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Since winning the 2000 National Fingerpick Guitar Championship, Pete Huttlinger has dazzled audiences by juggling a tune’s melody, harmony, and bass lines in ways that seem to defy 6-string physics. So when he releases a new solo album, fans expect to hear technically deep and beautifully arranged guitar instrumentals.
McGuire's Landing delivers such virtuosic fingerpicking—and a lot more. There’s an engaging 50-page book, also authored by Huttlinger that tells the story of a young Irish immigrant and his journey to Boston in 1865 and subsequent adventures. Another surprise: Of the 15 tracks, only one is a solo guitar piece. The rest of the originals are compelling ensemble works, and several feature ravishing string arrangements and guest singers. Huttlinger's dynamic flattop provides the continuity and his playing has never been better. A real treat: We hear him pull out a flatpick for several spirited Celtic tunes. —Andy Ellis
Must-hear track: “McGuire's Landing”