NPR logo Hayden Pedigo's 'Greetings From Amarillo' Is A Desert-Swept Waltz In 12 Strings

Viking's Choice

Hayden Pedigo's 'Greetings From Amarillo' Is A Desert-Swept Waltz In 12 Strings

Hayden Pedigo's new album, Greetings From Amarillo, comes out June 9. Erik Burdett/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Erik Burdett/Courtesy of the artist

Hayden Pedigo's new album, Greetings From Amarillo, comes out June 9.

Erik Burdett/Courtesy of the artist

The Texas Panhandle is windy and flat and full of sky, material ripe for country songs and buried Cadillacs. Terry Allen did just that — the former anyway — in 1978: "As close as I'll ever get to heaven / Is makin' speed up old 87 / Of that hard Amarillo Highway." The 23-year-old guitarist Hayden Pedigo's new album, Greetings From Amarillo, is "a tribute to the landscape of Amarillo, Texas and the different spaces I've discovered here," he says, including not just solo guitar but also ambient synth tracks. It's also tribute to other heroes of the Panhandle, including Terry Allen, who closes out the album with his voicemail musings.

The album's opening title track is a desert-swept waltz in 12 ringing strings, like a clavichord in overdrive. Pedigo doesn't stray too far from the Robbie Basho influence of the promising guitar music he made as a teenager, but his technique and sense of melody have now coalesced into something his own. "Greetings From Amarillo" blooms like a field of Texas bluebonnets swaying on the side of the highway. Over four minutes, the delicate and lilting melody dips in and out of major and minor keys, swirling sand into a dancing dust devil.

Greetings From Amarillo comes out June 9 on Driftless Recordings.