November 23, 2020: "This Week in Fingerstyle!"


November 23, 2020

It is November and the world is still mostly in lockdown and a pandemic that has shattered or constrained untold numbers of lives. But some good news and hope are starting to peek through the gloom! Through all of this, musicians have been hit some of the hardest with their relied-upon gig income having vanished and their lives and finances stressed to the limit. Musicians have rolled with the punches and tried to reinvent themselves with streaming concerts, recording at home, lessons and concerts through Zoom, Facebook and Instagram. Succinctly, it's been tough to say the least! I admire the toughness, the resiliency, the generosity, the love and the caring shown by the musical world during this difficult time in history. Better days ahead!

So, it's time for me to "raise the chatter" on the small segment of the musical world that I peek into every day: the diverse and incredible world of "fingerstyle guitar!" So much good fingerstyle guitar music is being produced these days by incredible and talented musicians, and I'm here to put a smile on their faces every Monday morning!

Daryl Shawn, an incredibly talented fingerstyle artist himself, makes my job easy as he sorts through all the new releases each week and chooses a new "top ten" featuring a representative current best in the world of fingerstyle and adds the new top ten to "The most exciting playlist on Spotify" every Monday morning! "This Week in Fingerstyle" curated by Daryl Shawn is where you'll find the absolute best that true "Indie" has to offer in the world of fingerstyle! Daryl does all the selecting of the tunes, I just make a few comments. Put your headphones on or AirPods in and disappear into these wonderful sounds as we check out what gems Daryl found for us this week! "This Week" now has over 500 "Followers" enjoying this weekly treat!

First up this week is "Beneath" by Michelle Qureshi! One of the most prolific artists of any genre (and Michelle's talents span many of those genres) "Beneath" is just one of the 24 exquisite tracks from her latest release "Within". This is an album that has a heavenly sound from beginning to end: a full hour of bliss by an artist who has reached near perfection but seems to somehow get even better with each new album. The music on this album is world class and the sound/production is the finest this world has to offer thanks to the talents of Tom Eaton, sound/production engineer at Imaginary Road Studios. Put this entire album on as you push through this hectic week and life will be better and you may even find some new depth "Within" yourself! 

"Spanish Dream" by Dany Kuhn & Jürg Kindle will have you fixated on this intense dream full of the sound of deep cello, strings and nylon string guitar. The octave runs by Jürg are exhilarating and this entire piece will have you riveted to your seat as the intense sounds roll and echo over you! Bravo!

"Hallelujah" is John Evergon's unique take on this Leonard Cohen classic made famous by Jeff Buckley among others. John takes us on a heavenly journey beyond the previous boundaries of this song. Developing the "uplifts" made famous by Buckley, John finds a way to add an extra essence to these familiar phrases. John fills every second of this 5 minute track with something unique, intriguing and exhilarating! Really beautifully done John!

"Spanish Mystery" by Atacustico (Agustin Tagliabue's new acoustic moniker) is absolutely thrilling in a way that only flamenco inspired guitar can thrill! This one put a big smile on my face this morning! Can't wait for more Agustin!

"Twitch" by Jordan Brodie is a bluesy/jazzy upbeat piece that will have you up and dancing while trying to envision how someone gets all this wonderful, tasty sound out of one guitar! Thrilling and inspiring!

"The Greek-Roman Ship" by Daniel Padim is just full-on driving, powerful guitar! With a little jangle in the strings that has a beautiful resonance, the guitar just drives full-throttle from beginning to end! Some pieces seem to hit different parts of the body and Daniel drives this one straight at your chest with power and excitement! Wonderful stuff!

"What a Wonderful World" by Dustin Hanusch takes us on a romantic but thrilling ride through this familiar classic! Really well done!

"Moments From Home" by Arlo Anwin may be the most creative, soothing and unusual piece I've heard this year! Starting with the exquisite sounds of songbirds, Arlo's guitar enters as just another of the songbirds. No competition between the species here, Arlo just blends in and lets the songbirds set the pace! Adding the true sounds of nature to a piece often comes off as "contrived" or "stretching" but Arlo nails this one. There is nothing artificial here, it just works beautifully! Arlo has accomplished what I often dream of as a blend of nature and songwriting! Wow, wow, wow!

"Sleigh Ride" by guitar master and slack key perfection Jim "Kimo" West may have just become my favorite holiday song! Jim takes this song where it's never been and adds just enough Hawaiian/slack key feel that you know you are riding through deep green fields in the "upcountry" of Hawaii on this ride! Absolutely delightful!!!

And "Junk" by Denis Turbide is Denis' cover of the Paul McCartney's classic. A beautiful, whispy stroll down memory lane. A beautiful piece to reminisce longingly over all the "Junk" in our lives and all the memories associated with each precious piece!

And don't stop there! Remember that all the past selections follow the new top ten starting with my own "Maui No Ka Oi"  I was surprised to find this piece at the close of the new top ten, but it brought a big smile as I reminisced about all the 35 years of winters on the beautiful island of Maui. "Maui No Ka Oi" was written on a lanai just steps from the ocean in Maui! Maui is a special and inspiring place for me, and I've been fortunate to have been able to spend a considerable amount of time there over 35 years and write several songs with a Hawaiian feel! "Mahalo nui loa" Daryl for bringing back all these memories! So much beautiful music on this list, it is rather amazing and it grows by ten new pieces each week!

Daryl Shawn, thank you again for making my Monday mornings a very special and exciting part of every week! And for highlighting the talents of these brilliant artists who work and struggle so hard just to share their beautiful music with the world!

And that's it for another "This Week in Fingerstyle" by Daryl Shawn who every week puts together "the most exciting playlist on Spotify"!

Remember to "Follow/Heart/Like" the playlist that Daryl Shawn so painstakingly creates every week and "Follow/Heart/Like" the artists that give you their all each week!

Join us every week for "This Week in Fingerstyle" on Spotify!


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