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Charlie Hunter: Public Domain

Since emerging in the ’90s with a string of successful recordings on Blue Note, guitarist Charlie Hunter has placed his signature eight-string voice into a wide variety of settings-duos, trios, quartets, quintet and sextet. This one harkens back to an obscure self-released project from 2000, Solo Eight String Guitar. The brilliant conceit on this new solo offering is to use tunes that have been around long enough (70 years) that their copyrights have expired. Clever way to cut overhead, but these wonderful old songs-handpicked by Hunter’s 99-year-old grandpa-are also part of the collective consciousness of Americans. And Hunter does them proud.

Hunter’s unique gift, documented on 22 albums over the past 17 years, is his uncanny ability to lay down deep-toned, grooving basslines while simultaneously comping rhythmically and layering single-note melodies and improvisations on top. Now utilizing a custom-made seven-string ax with two dedicated bass strings, five regular guitar strings and separate inputs, he can convincingly simulate the sound of two or three musicians playing together. It’s an incredible circus feat to behold, but Hunter also happens to be a remarkably deep musician who is devoted to the tradition of his instrument in all of its applications: blues, folk, rock, reggae, country and jazz.

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