Eli Winter fell in love with fingerstyle guitar while watching Steve Gunn's Tiny Desk concert, sending him down a path trod by the late guitarists Jack Rose and Michael Chapman. Ever since, the Chicago-based guitarist has released promising solo and duo records indebted to these forebears. Winter's forthcoming self-titled album, however, clears the briars and rose petals of history to make his own — by, somewhat paradoxically, stepping back.
"Davening in Threes" begins as brisk, countryside choogle, churned by Tyler Damon's drums, electric guitarist Cameron Knowler's nuanced countermelody and Sam Wagster's bright pedal steel ornamentation. Winter matches the band with a jubilant melody fingerpicked on acoustic, getting off a few dazzling licks, but never showing off. A little over two minutes in, Yasmin Williams sprinkles some harmonics, but the brief respite only spurs Winter and Co. into a 6/8 ramble that kicks up some serious dust. Like old friends shootin' the breeze, it's a musical conversation that takes a breath, but roars back with laughter.