Goodwin explains: “My background is metal and I’m heavily influenced by electric players like Tosin Abasi, but then I looked at New Age acoustic fingerstyle, people like Michael Hedges, and by blending those things I developed my style.” And those influences are both evident in his acoustic and electric playing.
When playing electric guitar, he incorporates fingerstyle guitar techniques that are hardly seen in the heavy metal / Djent electric world. In the acoustic realm, it’s fingerstyle playing, but not the way you’ve ever heard it before. When playing acoustic, Goodwin’s approach is percussive, startling, composed of riffs and rhythms and short, sharp lines that grab the listener. He makes the acoustic guitar electric. It’s a powerhouse, and “CombatiKa” highlights his formidable talents and strengths on the instrument.
“It’s all straight guitar,” Goodwin says. “What you hear is just me playing. There aren’t any effects except some reverb. No loops or anything like that. I play all parts at once. People who are not familiar with fingerstyle guitar techniques think that I am playing on top of tracks. When questioned, I simply lead them to links of me playing CombatiKa live.”
The video is just as compelling and impressive as the playing, with sweeping aerial shots of Goodwin playing guitar on massive sand dunes interspersed with close-ups and footage of troops in desert warfare.
It’s also a great calling card for the FRETMONKEY RECORDS Studio that Goodwin runs where he serves as an audio engineer, videographer, producer, and host of the syndicated internet guitar radio show, “Slap Nutz”, as well as FRETMONKEY RECORDS, the collective that he founded and helped to shape.
Goodwin is the 2015 international Canadian Fingerstyle Guitar Champion and the 2016 Guitar Wars (Acoustic Division) winner. Winning these events have raised his profile and brought a number of endorsements, from Stonebridge Guitars, Vellone Guitars, Elite Acoustic Designs, K&K Sound, Dimarzio, Elixir Strings, Fractal Audio, and Radial Engineering.
Yet, without something to show, that means little. But with “CombatiKa,” Goodwin bursts onto the global instrumental stage and marks him out as someone who’s arrived.
“CombatiKa” is far from peaceful, a continent away from how people usually think of fingerstyle guitar. But it’s one future for the instrument and the genre, and Goodwin is going to explore that further on both his upcoming electric album, “Dissonance”, which will be released in 2018, and its acoustic companion titled “Resonance.”
“I call them my bipolar albums,” Goodwin says. “Dissonance, the electric album will come out first and includes collaboration projects with notable talents including Felix Martin (16-string guitar prodigy), Quist (QuistJam and lead guitar player for Bryan Ferry), Jake Hertzog (winner of the prestigious MontreauxJazz Festival), and Shayley Bourget (of ‘DayShell’ and former lead singer for ‘Of Mice and Men’). It’s companion, Resonance, will showcase solo acoustic guitar, including CombatiKa. Equally important are the album’s cinematic (music video) movies that accompanies both albums.”
It’s ambitious, but Kevin Blake Goodwin is a man with a very clear vision for himself and his music.There’s the future to play for, and he is the 21st Century Guitar Man.