The Mesmerizing Music of Erik Mongrain
Taking a breather from the usual doses of high speed shredders this article is a tribute to a virtuoso of a whole different category. It’s time for a hearty hats off to Erik Mongrain; the master of lap tapping acoustic guitar. Mongrain is a prime example at what taking the challenging path in life can lead to. He began playing guitar when he was a young lad of fourteen years and without so much as a lesson he taught himself how to play.
These days teaching one’s self usually means “oh I just hop on YouTube” or “I read an article where this guy says two notes makes a chord lawlz”, but to put Mongrain in perspective it was about 1994 when he started playing. It was years yet until the internet would see any kind of widespread attention and on top of that he chose to learn various songs by ear – an invaluable skill that brings guitarists face to face with the tiny nuances that you just don’t catch in tab books. Plus while guitars, amps, and gear in general are awesome there is something mesmerizing and satisfying about guys like Erik Mongrain who sit down with this hollow box of wood and make miracles happen on the spot. No fancy gizmos or gadgets and no way to fool anyone.
What you hear is what you get and in the case of Erik Mongrain I’m still not sure that there isn’t anything not worth hearing. His ability to control harmonics and dynamics while his fingers seemingly fly all across the fretboard is just amazing and his duality between melody and harmony is breath taking. His music never simply sounds like a handful of chords with a melody over it. Every last tone in the clusters of tones we get resonates with purpose and direction. In short it’s good stuff.
2007 marked the release of Mongraine’s first album Fates and featured his now famous lap tapping style (a style he’d picked up from watching others busk while busking himself) and since then has released two more albums.
So now for a limited time have two videos for the price of one. The first is Airtap, a song off the aforementioned album Fates.
And to show off a bit of the direction he’s moved over time here is the song “Aftermath” off his newest album Forward – an album he’s worked on while migrating into the film industry for composing scores.