Peppino D'Agostino House Concert:
It Was a Good Friday in Ringwood
A Feature Article by Rich and Laura Lynch

Peppino D'Agostino was born in Italy. In the 1980's he moved to San Francisco, California to pursue a career in music. Peppino is an award winning guitarist who collaborates, composes and sometimes sings. D'Agostino has been called a poet for his memorable melodies. Peppino describes his style as "Minestrone Music" since he melds flavors from classical, ethnic, folk, pop and world into his songs. Peppino has released over a dozen albums along with instructional/performance DVSs. D'Agostino has a new record Penumbra coming out in 2014.

Peppino D'Agostino House Concert - It Was a Good Friday in Ringwood
Peppino D'Agostino makes a satisfying return to Ringwood, New Jersey.

Peppino D'Agostino performed at Live @ Drew's in Ringwood, New Jersey on April 18, 2014. Drew has been hosting diverse concerts for over a decade. Drew has a great ear for music. He has featured D'Agostino on several occasions. first heard Peppino at Drew's in 2011. We returned this spring remembering how much we enjoyed the last D'Agostino show.

Drew introduced Peppino recalling that D'Agostino was the "third person to ever play here" when the house series was in its early stages back in 1999. Many artists have come back to Drew's because he attracts audiences who are appreciative and attentive. In his comments that night Peppino said "its nice to play here for many reasons...this is special... having you so close."

D'Agostino armed with an acoustic guitar along with an effects pedal board opened with an intricate instrumental that combined leads and rhythms. Peppino's fret work was fast and fluid with foot taps adding to the beat. He mentioned that he would be playing new material including the next piece that showcased dynamic yet subtle strumming.

In addition to being entertaining, Peppino was also an educator. During his set he demonstrated what hammering and open tuning was. "Street Pulse" from the Nine White Kites album was an example of expressing percussion through the guitar. Peppino's fingers walked the fret as he blending hammering and tapping on the body of the guitar to craft a pulse that he mixed in with traditional strumming.

The next song was an example of open tuning in which he set the strings to Es and Bs because you "can create new chords that resonate," explained D'Agostino. Using this trick he performed the title track from Penumbra. The song had elements of classical minimalism as it explored musical lights and shadows.

"You are a wonderful audience, here is another piece where I use strange tuning," shared Peppino. "Nine White Kites" soared on nifty notes. D'Agostino's fingers floated over the strings as he utilized a variation of techniques. He then played a number of "standards" including an Argentinean tango - a tantalizing dance of layered leads and rhythm. He played another track from his forthcoming album that he described as having African and Irish influences. The instrumental was an animated assortment of structures and styles.

For "The Blue Ocean" song he asked the audience to close their eyes so that they could really hear this balled, thus we meditated on Peppino's melodic music as it washed over us. The next song D'Agostino sang in Italian sharing that it was about a carpenter who had a famous son. "Giuseppe" (Joseph) was about a brave man. Although we did not understand the words it was a poetic and pretty tune. Someone requested "Cowboy Minestrone" a savory stew of American blue grass music with Italian flavors. After the concert Peppino met with fans and signed stuff including Penumbra which has an official release date of 8/4/2014 but was available at Drew's that night.

It was Good Friday and it was another good or should we say great concert at Live @ Drew's. Peppino was a true pro yet very personable. Upcoming events at Drew's will feature Bobby Messano (4/26), Tangiers Blues Band (5/17), Simon Felice (5/23), Matthew Ryan (5/30) and the Jesse Malin Band (6/14). Please follow link below for more information about Live @ Drew's.

Related Links: For more information on PEPPINO D'AGOSTINO and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - Peppino D'Agostino | Live @ Drew's Mailing List | 2011 Peppino D'Agostino Concert Review

(Originally Published on April 24, 2014)




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