For his first solo album, Justin Adams, a guitarist/player of many things stringed, has fashioned an absorbing walking tour of Northern and West Africa, with frequent stops at the Mississippi Delta and San Francisco's Haight Street. Playing nearly all the instrumentation, Adams weaves a set of enrapturing, almost cinematic mood pieces where aspects of West African and Middle Eastern folk melodies and rhythms meld with early American acoustic Blues (such as the feverish gospel-blues of Blind Willie Johnson) and psychedelic/progressive rock. While the electronically produced percussion can get a little old sometimes, Adams is a technically gifted guitarist who doesn’t seem to feel the need to beat said technique over your head. He prefers to be self-effacing, expressing a lot by measured playing, letting the notes - and layers of notes - tell the story, evoking a caravan that stops in desiccated, lonely locales all over the globe. Desert Road is a refined balance of acoustic and electric, of studio wizardry and naturalness, of the abstract and the concrete, of late-night musings and daytime diligence, of the best of Worlds Old and New.