Guitar virtuosos often sacrifice melodic beauty for string-bending technique. Many guitar-lovers’ CDs sound more like showy practice routines than musical statements. Kaki King’s sophomore release, “Feet to Make Us Longer,” like her debut, “Everybody Loves You,” avoids this pitfall. Her stunning guitar technique only enhances her exquisite compositions and helps establish her as a worthy successor to guitar masters like Leo Kottke, John Fahey and Michael Hedges.

King’s style owes a lot to Kottke and Hedges, but she has selected elements from many other virtuosos, and mainly acoustic ones. Her particular combination of techniques — harmonics and sub-harmonics, two-handed tapping and complex chord patterns — is all her own. Guitar heads could spend hours working out how she gets her effects, but it’s the way King balances and orders those techniques that really impresses.

This time out, King focuses on warmth and diversity, rather than straight-on intensity. The first song, “Frame,” layers on graceful strummed chords, while “Solipsist” features long, pretty melody lines over tricky fingering. “Neanderthal” lets her guitar tones resonate from soft and meditative to strong and confident. At only 25, King may not quite fit the typical guitar monster mold, but even better, she makes her own.

In line with COVID-19 guidelines, the government is strongly requesting that residents and visitors exercise caution if they choose to visit bars, restaurants, music venues and other public spaces.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.