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Joseph Allred, "The True Light" string maestro Joseph Allred quietly releases, on average, around three or four albums a year, a catalog consisting of mostly instrumental works with vocals on an occasional song. This set of instrumentals consists of five examples of technical fingerpick showmanship that surrounds listeners with an outpouring of emotive musical warmth, wordless stories that communicate straight to the soul.


It would be quite easy to define Allred as a fingerpick guitarist, or group Allred into the Guitar Soli category, a solo acoustic guitar movement that flourished between 1966 and 1981 and bridged a gap between American Primitivism (John Fahey, Robbie Basho) and California Modernism (Michael Hedges, William Ackerman). Yet, this barely scratches the surface of the broad work and mind of Allred.

Joseph started releasing work as a solo artist in 2013, and became a practicing artist around the same time. The cover of The True Llight displays an obvious jumble of information in the form of magazine words and headlines (the most visible word being "chatter") and a warm-colored fiery light that seems to emanate from the center of it all, almost as if it were burning its way through the chaos. The title itself seems to stem from biblical reference in John 1:9: "The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world." With pieces like "Who Will Heal Your Wounds," "Bethsaida," and "A Wreath for the Head," Allred quite clearly embraces religious imagery on this album. Although there are no words at all, the passion by which the songs are executed make the topic of conversation quite clear; regardless of the listener’s religious affiliations, the evocative musical flow work to take the listener on a transcendental journey of heartful proportions, a seamless weave of sounds joyful and sad, soft and intense.

Since starting a musical journey in 2000 playing electric guitar in rock bands, Allred has created various incarnations, each one serving as a persona through which to craft musical stories that revolve around innate truths. A previous incarnation was Poor Faulkner, a lonely middle-aged man dealing with deep, inner sadness and haunted by ghosts, some of his own making, and embarking on a journey to transcend the trappings of humanity.

Allred began composing music for acoustic guitar as a way to deal with personal demons — demons that nearly lead to death. Between music as an outlet and weaving the practice of mindfulness into that art, thankfully Allred has continued to not only produce a catalog of deeply meaningful and genuine human expression through music for personal benefit, but one that extends to others as a musical panacea for the troubled soul.

samples may be found here