaither Carlton, “Double File.”
Asti is an impressive multi-instrumentalist who presents a program of mostly traditional material and three originals on which he demonstrates his abilities on five instruments. Yes, he even plays the bass here. This is a fun romp through 11 instrumental pieces that demonstrate his firm grasp of bluegrass and his awareness of old-time music.
REVIEWED BY ROBERT C. BUCKINGHAM