People, and by people I mean non-guitarists, wonder about the amount of overdrive pedals on the market, seemingly growing like mushrooms after a wet winter. Ah, but like mushrooms, each type has a distinctive flavor and effect. Earthquaker Devices new Special Cranker sounds like no other, so if you feel like there is a particular piquancy missing from your tone palette, this might be the answer. For specs, click on the ad to the right.
Rafiq Bhatia is poised to become a force in modern guitar. His trio was the best guitar-based show at the last Big Ears Festival pre-Covid—and that festival included shows by David Torn and Bill Frisell! Check out his record “Breaking English.” He is also in a band called Son Lux that released a three record project in 2021: Tomorrows I,II,& III. If D’Angelo and Bowie had a baby, it might sound something like Son Lux. We talk about all this, and more. I suggest you go to here for his National Sawdust performance and our talk about it. I have posted the original interview I did with him for Electronic Musician below as well.
The American trumpeter and composer Jon Hassel’s sound influenced guitarists like Eivind Aarset and, well, me, as well myriad other musicians. He passed away on June 26, 2021. This year he would have turned 85 and to honor him Nasjonal jazzscene in Oslo, Norway put on a terrific memorial concert on his birthday, March 22.
The 2022 Guthman Musical Instrument Competition started with 26 semifinalists from 16 different countries. After an online showcase of the semifinalists, a committee of Georgia Tech faculty and public voting decided which creators would compete at the final stage. Nine advanced to the competition’s final round. They met on the Georgia Tech campus in Atlanta, Georgia, on March 11 and 12, 2022, to compete for $10,000 in prizes. While none of these won, they do indicate some possible future directions for making music with guitar skills.
It is getting hard to keep up with all the terrific new releases. Modern guitar continues to make inroads in places as far-flung as Argentina, Switzerland, and Tasmania. The pandemic has resulted in works that are largely solo or remote collaborations, but no less successful than the in person collabs.