This was my first time attending the Big Ears Festival in Knoxville, Tennessee, but it won’t be the last. I was initially drawn to the possibility of seeing Stian Westerhus live, but unfortunately, though originally announced, he was unable to participate. I decided to go anyway, excited to see Nels Cline with Jenny Scheinman’s Mischief and Mayhem, Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog, and the Bang on a Can All-Stars. My wife Liz and I had been talking about visiting Knoxville for a long time, so the stars seemed to align.
I was lucky enough to see the first time Cline and Lage performed together. It was in NYC at Le Poisson Rouge for a celebration of Downtown Music Gallery’s 21rst Anniversary
Since then they have toured and recorded together as a duo. Now, for his second record on Blue Note, Cline is featuring a quartet with Lage as the other guitarist. It will be released April 13th. Here is a teaser:
I am trying desperately to catch up with all the terrific music being brought to my attention. Here is a wide spectrum of interesting modern guitar, including a pair of solo recordings from Bill Frisell: one new and one you may have overlooked—I had.
There were many terrific records in 2017. In another year, Charlie Rauh’s Viriditas, Dan Phelps’ Arc, and Rights by Manuel Troller’s band Schnellertollermeier might have fit on my “Best of…” list. But this year saw so many releases by modern guitar superstars that I just have to recommend reserving some money to also pick up their worthy efforts.
This list is mine; feel free to list yours in the comment section.
When I interviewed Nick Reinhart in 2015, he was thinking that his collaboration with Nels Cline, Mike Watt, and Greg Saunier would be out shortly. Over two and a half years later we are finally able to buy the modern guitar superstar extravaganza that is Big Walnuts Yonder. Nick and Mike Watt talk about the process and delay here. Nick has been called “Nels Cline’s younger punk rock brother,” and they work together here like musical brothers of different mothers. A must have for their interaction on Cline’s “Flare Star Phantom” alone.