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Archive for the ‘Guitar Music’ Category

Bruce Kaphan from California has taken pedal string guitar to a whole new level in New Age music for years, making this instrumental transition not only a surprising one but a dazzling one too, giving even music purists a reason to love pedal steel guitar with his earlier release Slider and now Hybrid.

Bruce Kaphan is easily recognized in the music industry since he began an early career as a studio technician, engineer and producer for many highly recognized artists in other genres and had either played a role with the recording production of their album or performed with artists such as REM, Jewel, The Black Crowes, Thomas Dolby, John Lee Hooker and a vast selection of popular musicians.

The list of popular artists Bruce has encountered as a musician and during his tenure as a recording artist is quite lengthy and will surprise you as it did me when you visit his website.  During the early days while living in San Francisco he was also a member of Indie / Alternative band American Music Club plus his music has been featured on many film scores and television broadcasts.

Hybrid is his current album that I recently wrote a review about here at New Age Music World.  The 12 original compositions show pedal steel guitar as an appealing choice while clearing a new path of creative improvisations in light ambience and emerges as a natural contender in the vast field of music.

Bruce Kaphan and his music is described below in my review quote, along with the song video of Oregon Fire from the Slider album.  This is a nice selection of Bruce performing on pedal steel guitar behind a backdrop of beautiful photography by Nick O’Kelly.  Visit brucekaphan.com website to sample / purchase his music or visit his CDBaby.com page.  Read his biography page and view his collective discography page.  Read my review of Hybrid on our page dedicated to Bruce Kaphan.  Studio photo copyright Bruce Kaphan courtesy of James Saxon.

Bruce Kaphan makes a bold statement on Slider and current Hybrid album which features pedal steel guitar as the primary instrument.  You will find his music is a unique blending of unrivaled beauty freshly harvested from another cross section in the vast field of music.  It quickly becomes apparent this new emerging beauty will remain a lasting entity in the world of music.


 NewAgeMusicWorld.Com is always ready to present musicians who excel in a particular field of music and whether it is solo guitar, piano or compilation albums comprising the New Age genre, we are ready to help point our readers in an appropriate direction.

Ben Woolman is a solo guitarist from Minnesota specializing in finger style performances on steel string guitar who amazes his audiences by an ability to layer cross and counter rhythms in relative fashion to the primary melody which gives the impression of multiple performers at his side.

Performing with multiple artists is not the case at all here, in fact his blending of harmonies and counter rhythms at the solo level are also without the assistance of dubbing, making his individual abilities a much rarer find than many other guitarists in the solo category.

Many Moods is his current release that projects his unique abilities in finger style guitar and this latest is another fine example of his more expansive 10 total albums that Ben Woolman has produced during his lifetime.  In addition, his longtime repertoire while playing guitar encompasses many genre elements like Folk, Blues, Jazz, Neo Classical, Latin, Celtic, and African, fusing many interwoven components that attest to his proficiency at a complicated technique.

Excelling in finger style guitar is precisely what makes the signature style of Ben Woolman quite unique.  In a perfectionist blend of layered counter rhythms, the applause given at the end of any performance goes to Ben Woolman alone and his singular talent for mastering the intricate counter melody technique.

The University of Wisconsin is one of the only colleges in the United States offering a degree in finger style guitar and exactly where Ben studied under a cooperative program with the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree with honors in Guitar Performance which nicely enhance his natural composing and performance abilities.

Many Moods features 11 songs that offer a nice variation in manner and perception with 8 original compositions that do attain the numerous mood variations this aptly named album suggests.  The 3 remaining songs are renditions of The Police, Blind Blake and James Horner, and the challenging task of incorporating Rock, Jazz, and Cinematic music influences into Solo Guitar is pulled off with ease.

One Afternoon is the first song on the Many Moods album and one nice characterization of his individual style given the Folk with a light hearted feel similar in mood to Contemporary Sadie’s Smile.  Lighter images appear in a more contemplative Me, myself and You and faster paced Up and Back is a nice progressive piece, along with the briskly paced rhythms in Wicked Ascent.

