While My Pencilina Gently Weeps

"The pencilina is an electric board zither played primarily by striking the strings with sticks; also by plucking and bowing." And musical instrument inventor/singer-songwriter Bradford Reed is, so far as I know, the world's only performer on this nifty instrument. It's a credit to his songwriting that I didn't know anything about this instrument when I first heard his music - I just liked the song.

Of this 1996 album, the Brooklynite writes, "A strictly live pencilina album. For better or worse I used to have a very purist approach to recording- It must be live. A 50/50 split of instrumental and vocal tunes." Yup, no other instruments - just the one-man-band doing his eccentric thing. Songs range from slightly dissonant,
possibly micro-tonal, plinkety-plunking, to actual catchy tunes. The slightly rough, unaffected singing makes Reed appear to be some sort of indie-rock Harry Partch.

Bradford Reed - "Live! At Home"

This album's going out of print, but he's got more for sale on his site. I recommend "Solo Live Songs" if, for no other reason, the excellent "She's A Rocket." And I can't believe I'm writing about someone from Brooklyn. I'm so trendy! Please forgive.

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