The title of Nestlerode’s debut album is More than a Little Guitar and rarely has there ever been a more apt title to emerge with. Armed solely with his trusted mandolin Nestolerode has been performing up and down the country as a solo act and in the instance of his album we finally have the chance to hear him backed up a series of uplifting guitar tunes. Many of these guitar tunes are provided by himself but there are tracks on which he is accompanied by musicians such as Brooks Williams and Chris Pepper who often provide backing either vocally or musically. Virginia Claire is especially notable as Nestolerode even employs a tender slide guitar, giving his music a slightly richer quality.
Nestlerode’s work has an undisputable charm to it, much of which stems from the beautiful, soothing and humble pickings of the mandolin. He surrounds himself with the unique and charming sound from a clear and honest instrument that never fails to retain a charmed and upbeat quality to it. Even when he adapts his skills to songs such as Long Black Veil and Two Soldiers, both tender and emotive songs that hang slightly shy of being cheerful, his trusty mandolin raises the bar and avoids melancholia from setting in with its rich, jovial tones. This upbeat attitude is carried within each of his songs, leaving us with tender messages and dancing, upbeat tales that leave you smiling from ear to ear.
Another element of Nestlerode’s immutable charm is born from his charismatic American lilt which floats through his songs like the suns rays. Rich and vibrant, not too dissimilar to the vocal styling’s of Alan Doyle from Great Big Sea, his voice is tender, caring and earnest. When combining these vocals to his considerable musical talent and his dextrous finger picking it makes for a fascinating and delightful album that is filled with pleasure. More than a Little Guitar allows Nestlerode not only to show off his astounding adaptations of classical tunes such as St. Anne’s Reel / Whiskey Before Breakfast and Bury me Beneath the Willow but also to introduce us to his own amiable original material such as the stirring song All the Things you Are, written for his child.
More than a Little Guitar is an articulate and captivating album that does exactly what it sets out to do and proves that the mandolin is a woefully understated instrument. It carries across Nestlerode’s fantastical skills and combines them with his soothing vocals to create an album that is nothing short of a joy to listen to.
For more information on Daniel Nestlerode, check out his website here: