For those who aren’t familiar with him or his work, American folk guitarist Jack Rose died a year ago last week on December 5, 2009. He was only 38 years old but had already compiled an extensive discography of amazing material including Red Horse, White Mule (2002), Kensington Blues (2005), and the posthumous Luck In The Valley which was released earlier this year. It is a simply amazing album. Now there are plenty of originals on Luck In The Valley but a number of songs are covers, and Rose honors the songs yet still makes them his own. His playing was a somewhat raw and primitive rendering of acoustic folk music traditions; combing ragtime, bluegrass, and traditional country blues in an almost avant-garde way but still paying homage to the traditions of pre-war American music. And although his music was instrumental, he had a voice unlike anyone else. Like on some of his previous albums, Luck In The Valley was recorded live and contains no overdubs. It serves to make each and every song come vibrantly alive in a way that’s primal and almost visceral to the senses. Luck In The Valley is a phenomenal album so if you’ve never heard of Jack Rose, this is as great a place to start as exists. Get it today from Thrill Jockey.