A more Jazz style orientation can be heard in Salamander Swing and then Blake Says is an upbeat Blues tune that is sure to make you smile.  Mazurka Dance is a World & Latin influenced piece and another bright number that highlights his proficiency at finger style guitar.

The 3 renditions make great listening too, and this entire album is a fine introduction to not only a proficient artist, but a wonderful musician that kindly restructures his challenging handiwork into uncomplicated and relaxing moods on our behalf.

Visit benwoolman.net to sample / purchase or at his CDBaby.com page.  To find out more about Ben and view his full discography and song videos click here.

 Photo Copyright benwoolman.net courtesy of Rebecca Pavlenko.

Solo instrumental albums are a natural source of personalized music, so when two reputable soloists merge their singular talents, an alliance from soloists to duettists is an even more valuable source of personified music for everyone.

Devin Rice & Erin Aas are seasoned musicians already recognized by their proficient styles as individual artists. Now they emerge as a team that write and perform original piano with guitar, and finger styled guitar duet compositions with hand selected artists adding polished accompaniments on their new release titled Arrival.

Residing in the state of Washington, Devin and Erin traveled to the Imaginary Road Studios in rural Vermont to enlist the expertise of GRAMMY® Award-winning artist Will Ackerman. The level of quality with the album’s production retraces their visit to a highly specialized destination.

Arrival is an album where Devin plays piano and guitar along with Erin, showcasing their 15 song compilation that is adventuresome and symmetrical from the first song to the last. After meeting for the first time several years ago, I felt their earlier mainstay as professional soloists has been doubled and enhanced using simple math, along with their broad variance in individual styles.

Devin Rice and Erin Aas, have selected skilled team of artists, along with GRAMMY® Award-winning producer Will Ackerman, to emerge as a fortified musical team. By virtue of each artist’s specialized skills, they have attained an award-winning strategy with Arrivial.

Thyn Ayre is the crisp beginning song that sounds like a down to earth journey put to sheet music, like Procession, where a wonderful just right feel becomes the standard atmosphere. These folk styled narratives flourish during the piano and guitar duets set in a moderate tempo like most of the 15 songs.

Borderline is a breezy guitar duet by Erin and Devin, while their Tribute to Robert Frost expresses a more stately approach that includes percussion rhythms backing majestic piano melodies with subtler acoustic guitar highlights.

Lively acoustic guitar and percussion rhythms are heard on the memorable song Nevada, while Something About A Harbor has piano lead in for guitar, with rich melodic tones showing depth in a natural way. 

Perdido En Granada, Lullaby For Now & For JB are gentle and more introspective songs with English horn and cello support that compliment the pleasing atmosphere.

Whiskey In The Watertower is a spirited melody, and nicely coordinated guitar duet that features a wonderful guitar solo performed by Will Ackerman.

This song resembles Pulborough Spring by taking an up-tempo direction from the primarily moderate paced piano and guitar duets with instrumentals.

Rich cello harmonies are the scenic backdrop in songs, Morning With Annie, Southern Breeze, & Stars of Winter, with the latter song taking an adventurous free flight expression during the melody and refrains that gently lands with guitar, cello, and piano uniting in an ensemble.

Although solo albums are a mainstay and pleasing source of enjoyment, Arrival is a nice departure from singular solo albums given the enriching instrumentals and contrasting styles of the two principal soloists.  This departure notably doubles the fine harmonic value for the listener, along with Devin and Erin who have likewise doubled their musical achievements together as a team, and as individuals.

Additional artists are Derrick Jordan on djembe with Eugene Friesen and Traci Hoveskeland giving cello performances on several tracks. Jill Haley lends her talents on English horn and Will Ackerman plays guitar on the final song.

