Award-winning performer and composer, Neil Jacobs, has been professional touring musician for more than 25 years. Touring extensively throughout the U.S. and Europe, he has been featured throughout international festivals and concerts in Spain, Italy, Poland, Switzerland, Germany, and Russia. He has served served with UNESCO's Balkan Youth Reclamation Program in Bulgaria, received grants to study with the Gypsies of Spain, as well as performing in refugee camps and orphanages in the Balkans. Neil has been featured at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, the Palace of Culture in Seville, Spain, The Kremlin, The World Youth Festival in Moscow, US, German, and Russian TV. All in all, it has been a colorful musical career. Review of 'World Blue' by Bill Binkelman, New Age Reporter & Producer/Host of 'Wind and Wire' 'World Blue' - Adena Productions It's potentially hazardous to start an album with too great a track, lest expectations rise to a ridiculously high level. Take for example "Mad March" which opens World Blue, an excellent recording from acoustic guitarist Neil Jacobs (whose latest CD, Secret Places, was favorably reviewed here a while back by my colleague RJ Lannan). Luckily for Jacobs, instead of this song being the only highpoint on the album, "Mad March" is merely the tip of a considerable iceberg of great music. The gentle sad melancholy of the first cut does indeed signal the overall mood of the remaining eleven tracks, though. This is soft and subtle music, although Jacobs flexes his chops plenty of times throughout the CD. However, both the subdued style and the music volume itself are muted, almost sepia-toned, if you will. I found this particular aspect to be the album's strongest point in it's favor. Jacobs can evoke sincere emotion without getting in the listener's face with overly flashy pyrotechnics. This speaks volumes about his dedication to letting the music (and not any fireworks) get his message across. Per the liner notes, with only a few exceptions, he is playing a single solo guitar on this album, although that's hard to believe with how rich and complex these songs sound. "Gypsy Waltz" carries echoes of influences from those wandering people's rich musical tradition, filled with passion and smoldering fire, while "Billetdoux" sparkles sweetly (on this track, Jacobs guitar sound reminded me a bit of Bruce BecVar), dancing delicately with a slight hint of mystery. "The Castle" is pensive and reflective and features a particularly nice "hook" as the main refrain, and on "Adena River" the pace is picked up with Jacobs making some of his notes "sing" separately from the main flowing melody. "Weight of the Day" has a relaxed rolling feel to it and made me think of an Al Stewart song (coincidentally titled "End of the Day") although "Weight of the Day" has a more dramatic texture and mood. The title song ends the album and it's an understandably somber and pensive tune, even perhaps morose, but the music itself is so pretty that you could never actually be saddened by the music itself. I can see why RJ wrote so favorably of Neil Jacobs in his Secret Places review. It's hard for a guitarist to stand apart from the crowd in this well-populated subgenre of instrumental music. Jacobs made an instant and deep impression on me with his soulful playing and unique compositions on World Blue. If you enjoy acoustic guitar music, I can't imagine you won't enjoy the album. Special kudos, by the way, should go to engineer Michael Moore and his assistant Adam Schlenker. This CD is exceedingly well-recorded, making Jacobs' musical gifts all the more wonderful and easier to appreciate. Some other review excerpts: 'His 12-string instrumentals sound as if they were born in an exotic cerebral locale' St. Louis Riverfront times '...music that brings out the haunting and mysterious qualities of the 12-string guitar' Delta Snake Daily CD Blues Review '...brings to mind John Fahey traveling through strange and exotic lands' Windham Hill Recordings.