Guitar Meditations: Alex de Grassi, Toby Hay, Derek Gripper & Buck Curran

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Alex de Grassi: The Bridge

There’s nothing quite like the sound of a well-played acoustic guitar to soothe the soul, so if you’re in need of some soul-soothing, check out these great new releases. First up is Alex DeGrassi, who has been working his craft for several decades and it shows on his latest album, The Bridge. De Grassi’s expertise and excellent compositions and interpretations give a stirring, free-flowing feel to the album. His take on Hendrix’s “Angel” sounds a bit like it’s actually being played by an angel, just one bit of much beauty on this one. Enjoy!

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Toby Hay: New Music for the 12 String Guitar

New Music for the 12 String Guitar tells only part of the story of this stunning set of pieces from U.K. guitarist Toby Hay. The guitar itself, so-called “Red Kite,” was built especially for Hay, crafted for his unique tunings and style. That personalized magic shines through on each song, gorgeous cascades of notes, each a fluttering bird flying straight into your ears. You need something beautiful to lift your spirits, I give you Toby Hay. Highly recommended.

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Derek Gripper: A Year Of Swimming

While we’re on the topic of awe-inspiring guitar playing, please make some time in your day to check out the latest release from Derek Gripper. A Year of Swimming is a fantastical voyage led by Gripper’s luscious, almost harp-like guitar playing. Gripper’s influence here is the West African kora, coaxing his nylon string guitar to evoke its mystical, emotive feel, as he plays both original material and pieces from kora masters. For several of the tracks, he’s joined in duet with a kora to lovely effect. Don’t miss this one, this is the good stuff.

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Buck Curran: No Love Is Sorrow

We’ll finish up this week’s set of guitar soul-soothers with No Love Is Sorrow from guitarist and songwriter Buck Curran. Curran actually lives in Bergamo, Italy, one of the cities hardest hit by COVID-19. The album, is filled with beauty, a minimialist psychedelic folk. Roughly half instrumental and half straight songwriter-folk, Curran’s guitar is a layered, many-faceted thing, shapeshifting with each track, digging its way into your ears, past your brain and right to your heart. Times are tough, but the music is still something special. I hope these new albums help smooth out some of the rough spots in your day or provide a few moments of relaxing meditation. Have a good week, my friends.

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