Visit devinriceanderinaas.com to sample or purchase, and at their CDBaby.com page. Read their biography page with how it all began. Visit the Imaginary Road Studios of williamackerman.com. Big Stock Photo copyright – MelMcNaughton.

Its one occasion when musicians produce music at the local level, and another when top performing artists from around the globe unite in a music festival that reaches the attention of worldwide audiences and achieves a high level of acclaim.

Johannes Linstead is an Award Winning Canadian guitarist and multi instrumentalist proving his acclaimed talents once again by his current release. Showcasing his lively artisanship on Spanish guitar, Mistico becomes the well centered focal point and international meeting place for dedicated music professionals uniting from Canada, Spain, Cuba, Greece, Iran, and Venezuela.

Recently winning Best World Album & Best Instrumental Album – Acoustic in ZMR’s 2009 Awards, plus ranking #1 at eMusic.com’s World Music & Jazz / Blues charts, gives the few people not familiar with the quality of his work a little more insight.

Listing just the highlights of his music career, Johannes was recognized in the Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards as Guitarist of the Year, had 4 Top Ten charting albums at Billboard, Best World Album JUNO Awards nomination, and 4 Best Album awards at NAR & NAV. With over 500,000 albums sold worldwide, the long list of awards and nominations in entirety reaches a length most artists strive to achieve in a lifetime.

Johannes Linstead has a musical style not easy to categorize since Contemporary, Latin, Flamingo, Mediterranean, and World are just some of the essential New Age influences that when synchronized with a vast array of percussion instruments, seamlessly integrate into stylish musical scores that could be more easily categorized using the word festive.

Mistico is the successful album that commands much respect, not only by the heart beating origins of another chart topping project by Johannes and his extraordinary Contemporary Latin guitar rhythms, but Mistico becomes an extravagant music festival with top international artists performing by his side.

The Happy Song ( Felicidad ) begins this rare international festival of 11 original songs with up-tempo flare, neatly tailored to the elevated atmosphere of the occasion while giving Johannes his first opportunity to sport the masterful guitar melodies for which he has become famous. The accordion composition smoothly introduces a heightened amount of ambience to the opening number with much fanfare, while groove rhythms in Rico ! move gracefully in counter beat with beautiful electric guitar runs, congas, and bongo drums to interlock in dramatic fashion.

Leisurely strides in Night Dance rely on a crisp Latin styled melody with moderate vocals to generate a nice distinction to a more casual Twilight, where the sheer beauty of guitar melodies lend themselves to a veiled feel of lively sophistication.  Otros Mundos embraces percussion claves, congas, bongo and timbale while playing rhythmic intermediary companion with guitar melodies expert runs in well defined chords.

All She is ( Ella Es ) brings a light breeziness into the storyline, while Coconut Girl outlines positive imagery of the spirited occasion on this festive album. Rhumba styled Santa Maria with accordion harmony extends a tantalizing impression of solidarity to the sunny and joyful affair. 

Durango brings the talents of many artists into the lively exotic mix, where dejembe, doumbek, and bongo percussions dispense the glitter, while guitar instrumentals and accordion intermezzos engrave the melodic sparkle. 1000 Veils conveys energetic rhythms and palmas ( hand clapping ) to make a striking contrast to violin’s and Spanish guitar’s well structured verses.

Mistico ( Title Song ) enters an extravagant linage of passion where violin and doumbek perpetuate the energetic tempo and warm festive atmosphere, uniting with resolute harmony while synchronizing to become positively dazzling.  Much like the territorial borders the world musicians in attendance encountered during the album’s production, Mistico crosses many borders itself, achieving an extravagant repertory for everyone who listens to this celebratory fiesta of music. Viva Mistico!

The global musicians uniting to form this international festival alongside Johannes Linstead include Anastasios Bigas, Frank Marcos Aular, Jalidan Ruiz, Jordan Abraham, Geoff Hlibka, Yosvani Castaneda, Sina Khosravi, and Laura Fernandez.

Visit johanneslinstead.com to sample / purchase or visit his Amazon.com pages here.

