Award-winning world music guitarist Lawson Rollins has the Billboard, America’s Music Charts and Groove Jazz Music charts under the hypnotic spell of his new single, “Island Time,” the first cut taken from his seventh album, “3 Minutes to Midnight,” which was released last Friday (January 20) by Infinita Records. Radio programmers at influential national outlets, including SiriusXM’s Watercolors and Broadcast Architecture, have made the seductive waltz paced by Rollins’ beguiling fingerstyle nylon guitar come-ons one of the “most added” and “most played” new singles on the first two charts published in 2017. Another composition appearing on the multicultural and multi-genre collection written by Rollins, the mystical meditation “Eternal,” began receiving airplay last month on the nationally-syndicated public radio program Echoes. “3 Minutes to Midnight” wasted no time climbing into the top 20 of the iTunes world music album sales chart.
Adopting a “Brevity is the soul of wit” mantra while crafting the twelve tunes that form “3 Minutes to Midnight,” Rollins opted to communicate with a sense of urgency, immediacy and poignancy perhaps to contrast the clutter and clamor incessantly assaulting our senses and shrinking bandwidths. He eschewed his long-held penchant for sprawling compositions and opulently-layered audioscapes in favor of clear and concise constructs - all in the three-minute range – with a pared down sonic aesthetic. Producing the session with multi-platinum producer Dominic Camardella, Rollins’ new set evokes a full gamut of moods and emotions ranging from passion, energetic and excitement to brooding, melancholic and pensive.
In the March issue of Guitar Player that is slated to hit magazine racks early next month, Rollins, whose virtuosic classical guitar technique has amassed over 10 million YouTube views, discusses “3 Minutes to Midnight” as well as nabbing his first film score. In a feature story that serves as the cover to the magazine’s “Frets” section, he talks about composing the music and serving as the music supervisor and executive producer of “Golden,” a movie described as a modern day psychological morality thriller currently in post-production.
“The soundtrack is going to be all original material from me on acoustic, electric, slide and Spanish guitars, backed by two-time Grammy-winning Danish violinist Mads Tolling, Native American master flute player Guillermo Martinez (of the Tarascan tribe) and multi-instrumentalist Stephen Duros. It's going to be a haunting soundtrack of acoustic Americana guitar motifs, blues-based electric guitar playing, violin fiddling, and Native American flute and drumming fused with some contemporary synthesizer and percussive elements,” said Rollins, a San Francisco-based artist whose authentic world beat sound and earthy ethereal recordings foretold eventual work in cinema.
Along with garnering robust radio play and early chart action, “3 Minutes to Midnight” is being well received by critics. Below is a sampling of the initial reviews:
“If your ears are thirsting for swirling guitar work that will thrill your heart and bring you up out of whatever funky mood you’re in – Lawson’s new (January 20th, 2017) release is just perfect for doing that.” – Improvijazzation Nation
“Lawson Rollins once again takes the listener on a magical musical journey…A nicely balanced release of 12 tracks together with Rollins' exquisite guitar work as great as ever, means that ‘3 Minutes to Midnight’ is one of those albums that quickly becomes addictive listening.” – Exclusive Magazine
“This American artist is one of the most creative world music and fusion guitarists in the world.” – Keys & Chords
“As one of those guitarists who first captured my attention with his Latin-infused and Nuevo Flamenco guitar style quite a while ago, Lawson Rollins continues to provide awe-inspiring melodies and riffs on his latest release, ‘3 Minutes to Midnight.’…these compositions, all penned by Rollins, by the way, are simply filled with the moving vibe that defies description but always speaks to you and manages to transport you to some wondrous land of color and intrigue.” – The Smooth Jazz Ride
“Classic, acoustic guitar jazz with a hint of the exotic.” – Soul and Jazz and Funk
“Firmly staking out his territory as a world beat guitarist par excellence…A tasty treat throughout.” – Midwest Record
“’3 Minutes to Midnight’ is dazzling, pertinent and explosive.” – SmoothJazz.com