The Fifth Row
(Bridger Artists)


A novel approach to recording an album of solo guitar music, the 2009 CD release of The Fifth Row: An Acoustic Tour Of Historic Theaters finds guitarist Stuart Weber recording an album’s worth of new music from the stages of some of the legendary old movie / music hall theaters of the Northern Rockies. Being based in Montana, Weber takes listeners on a guided tour of some of the historic old time theaters constructed in the 1920’s and ‘30s in Montana, Utah, Idaho and Colorado. For these concert stage recordings, Weber would be asleep by 7pm, wake up at midnight and start recording on the stages of the empty theaters at 3AM. From his amazing liner notes, Weber adds, ‘While theaters may have been designed with acoustic excellence in mind, they were built long before the rumble of heavy truck traffic. If my recordings were to succeed, it would have to be while the town slept.’ In the ghostlike quietude of these historic old theaters, performing alone, Weber recorded a number of classical favorites mixing in several new original tunes. Few guitarists today are as adept as Weber when it comes to revisiting classical masters like Telemann, Bartók and Dvožák and when combined with his own inventive Americana approach to solo guitar music, Weber’s latest CD establishes a new standard in guitar excellence. Weber’s notes on making this unique CD are a revelation and the detailed CD booklet is filled with gorgeous color pictorials and descriptions of each of these historic, fascinating old American theaters. As if summing up his emotions recording in these nearly forgotten music palaces from yesteryear, The Fifth Row fittingly closes out with Weber’s solo guitar transcription of Samuel Ward’s 1882 composition “America The Beautiful,” recorded at the Ellen Theatre in Weber’s hometown of Bozeman, Montana.


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