Hear Ariel Posen’s new swampy instrumental slide guitar masterclass, Clawhammer

Ariel Posen
(Image credit: Harry Herd/Redferns via Getty)

Blues guitar powerhouse Ariel Posen has released the latest entry into his roster of bluesy, slide-driven tracks in the form of swampy new single Clawhammer, which will feature on his newly announced studio album, Mile End.

Posen is on absolutely devastating form for Clawhammer, deploying his trademark, fuzz-laden tone and his nonchalant-yet-laser-tuned fretboard navigation powers to ultimate effect. 

Deciding to leave out vocals and let his electric guitar do all the talking, the slide sensation bursts out the blocks with a quasi-improvisational flurry, before dialing back the dynamics and introducing the track’s building blocks – an all-too-catchy hook that blossoms as Clawhammer progresses.

The additional licks and flourishes become more and more adventurous, with Posen eloquently seesawing between bass line licks, ‘board-spanning slide motifs and free-flowing exchanges, all while building to the track’s finale, which peaks in dynamics before being closed out by some sumptuously tender slides.

Taking to social media to discuss the album’s inception, Posen wrote, “Some of you may have noticed that I've been posting a collection of visual voice memos from the last couple months. 

“Like all of us songwriters, we jot down lyrics, record snippets of melodies, progressions or anything that we can possibly use down the road,” he continued. “Although the songs I primarily write have lyrics to them, I also have a strong affection for solo guitar pieces. 

“It started on my first record. I had a couple of solo guitar interludes to round it all out, and there was always a piece of me that wanted to explore that side of myself even deeper. 

Ariel Posen Mile End album cover

(Image credit: Ariel Posen)

“Something about playing on your own, having a rough arrangement and theme and then seeing where it takes you is a cathartic experience. I wanted to see what would happen if I could put down an entire album worth of 'Visual Voice Memos'.”

That album, he notes, became Mile End – a record that will be Posen’s second of the year, following the release of Headway back in March.

It’s also Posen’s first solo single since Headway’s release – bar an acoustic-driven revamp of the album – after the six-string heavyweight teamed up with funk guru Cory Wong for a surprise new single, Spare Tire.

  • Mile End will be released October 1 and is available to preorder now.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.