That's it! I'm pulling the plug!
September 11, 2008 8:09 PM   Subscribe

Help me find some good songs or artists featuring the acoustic guitar.

I'm looking for some good acoustic (or semi-acoustic) songs to suit my early morning/late night moods. As a starting point, here's a few I like:

"Mercy" by Burden Brothers
"In My Sky" by Burden Brothers
All of Disc 2 of "In Your Honor" by Foo Fighters
"Why Georgia" by John Mayer
"Better Together" by Jack Johnson

Help me out, music lovers! What artists and songs do I absolutely need to have? Any suggestions are welcome.
posted by kjackelen05 to Media & Arts (39 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
A few artists I think of when I think of great music that prominently features acoustic guitar are:
Cat Stevens
Elliot Smith
Nick Drake
All are very youtubable if you want to get a sample.
posted by DanielDManiel at 8:35 PM on September 11, 2008

Jose Gonzales--"In Our Nature" and "Veneer" are both full of incredible acoustic guitar playing.
posted by Zebtron at 8:36 PM on September 11, 2008

Gary Jules
Josh Pyke (excellent Australian singer / songwriter)
posted by tomble at 8:38 PM on September 11, 2008

Michael Hedges - Aerial Boundaries
posted by davebush at 8:42 PM on September 11, 2008

I like most everything FretKillr has covered.
posted by null terminated at 8:48 PM on September 11, 2008

Spoon has an acoustic demo of "I Summon You" that I like. If you can't find it (I think it was on the Gimme Fiction bonus disc?) I can send it to you.
posted by MadamM at 8:51 PM on September 11, 2008

Jonathon Coulton
posted by DonSlice at 8:56 PM on September 11, 2008

Anything by an excellent instrumental group called Grails.

Steven Wilson (of Porcupine Tree) has some excellent acoustic material both offically released and bootlegged, featuring, among other things, an acoustic version of "Normal" which has an interesting and complex-sounding riff co-written by Robert Fripp.

Anything slower and quieter by Derek and the Dominos - though you probably already know most of these songs.

Eric Clapton and Bob Dylan speak for themselves and are basically hit or miss, depending on your feelings about each.

Green Carnation's "The Acoustic Verses" has a lot of excellent acoustic guitar work interspersed with strings and including a version of Poe's "Alone" set to music - not what you'd expect from a band composed mostly of former members of underground Scandinavian black metal bands.

Karl Sanders (of Nile) has a fantastic ambient/instrumental album called "Saurian Meditation" and really shows off his guitar (and other guitar-like instruments) and songwriting skills, both acoustic and electric.

Opeth's "Damnation" album makes nearly exclusive use of acoustic guitars and fills in with some clean electric leads.

Scott Kelly (Neurosis) recently released an album called "The Wake" which has a lot of interesting, if not particularly challenging, acoustic guitar work in it.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 8:57 PM on September 11, 2008

anything by Iron & Wine (sam beam) as long as you like his voice.

check out John Mayer's cover of Kid A

damien rice- sweet avenue

keller williams is amazing
posted by alcopop at 9:02 PM on September 11, 2008

Joshua Radin eg.Winter, Everything'll Be Alright
Gomez - See the World
Eva Cassidy does heartbreakingly beautiful guitar covers, like Time After Time
posted by kitkatcathy at 9:02 PM on September 11, 2008

Earl Klugh
posted by netbros at 9:11 PM on September 11, 2008

I have been very impressed with bentonio07's acoustic guitar covers on youtube. I'm not a musician, but he seems to have the guitar chops and his voice is great. More impressive that he's German and sings in English, which comes across in some of the covers as slight mispronunciations.

Some of my favorites of his include:

+ Sunday Bloody Sunday
+ Van Diemen's Land
+ Two Faces
+ Downbound Train
+ Pony Boy
+ L'italiano
+ Hurt
+ Used Car

The dude has some original stuff, too. (I'm in no way qualified to judge whether it's of any artistic merit.)
posted by maxwelton at 9:19 PM on September 11, 2008

I really enjoyed the John Lennon Acoustic Album from a few years ago. But I love everything Lennon.
posted by piedmont at 9:19 PM on September 11, 2008

John Fahey & Leo Kottke are both primarily instrumentalists, but have an extensive discography worth exploring.
posted by TDIpod at 9:21 PM on September 11, 2008

Mike Doughty
posted by itsamonkeytree at 9:24 PM on September 11, 2008

Shall I be the first to post the obligatory Sufjan Stevens recommendation? There is lots of acoustic stuff here... "Casimir Pulaski Day" and "The Dress Looks Nice on You" are two of my favorites.
posted by joshrholloway at 9:34 PM on September 11, 2008

Michael Hedges - Aerial Boundaries
posted by davebush at 8:42 PM on September 11 [+] [!]

I'll second, third, fourth, and fifth this. It's about the fastest you're going to feel like burning your guitar and chopping off your fingers right before you jump into deep lake with pockets fulll of rockets that I know.

One anecdotal thing I heard was, that as a composition major, Hedges just wrote this stuff out on staff paper, and would come back afterwards, try to figure out a tuning, and ask himself "now how the hell do I play this?"

I would also recommend "Breakfast in the Fields" for other want to burn your guitar moments.

