American Primitivism is a musical style originated by guitarist John Fahey in the late 1950s. By blending avant-garde and neo-classical compositions with traditional country blues fingerpicking techniques, the primitive guitar style was a major component of Fahey’s Takoma Records label.
The high and lonesome cosmic hobo from the USA. Since way back when Paul Metzger has been experimenting, playing his art-guitar complete with a crash cymbal mounted to its bottom and his distinct heavily modified 23 string banjo. In 2003 he went public playing out sets of his own music, part old time strung out blues and raga’s and part deep listening compositions that wind their way through you inner ear. This is not however the limit… what he can do with his instruments live also includes clangorous, rapidly punctuated percussive workouts that blow audiences away. He pulls the listener inwards and then takes them out the backdoor to experience the other.
Tombeaux (2013) attains a new high-water mark in the career of Paul Metzger, one of North America’s greatest instrumentalists. Recorded in the dead of Minnesota winter, at home and alone, it’s the eighth Metzger release to feature his self-modified, 23-string banjo. […] Metzger summons the spirits of his musical Appalachian forefathers, guitarist Django Reinhardt and classical sitarist Nikhil Banerjee, among others, weaving a peerless, highly individualistic style that sounds unlike anyone but himself. Metzger’s playing doesn’t imitate raga structures so much as use those modal figures as his starting point. He employs dazzling, breviloquent string plucks on the main banjo strings, whilst producing rhythmic, droning textures on the cross strings of an added bridge. Some have suggested similarities to the works of John Fahey or Sandy Bull, but Metzger’s modus operandi doesn’t constitute a mirroring of those styles; rather, he composes and operates apart from their music, in an insular and altogether separate universe. In the process, Metzger transcends and expands the lexicon in a wholly organic manner.