Guitar Player

‘Like a Series of Accidents’

ETHAN GRUSKA’S APPROACH to recording isn’t to get a perfect take, or even one with swagger or feeling. Sometimes the mistakes are what make the song. For En Garde (Warner Records), his second solo album, Gruska — whose production and performance credits include John Legend, Trombone Shorty, Fiona Apple and the National’s Matt Berninger — invited friends and collaborators like Blake Mills and Phoebe Bridgers to perform. But instead of using their contributions in a straightforward manner, he used the interesting, unscripted moments to turn the songs on their heads.

The technique is well suited to Gruska’s compositional style. Drawing inspiration from the same well as

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