unwind

When Yasmin Williams plays her Timberline harp guitar, she uses her fretting hand to strike the low-resonating strings on the upper neck. They're tuned to open G.

Photo by Kim Atkins

An emerging star finds peace and inspiration in the world of 2020 and, with her unconventional style and instruments (including harp guitar and tap shoes), distills it into the beautiful instrumentals of Urban Driftwood, her second album.

Acoustic guitar fingerstylist Yasmin Williams had a wide breadth of musical influences growing up in Washington D.C. Everything from go-go funk to Jimi Hendrix to Nirvana to hip-hop inspired her to pick up an electric guitar, and that amalgamation of styles remains the bedrock of the music she makes. But it's how she translates it all through her acoustic guitar, kora, kalimba, and a pair of tap shoes that makes the 24-year-old's latest release, Urban Driftwood, so captivating.

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"'If I fall and somehow my career ends on that particular day, then so be it," Joe Bonamassa says of his new hobby, bicycling. "If it's over, it's over. You've got to enjoy your life."

Photo by Steve Trager

For his stylistically diverse new album, the fiery guitar hero steps back from his gear obsession and focuses on a deep pool of influences and styles.

Twenty years ago, Joe Bonamassa was a struggling musician living in New York City. He survived on a diet of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and ramen noodles that he procured from the corner bodega at Columbus Avenue and 83rd Street. Like many dreamers waiting for their day in the sun, Joe also played "Win for Life" every week. It was, in his words, "literally my ticket out of this hideous business." While the lottery tickets never brought in the millions, Joe's smokin' guitar playing on a quartet of albums from 2002 to 2006—So, It's Like That, Blues Deluxe, Had to Cry Today, and You & Me—did get the win, transforming Joe into a guitar megastar.

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Bogner's beastliest amp is made miniature—and still slays.

Excellent sounds in a portable and very affordably priced package.

A footswitchable clean channel and onboard reverb would make it perfect.

$329

Bogner Ecstasy Mini
bogneramplification.com

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The original Bogner Ecstasy, released in 1992, is iconic in heavy rock circles. Though it was popularized and preferred by rock and metal artists (Steve Vai and Brad Whitford were among famous users), its ability to move from heavy Brit distortion to Fender-like near-clean tones made it appealing beyond hard-edged circles. Even notorious tone scientist Eric Johnson was enamored with its capabilities.

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