Heart have often been described as the “female Led Zeppelin,” as much for their arena-ready hard rock riffs as for singer Ann Wilson’s powerful, Robert Plant-like vocal histrionics. But the thing about the Seattle five-piece that most closely resembles the mighty Zep is their ability to shirt effortlessly between bombastic rock and roll and the most delicate folk-based music. Both sides of Heart are displayed in full glory on “Crazy on You,” the enduring hit single from the band’s 1976 debut album, Dreamboat Annie.
I didn’t buy a guitar right away. In fact I borrowed my brother’s nylon Argentinian guitar. The neck was really fat and made learning a stretch. I knew I wanted a nylon string guitar to start with that I could plug in. And it had to sound amazing and meaningful. Check out the story of how I chose my guitars and why!
The prospect of talking about his guitar playing has Colin Meloy, frontman of the Decemberists, palpably excited. “No one ever asks me stuff like this,” he says from his home in Portland, Oregon. “It’s a refreshing change.” Here's our exclusive interview with Meloy where we talk about guitar, songwriting, and more. Check it out!
While we caught up with singer/songwriter Matt Nathanson in our exclusive interview (link to interview), he was gracious enough to play a couple of his tunes for us along with bandmate Aaron Tapp. Check out live performances of "Mission Bells," "Kinks Shirt" and "Annie's Always Waiting (For the Next One to Leave)."
I recently hosted a panel on a hot topic: crowd-funding. The consensus? Smart musicians can be very successful at raising money this way. But it's a job. Crowd-funding requires some ingenuity, a business plan, and truck-loads of dedication. There's so much more to running a successful crowd-funding campaign than meets the eye.
I used to sit around and daydream about having a rich relative that would pass away someday (sadly) and leave me a fortune. When I began to look around at my relatives, I realized quickly that I had better start buying lottery tickets if I wanted a windfall like that. I figured out that any money I was going to fall into was likely going to be the result of really hard work on my part. Sobering, but true. Here are the lessons I learned in regard to a big windfall as a songwriter...
Volcano Choir is a project of Justin Vernon, who is otherwise known as the Grammy-winning indie artist Bon Iver. While most are familiar with Vernon for the latter, Volcano Choir actually existed for years before Vernon ever released Bon Iver material. Here we take a look...and a listen...at their latest release, Repave.
A new set of strings on an old guitar. Usually this is the sort of experience that rejuvenates and breathes new life into a dull and waning sound. On this particular day I found that my package of Martin light gauge bronze strings was an incomplete set. Imagine my delight upon finding only five of six were present (ha!). Of course it had to be after I had already pruned the decrepit old strings. What to do? Improvise....
The do-it-yourself movement is the inevitable and fortunate offspring of the Internet age. Now we can develop formerly elusive skills with the help of forums, how-to guides (like this one), and YouTube tutorials. In last week’s post, DIY Demos (Part One), I wrote about some of the equipment you need to successfully record demos at home. In this post, I want to explain how the process energized my own songwriting and arranging as well as touch on the practical uses of homemade demos.
Here Alex Lifeson tells the story of the inception of the acoustic introduction to this classic hit. “All of our early albums were written on acoustic guitar. When Geddy [Lee, bass and vocals] and I would write the music, we’d sit down with a cassette recorder and two acoustic guitars, in spite of the fact that we were a hard rock band...