I met Jannis Anastasakis at a NAMM show in 2013, where he was displaying his colorful effects made in Greece, under the name Jam Pedals. Soon thereafter he sent me his Big Chill tremolo for review. It wasn’t until years later that I discovered he was a fine guitarist in the modern mold. It became obvious that, in addition to his sonic creations, the man himself deserved coverage in Guitar Moderne.
In a video below, Lee Konitz says about Jakob Bro’s music, “He has no words for it. It’s not folk music, it’s not jazz, it’s not pop music, it’s not funk, you know, it’s just balladeering.” Bro’s beautiful sound and compositional voice, on his new ECM release Gefion, seem an extension of the more pastoral sides of Paul Motian, with whom he has played, and Bill Frisell, who has appeared on a few of the Danish guitarist’s records. It also recalls the patient, ambience of fellow Scandinavians like Jan Garbarek and Eberhard Weber in their more reflective moments. Still, Bro is occasionally capable of stomping on the distortion to shift from the calm of the pasture to urban tension. The uncatagorizable nature of his music, combined with his use of looping and effects, places him firmly in the modern guitar firmament. Those in Scandinavia will be able to see him perform this May, with a band that includes Frisell and Konitz, on his Balladeering Tour.
I was attracted to the playing of Indigo Street through her creative guitar work when backing up singer/songwriter Jolie Holland. On Holland’s record, Wine Dark Sea, Street’s use of fuzz, dissonance and feedback within the context of Holland’s roots moderne sound was letter perfect. When Holland played Nashville, Street showed she was capable of pulling off the same hat trick live. Shy Hunters, her duo with drummer Sam Levin, opened the show. During their set another side of Street emerged; one where she played complex single lines while singing. I had to get her in the mag and—after months of patience—succeeded. Her story was well worth the wait.
I am not sure how I discovered these guys, but somehow I found You Tube videos of Jeroen Kimman and Mark Morse mangling Ira and Charlie Louvin songs in the most creative, anarchic, and yet respectful way. Performing as Sleep Gunner http://sleepgunner.blogspot.com/, this Amsterdam-based duo has finally officially released a recording: Plays The Louvin Brothers Songbook Vol. 1 on 300 vinyl copies or download . While touring in Italy, one of their shows happened to be in a professional recording studio. They liked the live recording of it so much they put it up as a downloadable album.
Sleep Gunner proves you can respect roots music without doing slavish retro versions of it, and have humor in your music without descending into protective irony.