Lava Tracks, Kamuela, Big Island, Hawaii

Nestled in the heart of pristine Paniolo country, on the Big Island of Hawaii, right there next to the banyan tree we’re guessing (sadly, the EQ T&E budget wouldn’t permit an in-person fact check), is Charles Michael Brotman’s Lava Tracks recording studio. Built from the ground up under the guidance of acoustic architect Chris Pelonis, Brotman’s goal for Lava Tracks was to create an acoustic paradise in paradise: “I’m an acoustic guitar player who’s been fascinated with the sound my entire life,” he says, “and that’s really a lot of what the studio is about. My life-long quest — and I don’t think I’ll ever fully achieve it — is to record guitar so naturally that the listener feels like they’re sitting there right in front of the guitarist.”