Exposé Online banner

Prester John — Desire for a Straight Line
(Innova 774, 2010, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2011-06-01

Desire for a Straight Line Cover art

Prester John this time is Shawn Persinger on acoustic guitar and David Miller on mandolin, weaving beautiful intertwining rhythms and melodies, with some amazing lead fretwork from both players as the two mix it up with a preponderance of chops. The smart and agile compositions seem to draw from ideas borne of a mix of jazz, bluegrass, classical, folk, and world music, with Persinger’s progressive rock roots never far from the surface. Working in 100% instrumental mode, each piece brims with spry wit and a fascination for exploration, combining concepts and styles into a brilliant result that is at once challenging but completely listenable. The guitar and mandolin occupy different ranges, and thus never get in the way of one another, but instead complement each other perfectly and allow the listener to focus on either or both. At times this might seem like a meeting between David Grisman and John McLaughlin exploring styles outside of their usual comfort zone. A few of the titles reference other players (Mike Sary, David Kerman, and Janet Feder), perhaps a nod to those who provided inspiration for the compositions? Don’t let the short length of this review dissuade you; some music is just too adroit for words. Instead, make a straight line to your favorite online music outlet and buy this one!


Filed under: New releases, Issue 39, 2010 releases

Related artist(s): Shawn Persinger (Prester John)

Latest news

2017-05-19
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more

2017-05-05
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more

2017-05-02
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more

2017-04-16
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

The Underground Railroad - The Origin of Consciousness – I found the Underground Railroad’s debut CD to be an uneven affair. Some parts were very good, others less interesting, and in general, the band seemed to be in search of a direction. With their...  (2006) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues