Desert Winds is an album of Seth Austen's original compositions for acoustic and MIDI acoustic guitar. Seth's compositions encompass diverse styles, from Hedges inspired two-handed tapping on the title cut Desert Winds, to ECM acoustic jazz on Waiting, to avant garde, guitar-synth gone haywire of The Computer Is Down. Most of the pieces are duets or trios with Seth's acoustic guitar always in the foreground.
Seth is joined by co-producer Freyda Epstein, violin and voice; also special guests Ralph Gordon, acoustic bass and cello; Madeline MacNeil, hammered dulcimer and voice; Bob Read, soprano sax and piano; Tom Espinola on frame drums; and Tom Jones on percussion and brake drums.
"Balances the rich timbres of the acoustic steel stringed guitar with a lush ensemble and the extended sonic possibilities of guitar synthesizer. Seth solos against an ever changing drone, the effect is an almost palpable breathing as the composition unfolds." MIDI Guitarist
Seth Austen is a nationally recognized fingerstyle acoustic guitarist, multi-instrumentalist and composer, specializing in diverse acoustic roots styles from traditional Appalachian, Celtic and New England contradance music to eastern European Klezmer, Balkan and Nordic to bottleneck blues and jazz. Seth plays numerous stringed instruments including guitar, fiddle, mandolin, bouzouki, 5 string banjo and fretted dulcimer.
Seth plays concerts, coffeehouses and festivals nationwide, and is a popular workshop teacher. Seth has recorded 5 solo albums, most recently Metamorphosis and Desert Winds and has produced, engineered and played on over 30 recordings by other acoustic artists, three of which have won Indie Awards from NAIRD. Seth has composed music for PBS documentaries, written guitar and mandolin instruction books for Mel Bay Publications and many other acoustic musicians have performed and recorded Seth's tunes. In 1981 Seth was a triple winner at The Walnut Valley National Flatpicking Championships, Winfield, KS in fingerstyle guitar, mandolin and fretted dulcimer.