Blackshaw’s intensely focused twelve-string-guitar work has the distinction of impressing on record and in a live setting equally. In both cases, his exceptional finger-picking skill seems unfathomable—taking cues from Leo Kottke and Bert Jansch, his fingers blaze a trail of instrumental wonder. With 2009’s “The Glass Bead Game,” he involved more piano work, but Blackwell’s hypnotist act works best when he’s adventuring on an acoustic. One of his compositions, an older song of his called “River of Heaven,” I caught live once, and it left me in a state of unexpected euphoria. The work could get a little repetitive, if you’re unwilling to be overwhelmed—and I can’t imagine the pain of trying to take this in while standing—but an hour of your undivided attention to Blackshaw’s gift will prove rewarding. Also, he’s still under 30, which leaves years and years for him to expand and improve, if that’s even possible. (Tom Lynch)
February 6 at Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, (773)276-3600, at 10pm. $5-$8.