Mike Meier: 'Rosenbach'

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Mike Meier 300 flamenco album Acoustic Guitar

Making solo, instrumental acoustic guitar work engaging outside of live performance isn't easy. Washington, DC guitarist Mike Meier manages to do so on his flamenco-style, classical guitar CD, appropriately titled Acoustic Guitar, offering interesting and concise musical ideas through masterful fingerpicking.

By recording the album live, without overdubbing, the songs are filled with imperfections, misplayed notes and inconsistent rhythms. That isn't to say the album is poorly performed, however. Instead, this gives the music a genuine quality that draws the listener in. The highly intricate, live-recorded instrumental guitar work makes the CD immediately enticing and at times captivating.

"Rosenbach" is one of the album's more memorable tracks, built on a very hum-able classical style motive. Meier embellishes the repeated guitar melody with fingerpicking, rhythmic Spanish guitar strumming and harmonics to punctuate his musical phrasings. In this way, the track is expertly paced. As one of the album's shortest tracks, it keeps the music from dragging or meandering.

Despite of the album's beautiful musical arrangements, Meier can't read music. Originally from Hamburg, Germany, Meier taught himself how to play guitar at a young age, but never learned how to read music. "I am largely self-taught," he says. "I started probably around age 12, got gradually better, played in rock bands until probably age 18. The big change came when I went to Argentina [for an internship]. I met one of the well-known, traditional Tango guitarists, Carlos Luna. He taught me traditional Argentine Folk & Tango, and we performed together." Luna never read music either, so Meier learned to play by ear, making the complexities of his playing on Acoustic Guitar all the more impressive.

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