CD review of "Cool Tunes Compilation" at
Folk Acoustic Music Exchange
See the review at http://www.acousticmusic.com/fame/p03828.htm
CD review at Bridge
Guitar Magazine review
of "Not A Planet"
|Penguin Eggs Review Not A Planet (Independent) – By Kevin Cardmore
Don Alder is the third Canadian fingerstyle guitarist to place first at the coveted Walnut Valley Fingerstyle Competition in Winfield, KS. He shares his achievement with Don Ross (1988, 1996) and Bob Evans (2003).
This is no simple feat. Any player who has aspired to the required level of playing to place first certainly has the chops to create guitar wizardry.
Don Alder’s latest, Not A Planet, is a strong case in point. The 13 tracks are comprised of his fine guitar work and voice, along with such collaborations as Sayonara.calm with bassist Michael Manring, Ms. Diana with harpist Julia Thornton, and Don on harp guitar in Man From Lady Lane with pianist Brad Hoyt.
Alder pulls out all the stops in Taiwan Traffic Jam, a piece that demonstrates his trademark rapid percussive and melodic style.
6Ft Tall and Haunting Me are songs that leave the listener with a strong impression of Alder as a singer-songwriter. Not A Planet is a fine mix of his many styles and influences, along with graceful accompaniment by several notable musicians.
& Acoustic Music Exchange by Mark S. Tucker Review
of "Not A Planet"
to original review
Now familiar with Don Alder's work, I could hardly
wait for this disc to issue, but, while I sat impatient,
he had an honor accorded him, becoming the first Canadian
winner of the Walnut Valley Festival International
Fingerstyle Championship, a well respected guitar
venue. This CD richly demonstrates the wisdom of the
Walnut Valley judges, but it also opens a bit more
widely what had previously been only an afterthought:
his vocal work.
last disc was a trove of very considerable depth,
and this continues that but with a difference: the
time in between has bestowed an even easier confidence
than was otherwise apparent. The first two cuts alone
are almost cocksure, so breezily brimming with perfection
that it takes merely the first few bars of The Wall
(dedicated to his buddy, the astonishing wheelchair
mega-athlete Rick Hansen) to completely arrest the
listener. Then the second attribute hits: most of
this is duet, trio, and group work, divinely indexed
as such. The backing quartet sounds as though it's
been a two-decade road ensemble for the guy (and Tim
Tweedale's understatedly bittersweet slide work can
be wrenching), foursquare in harmony in every manner.
comes 6ft. Tall, the first vocal cut, and Alder unwraps
an upbeat almost David Wilcox-ish timbre of positivity,
infectious and definitely ear-catching. There's a
bit of Michael Tomlinson as well (and, man, wasn't
that guy a wonder!) but none of this affects for a
moment the guitarwork, which is sparkling, here underscored
by Mark Olexson's spunky Hammond. Like Wilcox, Alder
shifts tunings constantly from cut to cut, only once
strictly standard. Sayonara.calm wafts through the
speakers, and the bass player has to be instantly
unmistakable. I grabbed the liner and, sure enough:
Michael Manring. Only he and Mark Egan play a fretless
quite that way, and his duet with Don is as solid
as a chamber recital, a brilliant demonstration of
melody and variation in a gauzily mellifluous vein,
slow, every note a finely cut gem.
you haven't yet had enough of the guys who sound like
two to three players at once, the fourth cut, Mr.
Anderson, is a bouncily swinging track that's exactly
that. With just the guitarist isolated in this and
three other cuts, the listener gets full doses of
his acumen point blank, and they're stunning (hey,
he hangs with Andy McKee, so this ain't jes' my opinion,
Jeeter). Haunting Me shows up further on to unfold
the folk-blues Alder's capable of, singing in a wistfully
defiant fashion of love never had while remaining
a frustrating and tantalizing possibility. It is,
in fact, my favorite cut, and I'd never have thought
that possible amid such a instrumental feast, yet…there's
just something about it that glides between several
levels and stays in the ear and mind.
Eggs Review –
By Kevin Cardmore-
Don Alder Not A Planet (Independent)
Alder is the third Canadian fingerstyle guitarist
to place first at the coveted Walnut Valley Fingerstyle
Competition in Winfield, KS. He shares his achievement
with Don Ross (1988, 1996) and Bob Evans (2003). This
is no simple feat. Any player who has aspired to the
required level of playing to place first certainly
has the chops to create guitar wizardry. Don Alder’s
latest, Not A Planet, is a strong case in point. The
13 tracks are comprised of his fine guitar work and
voice, along with such collaborations as Sayonara.calm
with bassist Michael Manring, Ms. Diana with harpist
Julia Thornton, and Don on harp guitar in Man From
Lady Lane with pianist Brad Hoyt. Alder pulls out
all the stops in Taiwan Traffic Jam, a piece that
demonstrates his trademark rapid percussive and melodic
6Ft Tall and Haunting Me are songs that leave the
listener with a strong impression of Alder as a singer-songwriter.
Not A Planet is a fine mix of his many styles and
influences, along with graceful accompaniment by several
Minor 7th Reviews
Alder "The Best of Don Alder", 2005 Top-notch
guitar fingerstylist Don Alder compiles a dozen gems
from his formidable collection that's as pleasant as
it's impressive. Based in Vancouver, British Columbia,
Alder intertwines his fingerpicking with percussion
on his soundboard for a smooth but surprisingly propulsive
effect. This solo, acoustic, instrumental disc features
Alder's own compositions, which are invariably marked
by their expressiveness. They range from the galloping
Western of "Nutberry Farm" to the bittersweet
"Marshall's Lanai" to the swinging "Granny
on the Run." His liner notes reveal compositional
tidbits, adding to the fun, and also offer a glimpse
into the huge heart of this versatile musician.
