At the tail-end of last week, on September 17, acoustic guitar maestro Andy McKee released Symbol, a six-track EP that served as his first new studio release in almost a decade.
Featuring covers of pieces by some of McKee's biggest musical influences – Michael Hedges, Preston Reed, and Billy McLaughlin among them – the EP is highlighted by a stunning acoustic interpretation of Prince's timeless "Purple Rain."
The cover is a veritable feast of McKee's technical acoustic brilliance – his incredible sense of rhythm, perfectly articulated leads (which take the place of the song's vocal melody), and his breathtaking percussive work. You can check out the track's video below.
McKee's arrangement of this 1984 mega-hit dates back to 2012, when he opened for Prince on his Welcome 2 Australia tour.
“He [Prince] had an idea for me to play something at the start of the show on acoustic guitar,” McKee said in a statement. “I ended up with this arrangement of 'Purple Rain,' which he approved of. He was a staggeringly talented guy, who left us too soon and I feel honored that he liked my music.”
As we learned from Guitar Player's recent interviews with some of the Purple One's former guitar-slinging bandmates, Prince had incredibly high standards for those who performed his music, and wasn't the most forthcoming with compliments and praise.
This astounding cover deserves both though, and we're glad he thought the same.
Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com and GuitarPlayer.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.
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