Ariel Posen at Biltmore Cabaret

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I try not to eavesdrop; I really do. Yet, when waiting for a gig to start you can’t help but hear what’s around you. When I hear two gentlemen discussing their pick-ups, pedal boards, and amps, I know what I’m in for. Ariel Posen is truly a guitar player’s guitar player. Within minutes of his set beginning, it is easy to see why this Winnipeg-born musician has been featured so prominently for his distinct style.

He opens his show with little fanfare, just a crisp, clear tone, and a slide. This is where the magic begins, as his instrument simply feels like a natural extension of his body. Everything is done with a smoothness that gives the illusion that this is no different than breathing for him. Throughout the concert, it just seemed as if the guitar itself was alive. Posen’s gifting is on display at every moment of the night. If he is playing a complex run, or if he is simply laying down rhythm, he emotes through his six strings

Some of his quietest moments are the most beautiful because he resists the desire of so many guitarists to have all things cranked to eleven. His tones and his rhythms are clean; even when distorted, they are tempered. This leaves him nothing to hide behind. This is where the hypnotism of his show comes from. You will become lost in what he puts out, and just as you have been lulled into a sweet embrace of sound, he launches back into a riveting solo that hits you at your very core.

Ariel exemplifies the difference between a good musician and a truly great musician. It is not a display of skill, simply to show off, but to express. His mix of blues, rock, and soul are brought alive because of his willingness to play with the range that his guitar offers. This is what will keep Posen’s fans coming back to him, again and again.

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