It’s that time of year again: Trees being decorated, candles being lit, balls being dropped, and, of course, year-end top ten lists. You love ’em, you hate ’em but no publication worthy of the name is without them. So here is mine. There were many great records of modern guitar released this year (read about them in the various Record picks posts) but these are the ones that found their way most often to my virtual turntable.
This will be a periodic offering from Guitar Moderne: a listing of recordings that come to my attention that are momentous enough to make sure they come to yours. These are not reviews. Feel free to submit recordings, but they must be purchasable worldwide, reflective of modern guitar (subjective, but no blues, classic rock, country, etc.) and on a par with the ones below to rate a mention. Many of these are available from DMG in NYC.
I seem to have started this back in November and neglected to post it. I have added some more recent releases as well.
Sidsel Endresen & Stian Westerhus – Bonita [Rune Grammofon] The greatest guitar vocal duo since Joe Pass and Ella Fitzgerald. Modern guitar at its best and most modern.
You may notice some labels making recurrent and multiple appearances on this list and from year to year. These labels have become successful, forward thinking purveyors of boundary stretching music, so it is not surprising they are attracting the best of the best. Cuneiform has a long history in this field, which makes up and coming, virtuoso Anthony Pirog a good match. Rune Grammofon continues to support the ground-breaking work of modern guitar hero Stian Westerhus, while Anti and Nonesuch are becoming the go-to labels for roots artists looking to remain relevant.
Once again this is a purely subjective list, so please let me know if you feel strongly about a record I have left off. We are fortunate so much great modern guitar music is available, but it makes it hard for one man to keep up. Happy Holidays.