Mount Royal

Sometimes a band’s pure energy alone can be impressive, but it’s truly amazing to witness real instrumental prowess. Renowned guitarists Julian Lage and Chris Eldridge are two technically proficient sonic forces who have come together to make their second album, Mount Royal. Lage is a child prodigy (see the documentary Jules at Eight) and Grammy nominee, while Eldridge is a member of the Punch Brothers and a hired gun for artists like Fiona Apple, Marcus Mumford, Paul Simon and Justin Timberlake. Together, Eldridge’s bluegrass stylings sweep across the strings, while Lage brings well-placed anchoring inflections rooted in his jazz background. There’s a fluid game of catch that the two seem to play as they trade lead melodies. On “Bone Collector,” Eldridge carries the softly strummed heartbeat of the song while Lage plays a simple hook, then the two seamlessly switch as Lage sinks into the heartbeat and Eldridge takes the melody and swirls it into a cacophony of perfectly placed arpeggios. It’s hard to wrap your head around, which is its true power.