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Psalms, Hymns, & Spiritual Songs (CD), Fingerpickin' (CD), Christmas Time (CD), Craig Dobbins' Hymns for Fingerstyle Guitar (songbook + CD) Review by Jenny Thompson

Music by Craig Dobbins
CBD Music
P.O. Box 8075
Gadsden, AL 35902

Craig Dobbins is an extremely talented guitarist who has written many songbooks for fingerstyle guitar and recorded several albums. He has a heart for teaching others and does so with the Acoustic Guitar Workshop, a quarterly which he publishes. He has been playing guitar for over thirty years, and his hard work and determination come through in his music. I was privileged to receive three of his CDs and one of his books.

If you are not familiar with fingerpicking, you ought to pick up one of Craig's albums to give you a great idea of what this style is all about. Most of the time, all you hear is Craig playing one guitar at a time, giving the music a raw, acoustic feel. On Fingerpickin', you will find knee-slapping tunes that will send your mind wandering out to the country, as well as softer ballads that will put you in a relaxing mood. Of all the albums we listened to, this was my 6-year-old daughter's favorite. She has asked to listen to it over and over again. I am so glad to have found some instrumental music she enjoys. My favorite CD of Craig's is Psalms, Hymns, & Spiritual Songs. I love listening to these treasured songs played with the simplicity of the guitar. As a fledgling guitarist myself, I found myself wanting to learn how to play the old hymns the way Dobbins does. Thankfully, I also received the songbook, Craig Dobbins' Hymns for Fingerstyle Guitar, which includes the notations and tabs for some of the same songs, as well as other features. The songbook is easy to follow, but it will take me a lot of practice to learn to play like Craig! A CD is included with this songbook, which is a nice bonus that will help me learn the songs. Though it is not currently the Christmas season, I have enjoyed listening to Christmas Time as well. This CD includes many traditional Christmas songs, as well as a few that were new to me. I will definitely pull this one out when Christmas rolls around this year, as it will make lovely background music for parties and family gatherings.

Though I had never heard of Craig Dobbins prior to this review, I am pleased to say that I am now a huge fan of his music. It is refreshing to strip music down to its core and just hear the simple melodies that have been forgotten in our current pop culture. As a musician, I have a great appreciation for the talent and true gift God has given Craig. It pleases me to hear such a great musician using his gifts for the Lord, in order to bring Him glory.

If you have a teenager who is learning to play the guitar, Dobbins' books and CDs would be perfect tools to help him learn the intricacies of fingerstyle playing. Homeschool parents could also use Craig's albums when teaching children about hymns and folk songs, as well as teaching an appreciation for instrumental music. Above all this, I would highly recommend the musical stylings of Craig Dobbins to anyone who just enjoys good music.

Product Review by Jenny Thompson, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, March 2010