It seems like it’s been ages since I last did this (February, 2017, now that I look it up). Apologizes if I’ve missed any below. Just remind me (or send) and I’ll add it in if appropriate.
As usual, I stop short of giving actual “reviews” (which often becomes politically problematic for me) but have nothing but good comments about the current batch, all from old and new friends of mine. In many cases, I’ve had to refrain from gushing. Best of all, this latest bunch is just brimming with melody.
Sadly, I don’t stock any of these or offer them on Harp Guitar Music, as the physical CD business has slowed to a trickle. I do have a bunch of Tony’s first solo harp guitar CD and a few from Massimo if anyone is interested (as they are otherwise unavailable in the States). You should be able to easily find the rest through the artists’ web sites or FB pages.
Tony Barnard handed me a copy of his second harp guitar CD Inventions at HGG15. To say that my favorite thing about it is the cover simply means that I love the incredible fantasy machines (or whatever they are) Tony builds. I actually prefer Tony’s 21-string harp guitars in a solo setting, but his piano partner on this (Casey Golden) is amazing and their originals of every type of “jazz” are inventive indeed. It’s gotten a pile of great reviews. I see they’ve since released a digital follow-up (Spare Parts; Inventions II) since then.
Hiro Takai – or to use this professional name TakainoMoheji – was our feature at HGG15 and arrived with another self-produced CD, Sincerely, with his lovely personal packaging. It’s his best yet – recording, playing, tunes all of high quality which instantly put a smile on my face and a warm spot in my heart. I wish he had left me with some to share with you – I find them a de-stressing, hopeful balm in these turbulent times.
In December, I received Stephen Bennett’s anniversary recording Fifty Years, and Counting… No harp guitar, just 6-string, but brilliant tune choices and playing, and of course indispensable.
I’ve been hoping for Matt Thomas to produce an album like Man on the Moon since I first heard him at our second Harp Guitar Gathering. And now he has. He went for broke, recording at Kim Person’s studio. That means it doesn’t get any better, nor does Matt’s playing on his impressive original tunes. Come to HGG16 in October and be amazed (Matt won 3rd place at the last Winfield competition).
Dan Schwartz, a recent Harp Guitar Gathering feature performer, has finally released his first harp guitar CD, High Plains Gospel. My only complaint is that it’s an EP. Dude! A musician this good should not leave his audience wanting and I’m gonna give him hell when I next see him. I also want more of his gorgeous Weissenborn than the one duet here. As expected, exquisite playing and recording on his fine originals.
Jaci and I met Great Britain’s Jon Pickard at the French harp guitar festival in 2015 and found him a wonderful, warm new friend…and an under-the-radar great player. I hope he gets on everyone’s radar now with his debut CD – it’s quite an impressive and entertaining set of tunes (mostly original) on his 23-string harp guitar, elaborately utilizing the full range of his instrument on every harp guitar tune.
I already did a whole blog on Massimo Traffano, as discovering him and his unique instrument in Genoa, Italy was such a surprise and delight. Read the story here.
Muriel Anderson followed up her award-winning Nightlight Daylight double-CD with Eclipse, which has lots of solo harp guitar.
I haven’t yet got a copy – hope to at HGG16.
Another one I hope to pick up at HGG16 is by one of our concert invitees Tommy Loose. Until then, I’ll have to be satisfied with his inimitably distinctive CD cover. It consists of vocals and harp guitar and this is a guy who sings better than he plays and he plays better than me.
Jamie Dupuis keeps making videos and arranging new tunes. He’s got not one but 3 or 4 new cover albums in digital format. Honestly, I can’t keep up with his output! I’m sure they’re great, but I need him to burn me copies for my car (sorry, no time or technology to properly deal with digital at the moment.)
Last but not least, I blogged about my latest release last fall (25 tunes, now that’s a CD, Dan!). I recently finished the liner notes. Any by liner notes, I mean Gregg Miner style!
Finally, just as I was uploading this, one of my string customers sent me the note below. I couldn’t have said it better, so will share with you here. I’ve heard similar requests often during my two decades in this business. All of you above (and more) might take note!
“YouTube seems to be exploding with harp guitar originals and covers. Yet getting access to HG music scores are almost impossible. A few weeks back I exchanged a few emails with (a well-known harp guitarist) on the topic who mentioned that he didn’t offer any of his cover tunes for sale due to licensing hurdles. Understandable. Yet, on the 6-string finger-style front tons of folks offer their cover tabs and scores for sale via legit distribution methods. So somehow those hurdles seem crossed. Hopefully more professional Harp Guitarists write music for the instrument. Possibly, back in the day many people purchased Harp Guitars due to hearing Michael Hedges’ HG tunes before there was YouTube and other social media. How many more might also venture down the path of harp guitars if more HG musicians made their works available to the amateur musicians and other enthusiasts. This request is mentioned here knowing you have inside connections with many of the greats out there currently in the public eye. Encourage them!” – H.G.