With the guitar, Julian Lage speaks with a memorable voice

The Artistry of… Julian Lage

If I had a memorable voice and I could play the guitar I would want to be able to make my guitar do things that sound like the things that that memorable voice can do. Julian Lage’s guitar is a memorable voice. A very memorable voice. It is an emotionally impactful one that tells stories. Its stories resonate and in their ways tell yours too.

Lage loves the guitar, and you can hear it in the way he plays it. It’s like an expression of artistry and respect all blended into one. About a 1954 Fender Blackguard Telecaster, Lage had gotten around the time of his album Arclight, he is excitedly emotional: “I love that guitar. My God… it teaches me a lot about how to get better.” He is in love with guitars, and you fall deeply and heavily for them too when you listen to him play.

The colourful, soul-embracing thing that is music is not lost on Lage. His latest recording Squint is a true project of emotion, and in speaking of its pre-pandemic creative early days in production, he touches on the energy of the art form: “My first tactic was just to make positive, beautiful music — a beam of light from three cats who love each other. After the recording didn’t happen, I started reflecting on the music’s intent. It was clearer than ever that art and music are platforms to influence and heal and facilitate conversations. It became really important to me to capture a certain sense of emotional complexity.”

Storytelling and the capturing of emotions: That’s the beautiful beam of light. That’s the memorable voice. That’s Julian Lage.



The Artistry of… is a weekly series that reflects on the passion and essence of an artist. It airs Wednesday evenings on Dinner Jazz with John Devenish.


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