Really surprised and delighted by the newest record from guitarist Kaki King. Not being so in touch with the singer/songwriter set, I’m generally reliant on someone more knowledgeable to fill me in. To be honest, one of the few reasons I even gave this album a listen was because one of her older records (she has four including her newest, Dreaming of Revenge) showed up on John McEntire’s production bio.

But I’m glad I did, because it’s a great spring record, full of her highly stylized virtuoso guitar playing. Her style is reminiscent of Preston Reed or Michael Hedges, characterized by violent fret tapping, drumming on her acoustic axe, and sweet harmonic melodies. What immediately impressed me however, in addition to discovering a sick musician who I had never heard of, was her songwriting ability. Too often, amazing musicians suffer from a dearth of simple songwriting ability (Steve Vai, Satriani, etc.) but Ms. King utilizes her gift with great skill. From hard-to-pin-down instrumentals (today’s post “Bone Chaos in the Castle”) to gentle ballads like “Open Mouth” and “So Much for So Little,” Kaki King reminds me more of Sam Prekop than Leo Kottke. While she can clearly shred at the highest level, her unique approach — more like small tears or tiny papercuts — is much more intense and affecting.

Sam Prekop, Michael Hedges, Leo Kottke, Preston Reed, Muriel Anderson

Kaki King