Picture copyright Big Stock Photo – Siart.  Album cover copyright Johannes Linstead.

There are a multitude of genres where an acoustic guitar enables an artist to express themselves personally. When placed in the hands of a skilled musician, this stringed instrument becomes a beautiful companion, telling everything about the artist with each passing measure.

Ciro Hurtado is one skilled solo guitarist or guitarrista from California, whose performances include Traditional Latin, American Folk, World, Fusion, Latin Jazz, and many more popular genres, becoming adapted to many forms of personal expression. His natural talent, along with studies at the Guitar Institute of Technology have placed him in a well recognized stature as a musician, highly regarded for his artistic technical abilities and versatile rhythms for many years now.

Ciro’s musical compositions on guitar are not limited to specific categories since his adaptable styles also range from more traditional Jazz, Flamenco, Classical, Pop, Blues, and Rock, so versatility does play an important role in his music.

Guitarrista is the 5th album to explore his talents as a guitarist, where many rhythms and sub rhythms on this project are abundant, in a solo album that finds many points of interest during this thoughtful encounter with individualistic expression. Latin influences play an important factor during his many changes in style too, as both hands connect with the strings in a well versed manner.

Performing without percussion, brass, or winds, his solo touch of the strings give multiple layers of well versed melodies and nicely done sub rhythms, giving me the impression that any added musical accompaniment would be unwanted sound that just gets in the way of his unique approach to this solo guitar album.

The intricate patterns, along with a relaxed atmosphere, greatly emphasize his individual composing and performance skills, while also telling a beautiful story to his audiences.

Besides his solo projects, and performing with Strunz and Farah, he founded the popular group Huayucaltia, touring in the U.S. and other countries while opening for Sting, Jackson Browne, Carlos Vives, and other highly regarded artist. His numerous movie and documentary musical score credits are recognised in the film industry as well, since producers have also taken note of his versatility as a guitarist.

Ciro Hurtado’s prior albums In My Mind & Tales From Home both have accompaniments that blend just right with acoustic guitar, and expert performances are shown in all of his albums.

This comes from a person who recognizes that the guitar is really just a pretty instrument, and that a beautiful outcome is always dependent on whose hands the guitar is placed.

Visit cirohurtado.com to sample here, and cdbaby.com here.

Picture Copyright Bigstockphoto.com – devulderj.

Aloha! The island state of Hawaii has the unique distinction as a preferred vacation and honeymoon destination in the Continental United States, likewise having visitors from all countries seeking fun in the sun, relaxation, and a memorable vacation experience. Something to consider is how much more pleasurable this extraordinary vacation stay could be with some great island music to enhance and complete the experience.

New Age artist Kika Kane, residing in Maui Hawaii is a lifelong resident of this state of islands, atolls, and islets, composing music in the land of what most would consider paradise. While Kika does enjoy an active lifestyle, much of his time is spent playing the easy to recognize, but harder to perfect style of Slack-Key guitar with the island sunsets as his perpetual source of inspiration.

Kika Kane has become pretty popular with his 2 projects that are an adaptation of Slack-Key guitar. Ocean Girl is his first project, while his second release, The Sunset Sessions was nominated for Best Slack-Key album of the year at the Hawaii Music Awards. National Public Radio’s Echoes programming has had several of his songs airing on a weekly basis. Slack-Key is a unique finer style that originated in Hawaii during the 19th century and was developed for dancing and entertainment, becoming more popular when the Hawaiian dance craze began during the 1960’s. Local television and radio have tuned into Kika’s music too, playing many of his songs as music scores in TV commercials and airing in many resorts and hotels on the islands.

The Sunset Sessions is a nicely done blend of Tropical, Ambient, and New Age, with a pleasant mix of mid tempo guitar instrumentals that reward you with pleasant thoughts of island life or in some cases, pleasant memories of your last vacation, if you have ever had an opportunity to visit the islands.

