Erik Mongrain (born April 1980 in Montreal, Québec, Canada) is one of my favorite acoustic guitar innovators. He grew up in Canada and began teaching himself how to play guitar at the age of 14. His early influences were Michael Hedges and Don Ross, the latter another fantastic Canadian guitarist. His style has evolved over the years I’ve been listening to him, getting more and more complex and reflecting a variety of moods. He’s an innovative player and composer who uses alternate tunings and some rather unorthodox techniques as he weaves his intriguing melodies.
His trademark “lap-tapping” technique is fascinating to watch and hear. Alternatively hammering and strumming the strings with the extended index finger of his right hand while generating percussive rhythms on the guitar’s body his fist and knuckles, he produces sounds that ring like bells as he taps out a melody with his left hand. His 2006 YouTube video of “Airtap” (see below) generated 10,000,000 views.
He’s released three albums: 2006’s “Fates”, 2008’s “Equilibrium”., and 2012’s “Forward.” While his CDs are excellent, if you get a chance to see him live, do it. You’ll witness one of today’s guitar virtuoso’s.
Pandora’s box: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFAo2Wevkoo
Mais Quand?: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1vVVqYIfeQ
A Ripple Effect: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKQ5yrLVHE4
I’m pairing Eric with a 2012 Volver ($15.00), a single vineyard Spanish wine made from 100% Tempranillo. The wine is deep ruby in color and explodes with aromas of black cherries, boysenberry, and exotic spices. The palate follows the nose adding blue and blackberries and closing with a long lingering spiciness. Ordinarily I would drink this hearty wine in the winter months, but we’ve had some unseasonably cool weather this summer, a welcome change from our usual summer inferno, so the Volver paired with lap-tapping Eric Mongrain is a perfect combination.