Music: The Wizard of Slide

It is called "slide" or "bottleneck," a style of guitar playing in which something like a piece of broken glass is used to fret the strings to produce a strong, lowdown sound. A few decades ago it was the sound of a whole genus of American music that might be called backroads blues. Today its best exponent is Ry Cooder, a guitarist and singer of wry wit and concentrated energy who has extended the troubadour tradition of Woody Guthrie and fashioned a distinctive personality for himself from the shards of the American musical past....

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