Gutpuppet / Compilation 2004​-​2010

by Scot Ray and Bill Barrett

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Bill Barrett - chromatic harmonica
Scot Ray - dobro, 6&12 string, 22 string chaturangui, banjo

Compilation of acoustic duo pieces drawn from 5 albums spanning from 2004 through 2010.

Corresponding original cover art on track(s) info.

Supporting videos:
Tr 7
Tr 2


released January 13, 2010


“Gutpuppet plays a fine blend of the blues, the high lonesome sound of bluegrass, some Eastern raga-like melodies and some gifted jazz-like soloing. Both of these cats are great players and sound just right together...each piece shows that this duo loves to switch and blend genres; different eras of jazz, blues and ethnic influences are mixed seamlessly. Somewhere in between the Flying Fish & Rounder labels, and the more adventurous world music labels of today, you will find this genuine gem of a duo.“ - Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery, NY

"They're not jazz, they're more like folk and blues, but the duo Gutpuppet (Scot Ray on slide guitar, Bill Barrett on harmonica) can play to an avant-leaning audience because of the quality of their musicianship and the originality of their sound. Their new album, "4," continues to stretch in new directions, with Ray's acoustic slide guitars (up to 22 strings!), banjo and dobro jangling and scraping sensually, while Barrett demonstrates unsurpassed technical command of his chromatic mouth harp. SHITKICK STUFF, KEENING INDIA MOJO, BALLADIC MEDITATION -- all of it's supremely listenable; your kids will even dig it. Wait a minute, is this entertainment? Yeah, it's art too, but don't tell anybody." - Greg Burk, METALJAZZ, Los Angeles

"Bill Barrett and Scot Ray are back and what's required on your behalf is an open disposition and the will of relaxing at least every once in a while amidst all those zen scrapes and post-everything cages (pun intended). The fourth chapter of this duo's saga is largely reminiscent of their atavistic influences...Flamenco and blues, Arabian and finger picking, melancholic serenades and intense rasgueado, serene under-the-porch blowing and distorted tongue-tying chromaticisms. ODD-METERED BLUEGRASS A GO-GO. Virtuosity at the service of heartiness by two of the nicest fellows." - Massimo Ricci, TOUCHING EXTREMES, Italy:

“Gutpuppet is a duo consisting of Scot Ray, who plays dobro and slide guitars with anywhere from six to twenty-two strings, plus some occasional slide banjo and Bill Barrett, who plays chromatic harmonica. As the title suggests this is their fourth album together and in my opinion, it is their best one yet. An all original set of tunes, with titles such as Kentucky Rebitika, Astral Harmonium, and Juniper Trance giving perhaps a hint of their eclectic sound combining elements of the blues, American folk, Eastern-sounding music, and a healthy dose of ‘none of the above’.

I guess it could be loosely described as jazz, maybe a term like ‘improvisation modern folk music’ might be more accurate, but whatever it is, it is great music. Sometimes rocking, sometimes meditative, sometimes almost deranged, always brilliantly executed with some amazing interplay between the two of them. Scot, a world renowned trombonist in a previous life, is a true virtuoso of the sliding strings, and Bill is simply in a class of his own on the chromatic, one of the very few really unique voices on the instrument.

Anyone with the slightest interest in vistas beyond Adler, Thieleman’s and third position blues chromatic should be checking this guy out. Delicate single note filigrees, mesmerizing chordal grooves, and honking blues lines all flow from his CX-12 alongside disquieting tones that sound like mosquitoes and who knows what else.


“The first time I heard Gutpuppet - not a long time ago - I was pleasantly surprised; now I’m hooked. The third album from the duo of Scot Ray and Bill Barrett is another nail in the coffin of dead-end blues, the demonstration that, if we’re lucky enough, heaven-made acoustic music enters our humble garden one way or another. Scot Ray, who plays dobro, cumbus, 6 & 12 string slide guitar and 22-string chaturangui, is a sensible master of the objective sliding truth and I wouldn’t hesitate to compare him to players on the same level of Ry Cooder and Sonny Landreth. He’s a diversified velvet-touch fingerstylist whose evolved phrasing fuses past and future seamlessly, a true joy to hear - and not only for guitarists. Bill Barrett, as I already mentioned reviewing his work with Steuart Liebig’s Mentones, is the Allan Holdsworth of the chromatic harmonica, and let it be known that I consider Holdsworth light years ahead of any other guitarist. His instrument has never sounded so “belonging” in such disparate contexts and genres: Barrett catches you relaxed and stings your soul with heartbreaking cries, then invites you for a ride around both Eastern and Western syntactic macrocosms, all the while interspersing his playing with gun-cotton phrasing and mind-twisting, technically impossible triumphs. All this from a guy who, having seen his photo on the CD cover, I would love as a close neighbour (provided that he comes every night to my house and plays, plays, plays). Need I say more? “Gutpuppet 3” is a healthy dose of optimism in a dying world of sterile pyrotechnics. Make it yours - and the rest of their output, too.’ - Touching Extremes, Massimo Ricci, Italy

“Roots-drenched, emotive and occasionally rabble-rousing, the musicians morph their jazz-based improvisational acumen into thoroughly intriguing stabs at Americana and more...all subsidized by monster chops and acute vision. The musicians’ close working relationship and intuitive understanding of each other's thought processes connect mightily here. Sparks fly throughout! Zealously recommended.” - Glenn Astarita, All About Jazz, LA

“The best of many worlds...all blended superbly together. Gutpuppet is much better than any other acoustic duo that I've heard in a long while. Why not give them a chance, they might just blow you away.” - Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery, NY

'Bill and Scot's collaboration is some of the most inventive and unusual sounding music on the market, mixing dazzling jazz improv' with musical influences from around the world and especially from the orient.' - Benoit Felten, Planet Harmonica, France

“Masterful playing, that's for sure...whether the basis could be looked for in jazz, blues, film or in Indian spheres, the compositions have an open structure that leave plenty of space for experimental playing. You really need good ears and a brain to keep up...trying to copy the playing is at your own risk!” - Marc Nolis, MazzMusikaS, Belgium

“Skilled techniques with experimentally dazzling compositions make these two musicians both virtuosi who impress in any musical area. Their songs take one on an adventurous journey without any borders. The music is complex and a listener needs to dig far beyond the surface...the interaction of both musicians is superb and together they play brilliant stuff with many layers.” - Bridge Guitar Reviews, Henk Te Veldhuis, Netherlands

“On paper, it would seem rather unlikely that a world-class modern jazz trombonist would double as a bad-ass Dobro slide guitarist. But with this effort, Scot Ray lays down his horn to strum, slide, and pick alongside improvising chromatic harmonica ace Bill Barrett. There’s a lot to dig as the artists’ closed-knit improvisations are engineered upon folksy themes and a predominately, wide-open layout. They mix Delta blues, folk, and Civil War era slants into off-kilter boogie grooves and jazzy progressions, spiced up with keenly executed improvisations. Yet, one of the most charming aspects of this affair pertains to the musicians’ energized display of wit and savvy. Topped off with cheery, groove-based romps and razor-sharp unison runs, the twosome also pursues North African motifs, among other stylizations. By and large, Ray and Barrett manage to circumvent any notions of austere headiness as they fruitfully elevate roots-inspired thematic forays into boundless frontiers for the mind’s eye.” - All About Jazz, Glenn Astarita, LA



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