Sing Out! - 8-10/95, pp.133-134
"...Carlini and Rice play together with a fluidity that can only come from years of playing together...anyone who likes beautifully recorded, fluid, acoustic guitar interplay will find much to like here..."
For lovers of acoustic guitar, few things are more enjoyable than having two guitar heroes like Tony Rice and John Carlini record together. The music on River Suite for Two Guitars is performed by the two guitarists with no accompaniment, creating an intimate setting that is relaxed, while remaining professional. Only when the tempo picks up on songs like "It Takes a Thief" and "Fishscale" do Rice and Carlini really cut loose. In "Big Mang," one lead overlaps the other in an intense rush, while Miles Davis' "Nardis" finds Rice revisiting a song recorded by the Tony Rice Unit. It's amazing how much lead work these two guitarists can fit into a two minute song like "Banister River." Stereo allows Rice's guitar to appear on the left speaker, Carlini's on the right, but even without this convenience both guitarists' styles are easily discernible. The lead often changes every verse, keeping even quieter songs varied and layered; both players also provide tasteful and complex accompaniment to each other. The production is straight forward, allowing the music to stand on its own. Fans of both guitarists from their stint in the David Grisman Quintet will find this music quieter and less experimental, but will enjoy the eclectic song choices and the inspiration shared between two musicians. Certain slower songs like "Send in the Clowns" and "Summertime" are almost too quiet and familiar, but this is a minor complaint. River Suite for Two Guitars is the collaborative effort of equals who love to play guitar. Fans of both artists, and fans of good guitar music, should enjoy this one. ~ Ronnie Lankford