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Bill Orcutt, 'The Life of Jesus'

To paraphrase Heraclitus: No person strums the same guitar twice, for it's not the same guitar and they're not the same person. Bill Orcutt's journey as a musician has taken him from decades of noise to a restless-yet-beautiful guitar style all his own. But after years of electric-guitar excursions, not to mention a challenging run of electronic music, it's been a minute since Orcutt has picked up an acoustic for solo exploration.

"The Life of Jesus" begins with a gently fingerpicked melody that welcomes you closer to listen and take in its story. Orcutt has a reliable tendency to break apart his themes texturally, not just in dizzying variations but with a wild force robusto — you feel the strings scrape and bend, the wood creak. It's physical music that moves you. That certainly happens here, but you also get the sense that Orcutt is curious, perhaps even empathetic; he responds to the quietude and complexity of his subject with bursts of compassion and even confusion. It seems that Jump On It, out April 28, might offer yet another subtle self-reinvention for Orcutt.

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