eric skye

The duo's ultra-spontaneous approach and deep rapport paid off in the studio, where it took a mere three hours to record the entire Artifact album in, says Skye, "just one long take."

Photo by Dan Gabel

Two fingerstyle virtuosos blend lush tones, artful compositions, and low-key comedy with a cool-headed conversational approach.

One evening last August, I drove through the glittering streets of Los Angeles to check out the acoustic guitar duo of Mark Goldenberg and Eric Skye at Genghis Cohen, a Szechuan restaurant and live-music venue in West Hollywood. I found the pair ensconced in the restaurant's cozy music room, presenting their quietly thrilling brand of jazz-oriented fingerstyle guitar to a rapt and intimate audience.

The guitarists were celebrating the release of their debut album, Artifact. Their playing corresponded neatly to their appearance. Goldenberg, 63, looking like a cool professor with his spectacles and Chuck Taylor All Stars, exhibited compositionally minded restraint while drawing from a vast palette of harmonic colors. Fourteen years Goldenberg's junior, Skye—whose brawny physique is emphasized by a sleeve of tattoos—worked in a comparatively more athletic mode. They played together telepathically, calling to mind the great duo records guitarist Jim Hall and pianist Bill Evans made in the 1960s.

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