The Acoustic Version is founded on a belief in the unique expressive power of song, and a fascination with the process of songwriting. It is the idea that great songs can achieve a level of emotional and artistic depth that is not available to other art forms, and that this depth is most apparent when a song is stripped of its electronic bells and studio whistles and its true character is exposed.
This site was born in 2007 when, as the name implies, Jason realized his never-ending search for acoustic versions of his favorite songs might be something others would find interesting. A couple years later, Joe came on board to help out. Since then, The AV has become one of the web’s premier spots for anything acoustic: originals, covers, lessons and humor, news, reviews and interviews. We also try to provide studio mp3s alongside the acoustic videos, because they provide context, because they’re often great themselves – sometimes for very different reasons – and because a lot of our readers have requested that we do so.
We like interpretations more than covers, because note-for-note covers are unimaginative and boring, because great music transcends genre, and because you can gain a much deeper appreciation for a song when you’ve seen and heard it played in different styles, with different emphases, and sometimes even radically different emotional content.
Great examples of this include:
- Rodrigo y Gabriela’s acoustic version of Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven
- James Lee Stanley and John Batdorf’s acoustic versions of the Rolling Stones’ Satisfaction and Neil Young’s The Loner
- Johnny Cash’s acoustic version of Nine Inch Nails’ Hurt
- Tommy Emmanuel’s acoustic version of The Beatles’ Day Tripper and Lady Madonna
- Obadiah Parker’s acoustic version of Hey Ya
- Roland Dyens’ acoustic version of Night in Tunisia
- Leo Kottke’s acoustic version of The Byrds’ Eight Miles High
- Pat Metheny’s acoustic version of Jesse Harris’/Norah Jones’ Don’t Know Why
We are also shamelessly and hopelessly addicted to the acoustic guitar, and obsessed with its greatest practitioners, from Tommy Emmanuel to Neil Young to Tony Rice to Leo Kottke to Don Ross… the list goes on and on. And we love it when great electric players and songwriters trade the humbucker for the hardwood and give us an acoustic treat.
So go ahead, indulge yourself with some sweet acoustic sounds. And if you find we’re missing something we shouldn’t be, go on over to the Submissions page and tell us about it!
Jason & Joe @ The AV