Review: Adrian Holovaty’s Playful and Precise ‘Melodic Guitar Music’ 

Holovaty’s “first proper album” comprises ten instrumentals that celebrate his love for melody, improvisation, Chet Atkins, the Beatles, and Django Reinhardt.
Adrian Holovaty, Melodic Guitar Music (

In his day job, Adrian Holovaty is the founder/developer of Soundslice, an online music-learning tool that syncs audio, video, and music notation. In his free time, he’s a fingerstyle guitarist who for the past 17 years has been posting covers of pop and rock songs on YouTube. (The boldest perhaps is a spirited Gypsy jazz version of Aerosmith’s “Walk this Way,” edited seamlessly with Steven Tyler’s original vocals; the semi-classical theme from MacGyver, ending with a well-earned smirk of satisfaction, coming in a close second.) But Melodic Guitar Music, which Holovaty calls his “first proper album,” is something completely new: ten original instrumentals, all deliciously playful, that celebrate his love for melody, improvisation, Chet Atkins, the Beatles, and Django Reinhardt. 


Melodic Guitar Music exudes a Reinhardt–like bounce, often propelled by a Chicago-meets-Amsterdam variant of la pompe, the rhythmic foundation of Gypsy jazz, played on Holovaty’s 2016 Traditional model by Portland, Oregon, luthier Bob Holo. Atkins-inspired crispness manifests in the album’s endlessly cool and complex variations, with Holovaty double-tracking himself on a 2010 Martin 000-15M. His reverence for the Beatles is apparent in the record’s perpetual cheeriness and love for melody. And when all three influences come together—say, on “Grand Ole Bopry”—the results are astonishing: sweet, precise, and so light they defy gravity. 

When there’s seriousness, like in “The Aching Waltz,” it’s a quiet counterpoint that easily resolves into sunshine, and when the mood turns light blue in “Bluespop,” it’s really just playfulness in a different key—yet another reason to let the two guitars dance across the mix, leaving colorfully syncopated jazz riffs floating over the boom-chuck rhythm. And the melodies? Delightfully clever, exquisitely constructed, and impossible to listen to without a smile. 

Kenny Berkowitz
Kenny Berkowitz

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *