Guitars offer an impressive diversity of sound. From the vigor of flamenco to the power of rock, successful guitar riffs can transform any track into a hit. Today, however, we want to shine a light on an unsung musical genre: acoustic instrumental guitar.
This melodic but technical genre is the emotion-eliciting ear candy we are starving for. Played in the morning, it offers a peaceful meditation that can carry us through even the most hectic days. Mid-day, its a familiar and warm taste of home and, in the evening, it's a suave ballad that reminds us of roaring fireplaces in the winter and rich tulip glasses of cognac. Moreover, played during any party, instrumental guitar gracefully adds an air of understated intellectualism and elegance in a way smooth jazz cannot.
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It's no surprise that Victor Wooten was ranked in the Top 10 Bassists of All Time by Rolling Stone and he takes the bass to new levels on his album Palmystery. We find such joy in this blessed blend of jazzy tradition and polished modernity.
Performing Fences, Kaki King plays the tinny and angelic Griffin guitar, a petite 12-string instrument thats uniquely capable of capturing all the complexity of this flawless composition. When we first heard her perform this piece, on a rainy Tuesday night in Manhattan, it brought us, and many around us, quite literally to tears. While the recording can't capture the nuance of live acoustics, we still listen to it ceaselessly!
No acoustic guitar list would be complete without Maneli Jamal. Jamal had moved 20 times between five different countries before he was 18, often as a consequence of refugeeism or deportation. Ending up in Canada, Jamal would wake in the middle of the night understandably not knowing where he was and, taking to songwriting for comfort, he wrote Morning in Adanac (Canada spelled backwards if you missed it!). We feel an effortless sense of peace listening to this and it's one of our go to tracks when we start feeling lost or overwhelmed by life.
Pat Metheny takes a slightly different approach, enticing us with intense ebbs and flows of an undulating melody. Complete with dizzying layers and gorgeous builds, the way this piece engulfs us is almost palpable.
Utilizing the gentle rumble of supporting drums, Thievery Corporation transports us to Brazil with this contemporary interpretation of ethereal and sensual bossa nova. Saudade, named after a Portuguese word that describes the feeling of sadness associated with missing and longing for something you love-a melancholy combination of nostalgia and pining-this track makes us shiver with emotion.