Slide guitarist Rainer Ptacek passed away from brain cancer in 1997, but with a new series of reissues, his influential sound will find new ears ready for his progressive approach to guitar playing. Inner Flame, the first of these reissues, was originally released in 1997 as a tribute and benefit compilation. “Be Prepared,” off Inner Flame, finds Ptacek working with fellow Arizona musicians Joey Burns and John Convertino, who later formed the band Calexico.
Burns, Convertino and Ptacek were brought together by Howe Gelb, who curated the Inner Flame project and engineered the session. “[Ptacek] always liked trying new stuff . . . rhythm boxes and loops and whatever with his 1934 National Resonator guitar,” says Gelb. “What I hear when he jammed that day with John and Joe was that poetic stroke of John’s hand and the symphonic signature of Joey’s pluck.
“Jamming in an old adobe shotgun dwelling with its signature natural reverb from the mud bricks and stucco, and the warmth of those vintage instruments in everyone’s clutches, with the mysterious depth of Rainer’s soul in play and those two young dudes hanging on at every turn make that piece so delicious and in kind, offers a glimpse of what the original Tucson sound was ever like,” Gelb says.
Inner Flame is set for a June 26th release, but you can hear “Be Prepared” now.