Just as Beachwood Sparks perfected the classic SoCal sound, this Bay Area trio captures the vibes of its home turf with a sublime gem of harmonious, psychedelic folk-rock.

If Pavement’s anthemic dream of dividing California into two states (North and South) ever came to fruition, it would only make perfect sense for psychedelic folk-rock trio the Range of Light Wilderness to be the official band for the top half—and the second song from their eponymous debut would be the official song.

“Perfect {the first time}” resonates with the vibes of honeyed-amber Big Sur sunsets and white-capped coastlines where wetsuits are a little thicker and people a little mellower. Of course, you need not be blonde and freckled to bask in TROLW’s crisp, Indian summer warmth. The lower fidelity of this soothing song has more in common with Ariel Pink than Ty Segall, and drummer Jessi Campbell’s organic mechanics play like sister beats to those of the War on Drugs’ Charlie Hall.

Meanwhile, Thomas Frank McDonald’s guitar playing is sublime. His soft-voiced rhythms perfectly match the gauziness of his dreamily confessional vocals. And his warm clean tones remind us that tube amps with lots of clean headroom can sound really warm and easy on the ears if you take some time to dial in a good sound and rein in your attack. therangeoflightwilderness.bandcamp.com

My years-long search for the “right” Bigsby-outfitted box finally paid off. Now how do I make this sumbitch work in my band?

Considering the amount of time I’ve spent (here and elsewhere) talking about and lusting after Gretsch hollowbody guitars, it’s taken me a remarkably long time to end up with a big Bigsby-outfitted box I truly love. High-end Gretsches are pricey enough that, for a long time, I just couldn’t swing it. Years ago I had an Electromatic for a while, and it looked and played lovely, but didn’t have the open, blooming acoustic resonance I hoped for. A while later, I reviewed the stellar Players Edition Broadkaster semi-hollow, and it was so great in so many ways that I set my sights on it, eventually got one, and adore it to this day. Yet the full-hollowbody lust remained.

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See a sampling of picks used by famous guitarists over the years.

Marty Stuart

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How does a legacy artist stay on top of his game? The pianist, hit singer-songwriter, producer, and composer talks about the importance of musical growth and positive affirmation; his love for angular melodicism; playing jazz, pop, classical, bluegrass, jam, and soundtrack music; and collaborating with his favorite guitarists, including Pat Metheny and Jerry Garcia.

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