Spend 40 minutes watching Kinloch Nelson in this Acoustic Guitar Session and you might just become a better guitarist. Between performing four songs (two originals: “Kittens” and “Solitudes,” plus covers of “Go Away Little Girl” and “Sleepwalk”), Nelson gives what amounts to a solo fingerstyle guitar masterclass, going deep on such topics as note choice, sustain, alternate tunings, dynamics, and pet sitting(!).

Nelson, who was in the Bay Area to celebrate the release of Partly on Time (Tompkins Square), a “new” album that was recorded 50 years ago, clearly had the number 50 in mind for this Session. Explaining his approach to “Kittens,” he says, “If you happen the hear the record, you’ll notice it’s very different from the way I’ve just played it. Mostly because I’ve had 50 years to learn about sound, and the way notes blossom, and how to coax the most of the instrument.”


That half century of continuous learning is apparent. Nelson’s playing is dynamic and expressive, and he explores the tonal possibilities of his guitar (a steel-string with a classical vibe built by Rochester, New York, luthier Bernie Lehmann) while maintaining the energy and drive of the music.

Learn how to play “Solitudes” here