A graceful, crowning solo statement from a master of acoustic slide.

Lloyd Thayer

North Star

Lloyd Thayer is revered in the New England acoustic music scene and among deep slide guitar devotees for his melodic intelligence, ceaseless invention, graceful composition, and glorious tone. His new album illuminates those qualities in 70 minutes of solo instrumentals played on Dobro, Weissenborn, and Chaturangui—an instrument with 20 to 24 strings designed by Hindustani music giant Debashish Bhattacharya to take the middle ground between a slide guitar and a sitar. Simply put, North Star is an essay in contemplative beauty illuminated by lightning flashes of slide, dissonant surprises, and a radiant warmth that emerges from every note. And while this may sound strange, there’s a sense of humility that extends across the vastness of Thayer’s global-music landscape. —Ted Drozdowski

Must-hear tracks: “The Boss Universal Sutra,” “Last Right Whale”

Looking for more great gear for the guitar player in your life (yourself included!)? Check out this year's Holiday Gear Finds!

Read MoreShow less

Dunable announce new Minotaur model featuring Grover Rotomatic Keystone tuners.

Read MoreShow less

This full-amp-stack-in-a-box pedal brings a new flavor to the Guitar Legend Tone Series of pedals, Missing Link Audio’s flagship product line.

Read MoreShow less

John Bohlinger plays “Grandpa,” Kurt Cobain’s 1953 D-18 that resides in the Martin Guitar 1833 Shop and Museum.

Energy is in everything. Something came over me while playing historical instruments in the Martin Guitar Museum.

When I’m filming gear demo videos, I rarely know what I’m going to play. I just pick up whatever instrument I’m handed and try to feel where it wants to go. Sometimes I get no direction, but sometimes, gear is truly inspiring—like music or emotion falls right out. I find this true particularly with old guitars. You might feel some vibe attached to the instrument that affects what and how you play. I realize this sounds like a hippie/pseudo-spiritual platitude, but we’re living in amazing times. The Nobel Prize was just awarded to a trio of quantum physicists for their experiments with quantum entanglement, what Albert Einstein called “spooky action at a distance.” Mainstream science now sounds like magic, so let’s suspend our disbelief for a minute and consider that there’s more to our world than what’s on the surface.

Read MoreShow less