Stupid Sexy Hedges!
posted by timsteil at 9:43 PM on September 11, 2008

These are all great recs. My indie sensibilities would also add
Mt. Eerie - Live in Copenhagen (great cd)
Willie Mason - Anything by this guy- quite good.
Cloud Cult - Feel Good Ghosts
Jeff Hanson's new cd
The Avett Brothers (The Gleam 2 I really liked)
The Meteors

Just kidding about the meteors.
posted by Large Marge at 10:03 PM on September 11, 2008

There is an album called Punk Goes Acoustic that is amazing.

Swing Life Away by Rise Against on that album is one of my favorite songs of all time.
posted by petethered at 10:30 PM on September 11, 2008

I don't know man I can't really think of many songs that have acoustic guitar in them but I'm going to go ahead and recommend Nick Drake.
posted by ludwig_van at 10:44 PM on September 11, 2008

"One Foot in the Grave" by Beck is mostly acoustic and considered by some (myself included) to be his finest work.
posted by dhammond at 11:03 PM on September 11, 2008

Yes - "The Clap"
A lot of the Led Zeppelin III album is acoustic.
And of course, the one and only Django Reinhardt.
posted by Doctor Suarez at 11:17 PM on September 11, 2008

Try itunes 8's Genius feature for recommendations, even though I'm sure they won't be as good as those from humans.
posted by alitorbati at 11:25 PM on September 11, 2008

Marissa Nadler
posted by shamble at 11:46 PM on September 11, 2008

"Paperweight" - Joshua Radin and Schuyler Fisk
"I Just don't think i'll ever get over you" - Colin Hay
"Art In Me" - Jars of Clay
"The Best of Me (acoustic)" - The Starting Line

there's an album called Punk Goes Acoustic 2. It's SPECTACULAR! ABSOLUTELY THE BEST ALBUM I'VE EVER BOUGHT! listen to the ones with the Guy holding the yellow guitar as the picture.

almost any song by The Weepies, Deb Talan (she's in The Weepies, but has a great solo career), Joshua Radin, Jars of Clay (they're a christian band, but if that doesn't bother you, they've got GREAT acoustic stuff!), Daphne Loves Derby, and TONS of other artists! I LOVE ACOUSTIC MUSIC! Try a cappella music, too! I really like the Yale Spizzwinks and the Yale Whiffenpoofs.
posted by cmchap at 1:42 AM on September 12, 2008

Stephen Bennett. Try here and here.
posted by 4ster at 3:47 AM on September 12, 2008

Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska.
posted by chazlarson at 7:22 AM on September 12, 2008

Ottmar Liebert. Killer acoustic flamenco stuff
posted by Redhush at 7:26 AM on September 12, 2008

I wanted to second Gary Jules, and also suggest The Magic Numbers. I can only vouch for their self-titled album, but I think I'll be looking into their newer stuff very soon.
posted by owtytrof at 7:39 AM on September 12, 2008

No one has mentioned Tommy Emmanuel. Check him out on YouTube.
posted by RussHy at 7:50 AM on September 12, 2008

Alice in Chains Unplugged is just incredible. A couple of examples - No Excuses, Down in a Hole.
posted by Addlepated at 8:24 AM on September 12, 2008

I hate to toss this out, not knowing about the songs you like (I haven't heard most of them) but for pure acoustic goodness, with powerful lyrics, Ani Difranco is pretty fantastic.

Check out Both Hands, 32 Flavors, You Hand Time and a bunch of others, including Swan Dive, Independance Day, and, well, lots more. Powerful stuff. Just try to ignore the screaming of the fans during, well, quiet songs.
posted by Ghidorah at 8:44 AM on September 12, 2008

Jack Rose
60s folkie Peter Walker

These guys were on a double-bill West Coast tour in Fall '06 and it was the best live acoustic guitar show I've ever seen.
posted by porn in the woods at 9:08 AM on September 12, 2008

Caetano Veloso's record Qualquer Coisa from 1975 has some amazing Brazilian acoustic pop on it. The title track's slightly cheesy orchestration isn't representative of the rest of the record, which is very spare guitar and voice goodness.
posted by umbĂș at 9:15 AM on September 12, 2008

Rodrigo & Gabriela's cover of Orion.
posted by signal at 11:24 AM on September 12, 2008

Richard Buckner. Man, I love me some Richard Buckner. Incredible live shows, and usually cheap.
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:19 PM on September 12, 2008

Popping in to promote two local (Charlottesville) musicians.

First, Paul Curreri. He plays well, and his lyrics are pretty good too.

Another Charlottesville guitarist (who now haunts Austin, mostly, I think) is Danny Schmidt. This song is my favorite.
posted by Deathalicious at 10:33 AM on September 13, 2008

...I mean, if you are looking for a very specific sound, then I guess my recommendations aren't spot on. But if you've just discovered you like the sound of acoustic guitars, the whole world of folk singer-songwriters is out there, and filled with really excellent music.
posted by Deathalicious at 10:34 AM on September 13, 2008

Oh and folk music in general. If you're willing to take a brief break from rock, jazz, country, hip hop, and classical, you could very happily listen your ears off for a year to folk, bluegrass, blues, and "world" music.
posted by Deathalicious at 10:43 AM on September 13, 2008

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