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The Story Behind Davey Graham’s 1960s-Era Fingerstyle Classic ‘Anji’

Fifty years have passed since Simon and Garfunkel released Sounds of Silence, the duo’s breakthrough album. In that time, “I Am a Rock,” “Richard Cory,” and the title cut have become folk-rock classics. But the record covered one already-beloved song: “Anji,” an instrumental by Davey Graham, was well-known among British…

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The Circle, Unbroken: 50 Years of The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

By Mark Kemp “What in the world are you listening to in there?” My mom was confused. It was the early 1970s and she was hearing acoustic guitars, banjos, and fiddles blaring from the wooden stereo console in our living room. Ordinarily, mom would have been fussing at me for…

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Chris Cornell holds his acoustic guitar.

Chris Cornell Unplugs to Discover His ‘Higher Truth’

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Chris Cornell died unexpectedly on May 17, 2017 . He was 52.] It’s 1990 and Soundgarden is on the cusp of becoming one of the biggest hard-rock acts in the world. The band had just signed to a major label, released its Billboard-charting second album, Louder Than Love, and Guns…

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Jason Mraz poses with his guitar in a studio

Jason Mraz Talks About Playing Nylon-String Guitar, Songwriting Games, and the Importance of Wordplay

Jason Mraz is a certified international pop star these days, with multiplatinum sales and a string of hit singles, but his heart is in the coffeehouse. For proof, just spin his 2001 album Live at Java Joe’s, which captures Mraz with percussionist Toca Rivera at the storied Southern California venue that also helped launch the career of Jewel. On that small stage, Mraz is in his element—singing and scatting through jazzy pop songs, nimbly grooving on acoustic guitar, delivering rapid-fire lyrics full of verbal mischief, and riffing off the crowd like a stand-up comic. In the years since, his instrumental palette and his audience has grown immensely thanks to songs like “The Remedy (I Won’t Worry),” the reggae-tinged “I’m Yours,” and “Lucky” with Colbie Caillat (for a transcription, see page 54), but the basic elements are the same. Strip away the production, and you have a guy with an acoustic guitar who thrives on the no-frills live experience.