Tony Haven is a lap-style guitarist from the UK who just released his second full-length album Sun Set to Rise. It’s always refreshing to listen to a guitarist that not only plays great music, but also does it in ways which make you wonder how exactly he’s pulling it off!
Right from the first song “Rapids”, I was perplexed as to how he was playing the almost-drum-n’-bass beat with a pretty complex kick pattern.
That question was quickly answered by the included DVD: by using his thumb on the fretboard along with the rest of his fingers, his left hand is able to handle a lot more of the music, which leaves his right hand free to focus on the percussive side of things.
On another song he actually plays the kick part with his right elbow, while the slide taps the snare part on the fingerboard.
But ingenious techniques aside, what it really comes down to is whether the music is good or not…and it definitely is. Tony has a great sense of melody and pacing which keep your attention throughout.
My favorite song hands down is “Escapism”, with its cascading notes and start/stop half-time beats:
Other highlights include the gutsy slide-work on “Deep Blues Sea” and gentle lyricism of “Night Owl”.
As I said before, the CD comes with a DVD where you can watch Tony do his thing. You can see a lot of the videos on his YouTube channel. Check out “All Roads Lead to Home”, where he switches the position of the guitar halfway through the song:
My only real complaint is with the recording itself — there’s seems to be way too much direct signal from the pickup. It would’ve been nice to have more of the natural acoustic sound in there.
But that doesn’t take away from the enjoyment of the music. Overall this is great music played by a very creative guitarist.