slide guitar

Canadian guitarist Ariel Posen joins the pod to talk about his slide guitar influences, how he broke into open tunings, and how to get the most out of your fuzz pedals.

Zach and Rhett kick things off with a catch-up on recent projects. Rhett celebrates his new 100-watt Two-Rock Classic Reverb Signature, which recently terrorized a couple sitting in the front row of one of his gigs. Then guitarist Ariel Posen logs on to, first and foremost, clear up how to pronounce his name.

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Way back in 1965, Taj Mahal left his Massachusetts home and headed to California in search of a 17-year-old blues phenom named Ry Cooder. The rest, as Mahal puts it, is “our-story.”

Photo by Abby Ross

Almost six decades after forming the short-lived Rising Sons, the two legends reconvene to pay tribute to the classic blues duo of Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee on the warm and rootsy Get on Board.

Deep into Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder’s Get on Board: The Songs of Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee, percussionist Joachim Cooder lays out, letting the two elder musicians can take a pass through “Pawn Shop Blues.” To start, they loosely play around with the song’s intro on their acoustic guitars. “Yeah, nice,” remarks Mahal off-handedly in his distinctive rasp—present since he was a young man but, at 79, he’s aged into it—and Cooder lightly chuckles. They hit the turnaround and settle into a slow, loping tempo. It’s a casual and informal affair—some notes buzz, and it sounds like one of them is stomping his foot intermittently. Except for Cooder’s slide choruses, neither guitar plays a rhythm or lead role. They simply converse.

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In the past decade alone, Colin Linden has played on, produced, or engineered at least 60 albums, for a diverse cast of artists ranging from Lucinda Williams to Fantastic Negrito. Here, he picks his trusty goldtop from the Gibson Custom Shop.

Photo by Laura Godwin

How an eclectic, blues-fueled guitar hero took a spark from Howlin’ Wolf and put fire in his music. Plus, the vintage guitars and amps he used to create his swampy, stomping new album, Blow.

Some guitar heroes explode across the stage or erupt from recordings. Think Hendrix or Jimmy Page. Others, like Colin Linden, have a quieter brilliance. They play to support fellow musicians and their own songs with a perfection that extends beyond service into art, dancing a characterful line between the sacred and the profane, the beguiling and the dramatic. They have a visionary approach, distilled from years of surveying their craft and shaping what they’ve learned into diamonds. And with those jewels they can refract complex emotions or simply cut like the patient, intuitive, and exacting badasses they are.

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