Standing as probably the greatest American songwriter of all time, the musical catalog of Bob Dylan is nothing short of awe-inspiring. 35 studio albums, 11 live albums, and innumerable compilations contain countless brilliant moments from the always confounding Dylan. Of particular interest is his Bootleg Series of previously unreleased material.
If you’re playing by yourself or with just a couple of friends who have their own amplification equipment, you should probably be checking out acoustic guitar amps. They are smaller, more convenient and generally cheaper than a PA, and are apt to be more useful. Some currently available models have a separate channel for a mike input, so you can even use them to amplify your singing as well.
There’s no denying, this is the decade that acoustic comes into its own. From the rootsiest traditional down-home country, to bluegrass, soul, rock, funk and pop and beyond, acoustic instruments have been taking center stage in all genres, and I say, good for us!
What’s next on the bucket list when you’ve sold 16 million albums and garnered three Grammy nominations, two American Music Awards, and five BMI Pop Awards for songwriting, including BMI’s coveted "Songwriter of the Year" award? How about going back to the basement…?!
I work with a lot of songwriters on through SongTown USA that are trying to turn their hobby into a profession. The most common mistake I see in those aspiring songwriters is that their songs tend to wander around. They start strong with the first verse. It tends to stay on topic. By the time they get to the chorus, they are chasing a couple of rabbits down different trails. The second verse is where it usually falls apart. By the time they get to the bridge, there are rabbits running everywhere.
“It’s hard to recover from a bad year,” sings Terry Price in the opening track of my favorite release of 2013, Photo Ops’How To Say Goodbye. “Friends that were with us are no longer near / But hey, I’m glad to be alive.” As Price’s first release under the alias of Photo Ops, the shimmering guitar pop found within How To Say Goodbye is a deeply personal ode to death, loss, growing up and moving on.
My favorite acoustic-based album of 2013 would be Charlie Worsham’s Rubberband. Mississippi boy Charlie Worsham was a child prodigy. Before he went through puberty, he had already played banjo on the Grand Ole Opry stage with Earl Scruggs. His guitar skills are unmatched among modern country artists. He is one of the rare artists who actually plays lead guitar while singing. If you go to a Charlie Worsham show, it will be Charlie, not a hired gun playing the solos for each song.