The Slack-Key guitar technique can be loosely defined as a finger style where the musician loosens or slackens the guitar strings by tuning one or more strings, most often upward on the scales until the strings form a single cord, most often in G major.

First on the song itinerary is Here Comes The Rain. This song’s welcoming melody makes one feel like an incoming rain event should always be taken in stride. The carefree feeling of island living is shown in this song by a fluid back and forth movement of strumming guitar, that will likely have you swaying to the rhythm. Even if it does rain, brief changes of tempo turn the rain event into positive thoughts considering a colorful rainbow and magnificent sunset display will follow a brief period of rain.

The song A Place In The Sun translates into every fun attraction available to you during your audible visit to the islands by an energetic opening, blending guitar rhythms in a positive upbeat mood, taking well timed breaks during each refrain to allow everyone to soak in the sun. The Sunset Sessions reflects the positive feel, relaxing mood, and welcoming atmosphere, for which this island state is highly prized.

Hawaii naturally offers every form of music, ranging from symphonies, orchestras, and every popular genre of music under the sun,  but there is just something special about the authentic home style approach to New Age music Kika has to offer, so be sure to make your next vacation or honeymoon to the islands of Hawaii a memorable one. Aloha!

Visit kikakane.com and sample the album on CDBaby.

Picture copyright Jennifer Keller- and Bigstockphoto.com – Laurzo.

I find it very inspiring that so many popular musicians have discovered the New Age genre as a medium to express their musical diversity. New Age music is fast becoming ever more popular every day, compelling by offering musicians a unique category to display their music wares in a sub-genre expression.

Paul Jensen an acoustic guitarist who regularly performs in the Contemporary Folk style of Easy Listening guitar music. His lyrical verses are pleasing to the ear and are perfect for times of contemplation, placing oneself in a relaxing carefree mood, or for pure enjoyment.

Paul Jensen finds his inspiration from the natural wonders of the earth, and it greatly influences his personal style of singing and songwriting, in an expression of natural beauty everyone can discover for themselves.

The Other Side album from 2008 on the Juan Carlos Production label that debuted at #4 on NAR’s music charts is a great choice indeed. It is just right for those times set aside to self indulge in relaxing time spent alone, with a loved one, or with close friends and family who also appreciate the lighter side of easy listening pleasures.

The contributing artists furnish their own professional skills, including Grammy Award winning Will Ackerman, who lends a hand playing guitar, and his accomplished touch in producing this back to nature inspired album.

The 12 songs on The Other Side do emphasize much of what there is to explore in the vast wilderness full of wildlife and natural beauty, validating a more comtemplative approach to music that I found apparent in his pioneer style.

The contributing artists on Paul’s The Other Side release furnish their own professional skills, including Grammy Award winning Will Ackerman, who lends a hand playing guitar, and his accomplished touch in producing this back to nature inspired album.

Paul Jensen discovered an inspiration from the natural wonders of the earth, and is apparent that it greatly influences his personal style of singing and songwriting. Much of the creativity behind his work is drawn from adventurous time spent in the Colorado National Monument in the U.S.

This scenic National Park in Colorado has vast acres of wilderness land set aside for everyone to discover the natural wonders through hiking, horseback, and by adventure filled wilderness trails. This opportunity to discover America’s natural wonders gives people like Paul a chance to explore and grasp the sought after inspiration required for delivering his compelling Contemporary Instrumental Folk music.

In addition to Paul’s performance on acoustic guitar, beautiful vocals provide much of the richness, plus additional distinction is added by the warm characteristics of orchestra instruments. The wonderful instrumentation on The Other Side is enhanced by the cultured sounds of horn, cello, violin, piano and mandolin.

Paul Jensen’s diversity as a guitarist turns The Other Side into a release with a classic touch strengthening the harmonious beauty of his music in relation to our earth’s natural wonders, both of which are waiting for you to discover.

Visit Paul’s easygoing website juancarlosproductions.com. Photos are courtesy Paul Jensen.

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