David Lindley’s name, who passed away a few days ago at the age of 79, figures alongside the biggest names in American music. His work includes recordings with Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Iggy Pop, Bruce Springsteen, David Crosby, Ry Kunder. The guitar sound in the studio has always had its own signature.

But it’s a live performance that reminds us that Lindley was more than just a great guitarist. It is June 1990 and Ray Kunder, creator of -among other things- the soundtrack of the movie “Paris – Texas”, decides to introduce himself to the public without a band. He only has one guitarist with him. It’s David Lindley, captured by the camera with a pair of sideburns, huge even by rock standards, framing his face. In his hands he holds a bouzouki.

Born in March 1944 in Los Angeles, David Perry Lindley inherited his love of strings from his father who, although a lawyer by profession, had filled the family home with sounds that sounded at least exotic on the other side of the Atlantic. From him David was introduced to the bouzouki and the sitar and the banjo and the mandolin and the ukulele and a host of other strings. He was only six years old and, as he would recall in an interview years later, such was his passion for strings that he would even open the tail of the piano at home to reach its strings.

David Lindley was lucky enough to find his way early on. He was also gifted with an extraordinary talent. He was still a teenager when he first won the annual banjo contest hosted in Topanga Canyon. After his fifth straight win he simply stopped participating. A little later he would form his own band playing clubs in Los Angeles and Disneyland. But when an agent, who overheard him one night, would promise him “fame and money”, he would send him to “hell”.

“He was one of the most talented musicians,” Graham Nash wrote of him in his farewell. “He was truly a musician’s musician,” he added.

He was also a musician who never stopped being fascinated by the musics of the world and serving them. In his biography one finds recordings with musicians from Madagascar, Hawaii, Jordan, Norway.

The last years of his life he lived in Claremont, California. But in a house that was not very different from his father’s. It, too, was flooded with strings.