Box of Kenosis
Review by Mike O’Cull, independent music journalist. www.mikeocull.com
Doc Ventura is an acoustic guitarist from Los Angeles who mixes various American roots music
styles like blues, jazz, trailer park bop, and down and dirty American Primitive fingerstyle
together into a unique and vibrant concoction that demands full attention from listeners. His
sound is understated and his touch is melodic and skillful and this gives his music a hauntingly
human feel that’s instantly attractive. He breaks it all the way down on Box of Kenosis to brass
tacks solo guitar playing that is a perfect audio snapshot of the 3 AM blues we have all
experienced. Strictly instrumental, the tracks were recorded on a number of funky guitars and
absolutely drip with atmosphere.
Apt comparisons to Ventura’s style here would include John Fahey and Ry Cooder, especially
Cooder’s Long Riders soundtrack. He displays Fahey’s deceptively simple melodicism
alongside Cooder’s floating slide guitar genius mixed with his own internal drive and groove.
Everything here is gentle and done with a sort of hush, hence the late-night feel, but that
low-key approach is what makes this record compelling. It’s like hanging out and listening to a
friend play guitar in the overnight hours after everyone else has gone home. Tracks like
“Demon’s Progress,” “Feeling Uneasy,” and the title cut “Box of Kenosis” have an intimate,
personal quality that flies in the face of most modern music. Like the classic sides of early rock
and blues, these takes are instances when a few minutes of something cool that was happening
Most of what Ventura does is original or improvised and that adds to the uniqueness of what he
does. These are not tunes you’ve heard a million times in a million other sets of hands. Doc
Ventura is a player and composer who deserves a much wider audience than he currently has.
Buy a copy of Box of Kenosis for those wee small hours and let it wash over you. You can thank