With all due respect to Martha and the Vandellas, “Summer’s here and the time is right for watching in your seat.” That’s right, sit in a nice air conditioned space or take your device out in the yard—no over priced food and drinks, no bathroom lines, great sound, and the best modern guitar from all over the world. Hell, at a “real” festival you would probably be watching the action on the jumbo screen anyway while you stood there sweating for hours.
I had the good fortune to see these two modern guitar giants play in this band live in a tiny San Francisco nightclub, back in the day.
2013 that is—ten records this year; many more were released but only these seemed essential. Keep in mind that these, listed in no particular order, merely represent the recordings released this year (ish) that I found myself returning to over the course of time.
In the spirit in which Guitar Moderne exists, I list them primarily to excite readers about checking them out. They by no means are meant to be an “objective” list of the “best” recordings of the year, but only the ones that I heard and personally responded to. They very much reflect my own taste and your list will undoubtedly vary. By all means chime in and let me know what you think I missed.
If you think falsetto vocals somewhere between Antony Hegarty and Kenny Rankin, guitar playing that somehow reconciles Rankin, Derek Bailey, and Robert Fripp, combined with drones that recall Norwegian fiddle music, you might be able to conjure up the sound of Toronto’s Eric Chenaux. But don’t bother—just check out some of these videos [there are multiple videos of the same tune to show his improvisatory nature]. Or, better yet, buy his latest record Guitar & Voice so you can experience his unique talent for creating gorgeous lyricism tempered with willful dissonance. Chenaux offers Guitar Moderne readers a glimpse of how he arrived at his singular style.