Adam Palma’s ‘Palm-istry’ Is a Fingerstyle Gem

Imaginative fingerstylist crosses genres in diverse set
Adam Palma Palm-istry

The title of Adam Palma’s Palm-istry is more than wordplay on the UK-based Polish guitarist’s name. The palm-reading metaphor identifies this collection as a summation of the fingerstylist’s career so far, as well as a signpost to his future.

Palma touches on his electric rock guitar roots with an acoustic Jimi Hendrix medley, where the razor wire strum of “Hey Joe” dovetails into popping fingerpicking on a swaggering “The Wind Cries Mary.” This, along with the ringing, rocking “Into Battle,” is just a warm-up for the main event.


A trio of acoustic legends who have inspired and played with Palma —Tommy Emmanuel, Al Di Meola and Biréli Lagrèneare the true focus of this set. The jostling “Kentucky Miners” pays tribute to Emmanuel, with double-stops, banjo rolls and Merle Travis-style picking that makes Palma’s solo turn sound like a cadre of quick-pickers. With a slurred melody riding atop a ricocheting rhythm, Palma turns a Polish TV show theme into a flamenco-style homage to Di Meola. And Palma acknowledges gypsy jazz master Lagrène with a time signature-shifting rendition of Django Reinhardt’s “Nuages”— but he also folds in fingerstyle pyrotechnics reminiscent of Emmanuel’s genre-jumping dexterity and Di Meola’s Latin jazz lyricism. Here Palma’s influences converge and conjoin, indicating a bright future ahead for this imaginative stylist.

But you don’t have to read his palm to know that. Just listen to the man play.

Palma plays one of the album’s pieces which, translated from the Polish title means “Healthy Optimism”.

This article originally appeared in the November 2017 issue of Acoustic Guitar magazine.

Pat Moran
Pat Moran

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