Jun 13, 2019
by Vesta Copestakes
San Francisco Bay Area groove/jazz guitarist brings his virtuoso technique to an intimate, self-released, instrumental project.
One of the hardest working guitarists in the San Francisco Bay Area, Nate Lopez has been making a name for himself for well over a decade. Playing an eight-string guitar/bass hybrid (an instrument-type championed by the legendary Charlie Hunter), Lopez delivers a sound that goes far beyond standard solo guitar impressions. With a style that is centered around a deep understanding of jazz and groove-oriented pop, Lopez’s powerful solo guitar playing captivates audiences at events and concerts throughout California, and he was voted “Best Acoustic Musician of the North Bay” by the North Bay Bohemian in 2017. Lopez also won the Arkansas Contemporary Fingerstyle Competition in 2015.
Having previously released two albums focusing on his electric guitar work, Lopez now delivers Innate, an album recorded entirely on his custom made carbon fiber acoustic eight-string, built by Ireland’s Emerald Guitars. Making full use of the instrument’s layout with five guitar strings and three bass strings (which are custom made by the Bay Area’s own Dunlop Manufacturing), Lopez is able to orchestrate his playing in a way that belies the fact that the entire album is recorded without overdubs.
On Innate, Lopez combines original compositions and arrangements, including his takes on the Beatles’ “Come Together” (with the tune’s iconic bass line offering an ideal showcase for this polyphonic picking!), Toto’s “Hold the Line,” Jaco Pastorius’ “The Chicken,” and Ray Charles’ “You Don’t Know Me.” The ever-present thread is of course groove, and as such, Lopez’ own tunes, such as “Back to Anaheim” (inspired by the annual NAMM trade show for musical instrument manufacturers), “Gone Ranglin” (a tribute to Jamaican guitar legend Ernest Ranglin), and even the deceptively mellow “Dolphin Waves” features a foot-tapping momentum that is not often found in a solo guitar performance.
Innate is now available at www.natelopez.com, Apple Music, CD Baby, and other music outlets.
Experience Nate in person at the cotati Music festival. https://cotati.org/news-events/events/music-festival
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