The Close Call / Loughrask

Pieces by Danny Carnahan for Bert Jansch

“Endlessly studying every Jansch recording, I built my early repertoire on his songs, developed my vocal style trying to match his intensity – if not his accent – and put together my finger-style guitar skills largely by copying licks from him. The slow march ‘The Close Call’ builds on the picked melody over repetitive bass rhythm that I first heard and loved played by Pentangle. The ballad that follows, ‘Loughrask,’ I wrote after hearing a local story told in the west of Ireland that deserved a fuller telling. I’d never paid attention to long story ballads until Pentangle, but ballads like Bert’s “Jack Orion” and John’s “Lord Franklin” mesmerized me. This song is probably my clearest hat tip to the heroes who started it all for me.”

“With Bert as the pebble in my pond, the ripples led me to the whole panoply of English, Scottish and Irish acoustic players and then to writing my own songs. I joined the party and never left.’ While I only heard Bert live three times over 30 years, he remained a central touchstone who gave me the guts to make acoustic music the labor and love of my life. To this day, I use the first Bert songs and the open tunings I learned from him as meditations. I feel the instrumental interstitials between verses in my songs owe a huge debt to Bert’s style.”