Warren Buttler, The Properties of Mercy (Snowball in Hell Music 2000) - Here's an entrancing disk with a unique history. Mixing elements of classical and flamenco guitar with the rock sounds of his youth, Warren Buttler has a refreshing presence on the instrumental, The Properties of Mercy.
According to the liner notes, "I started the guitar at ten, was giving lessons to other people's kids at 14, getting paid to play at 15. Then I gave up music for about 18 years. Gave my guitars away."
Buttler spent ten years as a cop and another eight years overseas in counter-terrorism, explains as follows: "I suppose I gave up the guitar because of what I did and saw. I think my soul was tired and the music in me withered."
Buttler describes The Properties of Mercy as a "soundtrack in my head." Butler plays all the instruments, including six- and twelve-string guitars, analog guitar synthesizer, mandolin and Boss drum machine.
Buttler continues. "When I found myself alone back in the United States . . . I bought my first guitar in 18 years and taught myself to play again. I was playing my guitar on my front porch and it drew my wife Jo Jo to stop and talk to me. She's a concert level pianist, the love of my life, and the reason I found music again. That was four years ago."
Buttler's multi-cultural background comes through on tracks like "Foot Race With the Devil" and "Highway to Kuwait," with Buttler displaying strong guitar technique and worldly visions that bring to mind Willie & Lobo.
Buttler works from his memories: "'Highway to Kuwait' is what I remember of the access highway from the Kuwait City Airport to downtown feeling like before the war. I was there a lot during the war between Iraq and Iran in the 80's."
On The Properties of Mercy, Buttler expresses his feelings in music. And he gets credit for holding true to his view.
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- Randy Krbechek © 2001