With his beat up ‘80s model Alvarez, Monte Montgomery has the ability to wail on his acoustic like any of today’s best electric guitar shredders. Hailing from Austin, TX, Montgomery has earned his place as one of the city’s best guitarists, winning seven consecutive Austin Music Awards. And while Monte’s acoustic playing is surely impressive, this talent is matched with an innate ability for songwriting, which is showcased on his latest LP, Tethered.
I read an interview with the lead singer for a band that just had their first big hit single. The person doing the interview (out of ignorance) said, “What’s it like to be an overnight success?” The lead singer’s response was priceless. He said, “That was one hell of a night.”
Known for their over-the-top live shows, Semi Precious Weapons pulls influences from a broad musical landscape, fusing their punk edge with high-octane dance and arena-ready pop. And as graduates of Berklee College of Music, these guys can play too. SPW has risen to fame over the last couple years thanks partially to Lady Gaga, who took the band out on the year-and-a-half long Monster Ball tour.
If you love great songwriting and top-notch musicianship, you owe it to yourself to check out Charlie Worsham’s debut album, Rubberband. I was turned on to Worsham by hit songwriter, Marty Dodson, who co-wrote the songs “Could It Be” and “Trouble Is” on the album. Dodson, who writes with hundreds of other writers and performers, chose this album as his favorite release of 2013. Who am I to argue with that kind of cred?
In the Coen brothers’ brilliant 2013 film, Inside Llewyn Davis, the acoustic guitar lugged all around New York City and Chicago by the protagonist who gives the film its name is almost a main character itself. The guitar is a key indicator of the fortunes of Llewyn Davis, a struggling New York folksinger in the early ‘60s.
Here’s a live acoustic video of Clapton’s classic “Change The World,” as he jams out with full band. Released in 1996, the song won Grammy Awards for Record of the Year, Song of the Year (for the songwriters), as well as Best Male Pop Vocal performance.
If you’re a fan of Hawthorne Heights, I’ll bet you’ll meander on over to check out frontman JT Woodruff’s latest solo release, Field Medicine. But if you’re not an HH fan, well that’s where the real fun begins. This collection of haunting, stark meanderings is so fabulously bleak and somewhat twisted, with touches of pure beauty.
Check out this new acoustic video from The Last Year. “Sugar” is a haunting little number that showcases some great songwriting. With a nice open arrangement of piano and acoustic guitar, complemented by Nikki Barr’s expressive vocal, the song soars in acoustic form.
Many of you have heard me tell that I have demoed over 6,000 songs and have around 80 cuts. That's not a great cut to demo ratio. I don't even want to know what percentage that would be.vBut, I have discovered that one of the keys to being successful is failing a lot while keeping your enthusiasm up.