In the hands of Jerry Kosak, an acoustic guitar becomes a bright and sparkling thing, throwing off notes like shimmering fairy lights dancing in the dark. The music on Sounds Like This manages somehow to sound quiet and relaxed at the same time as it's up-tempo and lively. In a space somewhere between blues, jazz, and ragtime, Kosak plucks beauty from the heart of his instrument. The result is a joy to hear.
Unlike much of the folk or classical sounds often heard in acoustic guitar albums, the music here seems more rooted in the blues-based jazz from early in the last century. The music has that same unfettered fin de siécle energy and drive, the same joy and jump as could be heard in recordings from those long-ago times.
With the exception of Euday Bowman's 1915 composition, "12th Street Rag," the songs on this release are Kosak's original works, contemporary compositions with an old-time sensibility.
Played loud or soft, the notes of Kosak's songs dance through the room with a bright ambience. As well as a talented composer, Kosak is a skilled player with a sound that brings to mind a young Chet Atkins. Chuck Berry once spoke of playing guitar like ringing a bell. That phrase aptly defines the playing of Jerry Kosak.
If you enjoy acoustic guitar played well, then Jerry Kosak is your man. It would be difficult not to enjoy the quiet grace and rhythm of this set.
Sounds Like This, Jerry Kosak, 2004, independent.