Pete Huttlinger – McGuire’s Landing

by Rick Moore

pete-huttlinger_mcguires-landingPete Huttlinger is one of Nashville’s best-known acoustic guitar players, having spent several years touring with the late John Denver before becoming a session player for such artists as Faith Hill and Jimmy Buffett. But he’s also known as a man who has cheated death in recent years, overcoming a stroke and a cardiac event to somehow return with his playing abilities intact.

So since he’s got his chops back, he did what any red-blooded guitar player would do: He recorded an album based around a 50-page book that accompanies it, a package entitled McGuire’s Landing. The premise of the book revolves around a young Irish immigrant’s quest for the promised land in the Civil War-era United States, and he finds it, though there are obstacles along the way. The accompanying CD, some songs instrumental and some with lyrics (which are found in the book), is a delight on its own, with great playing and enjoyable singing by Huttlinger, and performances on strings, oboes and other instruments by some of Nashville’s finest.

The music here is somewhere between Americana, bluegrass and Irish folk, and Huttlinger is a fine picker and composer, with his playing reminiscent of the work of Tony Rice or Phil Keaggy but still all his own. This package is a pretty cool idea and very heartfelt. The book isn’t a long read, and is as much an explanation of where the music came from as the music is the soundtrack for the book; imagine a less raw version of the music from the movie Cold Mountain, or a less Appalachian version of O Brother Where Art Thou. So come to think of it, this story this could be a movie. Good job, Pete, and long may you and your main character S. McGuire continue to inspire those of us who have our own obstacles to overcome.

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