Welcome to part two of Crossover Week here on Classical Guitar n Stuff. In case you missed part one you can check it out here: CLICK HERE!
As you’ll know (well, those of you who’ve been here more than a handful of times) I’m quite the music fan, not just a classical guitar nut. I’m also quite partial to other forms of guitar, including our steel stringed acoustic and electric cousins. I’m a big believer in cross-fertilisation, listening to, learning from and taking the best, juiciest bits I fancy from other forms of guitar music, and other music in general really!
You’ll also know however that to get a gig on the blog, as it were, as a non-nylon string player is quite a rare thing. There are plenty of websites and blogs and so on out there on the tinerweb dedicated to electric guitar, rock music and so on, so I like to keep this as our classical guitar enclave! Big up to the nylon string! However, reverting back to what I said above I think it’s very healthy to explore other musics within the guitar family and beyond. It all gets a bit incestuous otherwise!!
As you may imagine I get requests a-many to feature all sorts of artists on the blog, so it does take a little something to coax me away from purely (more or less) classical guitarists for the above-mentioned reasons. I was introduced a couple of weeks ago to a young artist by the name of Lindsey Saunders, and this young woman’s original acoustic steel string music was one of those rare moments inviting me outside of the nylon string realm.
Released just this week (4th November) is Lindsey’s first instrumental composition, Miles Before Sleep, written for a contemporary dance production in Chicago last summer. The recording is comprised of four movements – Task, Decision, Questioning and Acceptance.
I’ll admit it takes me a while to get my ear into a purely steel string recording, as it’s quite a different sound palette and texture to the nylon string classical guitar. Once you atune the ear into the bright, piercing nature of the steel string you can really begin to appreciate some of the more subtle nuances of the playing style.
Lindsey’s style is very much an indie pop-rock style with inflections of country, chord driven melodies and infectious toe-tapping strumming – and I should mention delivered with a mixed plectrum and plucked right hand technique (the first artist with a plectrum on Classical Guitar n Stuff!!).
So here are my thoughts on Miles Before Sleep…..
Task is a lovely, melodic opener to the recording, starting out gently, quietly, simply, building in volume and intensity throughout. I can imagine someone singing along with it. A kind of song without words.
Decision could be in contention for my favourite on the recording. Lovely use of harmonics. Creeping melody, leaving us hanging wondering what’s coming next and continuing in this vein, leading us to an “ahhh” moment when the fantastic steel string chordal playing comes into full effect.
Questioning is in fact probably my favourite of the four tracks. I love intricate-sounding finger work in the middle before it moves into a quasi-country stomping strum before then giving away to more loose, magical sounding chord progressions that really do sound as if they’re questioning something as the title suggests.
And after all that questioning comes the final Acceptance. In its major key and lyrical style it really does feel like a great close to the recording – its clearly an acceptance of something, an understanding, a resolution to the almost aching qualities within the music that preceded it.
Check out Lindsey in action and that interesting right hand technique with a clip of Decision:
Lindsey Saunders recording Miles Before Sleep is available from all good digital music outlets worldwide.