Bruce Molsky has long been celebrated in the folk world, mostly for his old-time fiddle and banjo playing. But Molsky started his musical journey on the guitar and has always maintained a close relationship with the instrument. On his long-overdue guitar album, Everywhere You Go, he revisits the music that has left the deepest impressions on him, from record store purchases he made as a teenager in Bronx, New York, to the folk traditions he has encountered in his far-flung travels and listening habits.
Molsky recorded the album using three guitars—a 1940 Martin 000-28, 1934 National Triolian, and Santa Cruz OM. The Martin can be heard on “lasitera,” Molsky’s take on a 1930s Malagasy composition that shows both his openness to a world of music and his faultless fingerpicking technique.
The National makes an appearance on Molsky’s interpretations of Tampa Red’s “Boogie Woogie Dance” and Blodwyn Pig’s “Dear Jill.” Throughout both of these decidedly contrasting tracks, Molsky makes the guitar sing with his exacting bottleneck work and rhythmic verve.
In an entirely different direction, Molsky used his Santa Cruz to record “Fios Chun a’ Bhàird” as a duet with the Gàidhealtachd singer Mary Ann Kennedy. Tuning the guitar to open G with a low C, he discovers striking new harmonies in this song that originated in the 19th-century Scottish Highlands.
It’s rare for a fingerstyle guitar record to cover as much ground with so much depth and authenticity. Everywhere You Go is a beautiful document of a musical life well lived.
This article originally appeared in the March/April 2022 issue of Acoustic Guitar magazine.