Here’s a quick news release about some great new harp guitar music. These are four new CDs I picked up at the 17th Harp Guitar Gathering 2 weeks ago. (I already mentioned the new Stephen Bennett and Hirokatsu Takai CDs on a previous blog.)
In no particular order:
HGG regular Claude Laflamme sadly didn’t make it from Quebec this year. Apparently he (and luthier Michel Pellerin) were busy with their own festival, Salon International de Guitare de Québec International Guitar Show. Several of the Gathering attendees made it up there right after our own event. That’s Claude playing one of Benoit Meulle-Stef’s new HGs in one of the concert.
But Claude sent some of his brand new CDs to friends here, so I of course picked one up. Flawless and extremely musical as always, with some harp-uke tunes this time!
I knew that everyone’s favorite recording engineer Kim Person had recently done an album with (recent) harp guitarist Michael O’Brien and his daughter Emily. And I knew that Stephen Bennett had booked Michael to open Saturday morning’s segments. What I hadn’t known was what a great player Michael was, nor the virtuoso recorder player Emily was.
For me, they were the biggest surprise (and highlight) of HGG17 – and helped class us up for once! While Michael did some great solo pieces on the two (wonderful) harp guitars he built, Emily is first-billed on the CD. Deservedly so, but Michael’s nylon guitar and steel-string hg shine as well. I particularly loved – live, and on the CD – his composition “Homeless,” which vaguely stuck me as a sort of folk music version of Debussy’s “Afternoon of a Faun.”
Tommy Loose once again came from the U.K. (along with pal, Martin Pleass, entertaining as ever). Tommy both performed and shared in my The Year in Harp Guitar News presentation (and did a great first job!).
His latest release is a double CD – #1 combined some of his favorite tunes from past albums with some new recordings (was that a wooden acoustic 6-string I heard…?) while #2 featured his NAMM Podcast with Acoustic Uprising’s Drew Roller. I listened all the way through to make sure he mentioned me (he did). What an articulate lad…and Tommy’s got way more creds than I previously knew about!
Jazz harp guitarist Tony Barnard showed up with a fantastic new CD – but only virtually, the bum! We all had to just imagine it until we got home to download it (after which I burned my purchased files to a proper CD for the car, printing out his virtual cover to give him physical credibility). It’s an all-Emerald album with much harp guitar and other carbon fiber creations. I love his plucked-string-orchestrated end piece. I see a new career as a Pat Metheny-style virtuoso band leader. Sadly (for us), Tony is moving back to Australia. Aussie HGG, anyone?