A virtuoso guitarist with heart delivers a charged debut.

Patrick Droney

Patrick Droney (EP)

Born to a blues-musician father, Patrick Droney started on 6-strings at age 6. He received the “New Generation Award” from the Robert Johnson Blues Foundation at age 13, which allowed him to play with greats like B.B. King, Elvis Costello, and James Brown. (Seriously.)

Now 26, the Jersey-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter has independently released a pop-soul debut EP of five tracks. The first single, “Stand and Deliver,” cracked the Top 10 on Spotify’s Viral 50, with its bluesy, catchy hooks à la John Mayer.

When listening to new music, for me the question is: Does it move me? For Droney—whose writing is standout, melodically rich, smooth, passionate, articulate—the answer is yes. I saw him live and vouch for his Robert Johnson-awarded virtuoso chops. (You might recognize him from official Fender demos on YouTube.) Droney’s not one-dimensional, but it’s clear the guitar has his heart. It’s quite nice to see a young talent scorching on solos and authentically connecting with millennials.

Must-hear tracks: “Brooklyn,” “Ruined”

A faithful recreation of the Germanium Mosrite Fuzzrite with a modern twist.

Read MoreShow less

Presets extend the flexibility of an already expansive and easy-to-use reverb.

Intuitive. Great range in all controls. Well-built.

Some digital artifacts at long decay times.


Walrus Audio Slötvå


Walrus Audio is a prolific builder, but, as the five reverb pedals in their lineup suggest, they have a real affinity for manipulating time and space. The beauty of the Slötvå reverb (which is derived from the company’s very similar Spin FV-1 chip-based Slö reverb) is how satisfying and simple it makes dramatic shifts between time/space textures.

Read MoreShow less

With such a flashy flame top, the Silvertone 1445 was built to catch the eyes of department store shoppers.

I don’t know what’s going on lately, but I’m breaking down all over and my shoulder is the latest to crumble. When I was a kid I would practice guitar in my bedroom near a radiator with an ungrounded amp plug and I’d get a zap right through my guitar and into my hands. Well, my shoulder pain is like that now, only without the cool story of rock ’n’ roll survival. I simply woke up one day like this. After a few weeks of discomfort, I figured I’d try out a new pillow, since mine are flattened like a wafer. I ventured out to the mall and, much to my sadness, saw the local Sears store shuttered, with weeds growing up from the sidewalks and concrete barriers blocking the large glass doors. I know I don’t get out much, but, man, was I sad to see the Sears store I’d known since childhood closed-up like that. My wife was laughing at me because apparently it had been closed for some time. But since I seem to exist on a separate timeline than most folks, it was all news to me.

Read MoreShow less