A founding member of Pelt and, later, a notable solo acoustic guitarist, the Philadelphia-based Jack Rose died of a heart attack at the too too young age of 38 this past weekend. (He’d recently signed to Thrill Jockey to release his tenth solo album Luck In The Valley in February.) Back in 2005, in a piece in Pitchfork, Ben Chasny wrote something about Rose in a Guest List that somehow feels like the most appropriate obituary, one soulful finger-picking virtuoso to another:
Finally, somebody has something to say on the acoustic guitar that hasn’t been said before. Jack’s first LP was a great declaration of six-string adeptness, but this is the record that calls out all the acoustic guitar hacks, like myself, and spanks our collective open-tuned ass with a vision that has been lacking since JFK (that’s John Fahey the King to you, brothers and sisters) left this world for peace at last. But the thing about Jack is that where most guitarists think it’s enough to know the Takoma crew, Jack has drowned himself in real country-folk blues music. The first time I ever went to his house he was pulling out record after record of old dusty vinyl that crackled with the real deal. Anyway, if Jack makes an equal leap of greatness to his third solo LP as he did form his first to second, you can expect a few angels to be called from heaven for the choir. I can’t see how they could refuse such a prayer.