(Aurum Records)


Atlanta guitarist Max Goldston struck guitar gold with his 2009 Emancipation album and likewise, he once again serves up a fine album of acoustic guitar instrumental wonders with his 2011 CD Awakening. Played and written in the spirit of his earlier Will Ackerman assisted release—and produced by long time accomplice Toni Colomar—on Awakening Goldston once again does a masterful job entertaining listeners with just his acoustic guitar. Like the windswept prairies of America from which he draws his musical inspiration, Goldston is truly a most promising American guitar master. Flowing with meditative guitar-based ideas, Awakening just sounds better with each repeat spin. Fans of Windham Hill’s Ackerman and Hedges, as well Leo Kottke and Tommy Emmanuel should get a buzz from Goldston’s impeccable finger style solo acoustic guitar sounds.

MWE3.COM presents an interview with
MAX GOLDSTON Can you say something about the events leading up to
recording the Awakening album?

MG: After returning from Will Ackerman’s Imaginary Road Studio, having recorded my Emancipation CD there, I was highly motivated. Just meeting Will and working with Corin Nelsen gave me inspiration and provided the momentum to create another entire CD. I was at the drawing table pouring out my emotions almost as soon as I got back. I worked diligently on the pieces, rewriting and recording them several times over a period of a year and a half. By the time I was ready to get the pieces mixed and mastered I had no money, so I turned to my long time friend and partner from my 2007 Aurum collaboration in Barcelona, Toni Colomar, who was completely willing to do all of the work for free. When I had the tracks ready I sent them to him over the internet and in September of 2010 he started mixing and mastering. The process took a few months as we wanted to do the best job we could. During the year I had been in contact with a long time friend from Ibiza, now living in Virginia, Tom Provo, who created the painting “La Chica con Guitarra” which I had used for my Emancipation CD cover. Tom and I had met over in Ibiza years ago when the island was still an artist colony. We both ended up back here in the States at different times in our lives and somehow found a medium that could combine both our talents. His paintings can be found at the Art Pannonia Gallery in Blacksburg, Virginia. His main inspiration has been Joan Miro and his paintings have been compared to Dali and Picasso. He had posted some pictures of old paintings on facebook. As I rummaged through them I spotted one with a giant eye and long hair that I fell in love with. Tommy told me it was a much older painting called “The Musician” and that I could have it. He would send it to me. In awe I told him I could never pay him enough for something like that. Tommy said well, just send me your next CD. I then realized this was a perfect cover for Awakening. It all amazingly just fell into place. The graphic design was done by Angeles Diaz, Toni’s wife, former journalist, now a professional graphic designer and the photography by another professional friend Taylor Power. The photos were taken at the Old Atlanta Cotton Mills. We spent a whole day taking photos there. How about the differences in the creative process between your last two albums and how does the Awakening CD compare in sound, recording and style wise with your 2009 Emancipation album?

MG: The creative process for this CD was pretty much the same as for all the rest of my work. The setting is always important, late morning with a cup of coffee or late night with a candle and no-one around, maybe a beer or glass of wine. Creating is an eternal experimentation. To break the boundaries and make it more interesting I have always retuned my guitar to nonstandard tunings. There is no limitation set here. I do not look to see what might be correct or what others do. My tunings can be wacky and then on top of that I might put my capo on the bottom 4 strings or use a Spider capo to bar 2 strings only. If I like the open sound I start to make up chords. Even though it is the open tuning sound and the experimentation that inspires me to create my tunes I have at least two thick folders full of pieces that I know have potential and yet did not make the cut. This is usually when I sit down and try to create rather than the creating calling me. When I hear the calling it just happens and it comes out naturally. Once I am satisfied with a progression I will work on the chorus or bridge if it needs. Then I will record it. My leads are played in standard tuning and once I have the tune down to my liking I am ready to start playing my leads over the piece. Generally the leads just come out pretty naturally. The beauty of punch in punch out recording allows me to guide myself through the lead playing until I get the feel for what I am saying exactly right and this can take time. Unlike my Emancipation CD, which is mostly finger style solo work with a few leads, I have leads on every piece on the new CD Awakening. Are you still using the Martin D16 GT guitar on the Awakening album? Any other guitars featured on the new album and can you describe the way you record the guitars on the Awakening album? Any other guitar news or updates you'd like to share?

MG: I used my Martin D16 GT for the recording. My set up is very simple. I record using my Rode NT2 condenser microphone straight into my Mackie 1402 mixer, which was just stolen from my studio, to my Tascam 2488. My room is literally a room within a room already so the sound for acoustic recordings is right on. I do not do any tweaking or panning while I record nor do I add any effects, not even a reverb. I leave this to the mixing process. My mic is normally about 12 inches away from the 12th fret of my guitar but sometimes I will move it slightly. It all depends on the sound. The only thing I worry about while recording my guitar tracks is really making sure my volume levels are all the same for each tune and that I record in the same position and distance from the mc. I use Martin light strings (.012s) to get a fuller sound and for my leads I use Dunlop .88 nylon picks.


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