Minor 7th Reviews
Alder "The Acoustiholic", 2003 Most artists
who arrive on the scene with acoustic guitar-in-hand
proclaim themselves as either fingerstylists or singer-songwriters,
but hardly ever both. Don Alder is an artist able to
wear both hats quite comfortably. The former Winfield
competitor and student of Don Ross can kick up his heels
instrumentally (as on "Granny on the Run")
but can also put his vocals and songwriting up on ear-catching
display ("Haunting Me").
read the Review
Nine CD review
time ago, I had the pleasure of sharing the bill with Don
Alder and it took me no time to find out how cool a guitarist
he is....hes got it all!!! Unlike the way he bashes
the guitar top and everything, Don is a very friendly/caring
person, making you feel like youve known him for a long
time.....I certainly felt that way when I first met him. Music-wise,
Don Alder simply ROCKS with his one-man-band style. Hes
also a groove lover and I gotta like that!!!!!!!!!
Luthier, Greenfield Guitars
Don has a charged and rhythmic guitar style that is rich in
tonal color. When listening to Dons playing his command
of the instrument is evident and his talent as a composer
hard to beat. Dons performances and repertory palette
run the emotional gamut. It just doesnt get much better
than this! Don is Canadas secret fingerstyle weapon
only a matter of time until everyone discovers this world
class player. I am honored to have Don endorsing my guitars.
Band Teacher, Terry Fox Senior Secondary
Don, thanks again for your willingness to perform for us.
The concert you gave was one of the highlights of the year
for me. Good luck with your upcoming competitions!! I think
it was a huge testament to you and your performance that so
many of our students wanted to stay behind to talk to you
and ask questions following your concert. I thought if was
fabulous the way you invited them to the stage and then kept
them enthralled with your answers to their questions and your
explanations of some of your playing techniques. Well done
and thanks again.
Bob Norvelle, Luthier,
Thanks for playing my guitars at Santa Rosa. I was impressed
by your wide range of techniques, especially the Hedges-style
right hand tapping and the left hand over the top of the neck
a la Preston Reed. Your skill with DADGAD tuning particularly
suited the 26.5" scale length of the Rosewood dreadnought.
It's always a thrill to hear one's own guitars in the hands
of a competent player, but your strong technique and warm
vocals was a real treat.
Festival Organizer/ Musician,
Kispiox Valley Music Festival
"I want to thank you for your delightful festival
spirit and for sharing your wonderfully creative and inspiring
music with us. Your amazing talent yet down to earth presence
has contributed to the Kispiox Valley Music Festival's continuing
Owner, The Purple Crab
"Don is the very very best in Fingerstyle guitar that
we have seen at the Purple Crab. We have asked him to host
our open mic on Wednesdays."
John, the band "Lotus"
"Don Alder is by acclaim the *best* talent to walk through
our doors. He writes great songs, and his fingerstyle technique
is both powerful and elegant. "
is one of Vancouver's best kept secrets."
Graham-Gaudreau and Anita Adams, www.alibiunplugged.com
Music Co-Ordinator and Founder of the Alibi Unplugged Script
" What a thrill to have the wonderfully talented Don
Alder perform at our event, the Alibi Unplugged Script Reading
Series, in May. A strong, ear- pleasing voice, smart lyrics
and truly impressive fingerstyle guitar- this guy has it all,
and brings it to every song. Usually at the Alibi, the film
savvy crowd is busy drinking and schmoozing, waiting for the
film script reading to begin, while the musician provides
background music. Not this time. The 200 -seat Arts Club Revue
Theatre filled up early, as people were pulled from the bar
and lobby once they heard Don's sweet tunes pouring forth.
Truly a pleasure- we can't wait to have Don back for another
special occasion- if we are lucky enough to get him again!
Jason Simpson, Luthier,
It was a pleasure meeting you and having you demo my guitars.
You're one of the most dynamic players I have heard. You are
very talented at what you do! I wish you the best in your
Rose, Fingerstyle Guitarist, www.heartwoodmusic.com
Don, just wanted to touch base again. I caught your next-to-last
demo at the Guitar Fest and particularly liked your "Granny
on the Run" piece. Great stuff you are doing with your
right hand. I was expecting smoke to start rising...
Rick Micheletti, Luthier,
I was so impressed with Don Alder's performance at the Healdsburg
Guitar Festival this year. I found his imaginative playing
style, ranging from explosive to gentle, to be a thrill to
hear and see. Coupled with an excellent voice, he is definitely
on my list of favorite musicians: Peppino D'Agostino, Pierre
Bensusan, Michael Hedges and Leo Kottke to name a few.
Krueger, Promotions, Purple Crab, www.soundclick.com/bands/1/willykruegerband.htm
"Few musicians in Vancouver can match Don Alder's wonderful
gift for using his guitar both sonically and percusively to
create such intricate rythmic mood expressions. One must wonder
how many would-be aspiring guitar players have watched him
perform ( * Don has hosted Wed night open mic's at the Purple
Crab for the past two years), only to stoop their heads in
shame and vow to someday rise up and play as well as him.
(Or perhaps, (wink) just give up guitar all together and instead
focus on playing bass.)."
Pierce, Artist, www.adriennepierce.com
Don Alder is a one very talented man. Although he often sounds
like two very talented men or three or four. Whenever Don
plays the room gets quiet and people strain to listen, and
move to a place where they can see his hands flying across
the strings. Which is great because otherwise I would feel
compelled to shush the crowd so that I could hear every note.