The String Episode 55

May 7, 2018

In Nashville, the greatest guitar town in the world, Guthrie Trapp is at the top of the mountain. He can range across every style, improvise with endless invention and subtlety. He can shred or twang or drift elegantly. And most of the time, he’s a sideman and studio player. A player in demand for being able to serve and enhance a song and do no more than what’s called for. But he’s also a mind-bending solo artist. And his second LP as a leader and composer came out this spring. It’s called Life After Dark.

Trapp has worked with Patty Loveless, Dolly Parton, Jerry Douglas, Garth Brooks, Rosanne Cash and many other greats. Currently he tours with John Oates in his solo configuration. But Guthrie’s  work as a leader ranks up there with the best guitar music being made today. For years he’s led his own small group at a variety of Nashville venues, where he can really stretch out, refine his originals, indulge in some favorite old songs. He put out his first solo album in 2012, called Pick Peace, and it’s an entirely instrumental project. This new one mingles instrumentals with guest artists taking star turns on vocals - Jimmy Hall sings the blues. Charlie Worsham and Vince Gill sing country classics. Bekka Bramblett offers a stunning take on “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.” It shows how much reverence he has among his peers in music city. I like what acoustic Americana star Tim O’Brien says about Guthrie. “He’ll blow you away but he’ll never wear you out.”