After two minutes of gorgeous instrumental dips and swells, Jordan Lee introduces himself to you in “Strong River” by singing, “I clear my mind of joy and sorrow.” It is almost as if he is inviting you too to clear your mind of excess emotion before engaging in the next half hour of music on Love’s Crushing Diamond, the full-length debut from his songwriting project, Mutual Benefit.
Guitarist Guthrie Govan is known worldwide for his electric guitar prowess. But here’s a very cool video of the song “Taken Dreams” taken from his GPS release Two Seasons – Live in Japan. It not only features Govan really laying it down on acoustic guitar, but also John Payne joins in for some supportive guitar work and powerful vocals.
As musicians, we all have to memorize music, lyrics, chords, dynamics and more. That alone can be daunting and definitely requires some effort. It’s easier to memorize a song you really like or perhaps one you’ve written yourself. I find the best way to start memorizing a song you didn’t write is to listen to it as much as possible. Put it on your portable player and listen both actively and passively.
The nylon-string guitar is, of course, essential when it comes to traditional classical and flamenco playing, and it is also the instrument of choice in many forms of Latin music. But many jazz, rock and pop guitarists also praise the nylon-string for its unique tone, which simply cannot be produced on a steel-string. Charlie Byrd in jazz, Earl Klugh in easy-listening pop and Willie Nelson in country are all nylon-string men.
I’ll admit it. I’m always looking for another gadget that will enhance my guitar playing. From simple capos and tuners to more complex apps, pedals and accessories, there’s a boatload of cool stuff that we guitarists crave. And don’t even get me started on picks. They seem to disappear on a daily basis.
As one of the most chameleonic and prolific figures in rock’s great history, few artists have as deep a treasure trove of unreleased recordings as Neil Young. As part of his wonderfully illuminating “Performance Archive” series, Young is releasing a solo performance from his six-night stand at Washington D.C venue the Cellar Door in late 1970 on December 10.
Ok, this is a first for us. Independent musician and virtuoso guitarist Jon Gomm is not only an amazing player, he retunes his strings as part of the performance...while he's playing! Gomm released his new album Secrets Nobody Keeps on November 25th of this year and it's well worth a listen.
If you ask any successful person if their career has gone exactly as they planned it and I doubt you would get one affirmative answer. Careers (and life in general) are really hard to plan out and structure to our liking. There are too many variables that are out of our control. My theory is that successful people succeed, in large part, because they are able to react and respond well when something unexpected happens. When something doesn't go according to plans, they don't give up. They evaluate their new options and then pick another road to take.
Oakland, CA-based jazz guitarist Jimmy Grant (who I happened to meet on a plane coming back from the NAMM Show) used quite a different process for his latest release, 5 in 5; write a song a day for five days. Record on the sixth day. Release it on the seventh.
Touring for me is a test of endurance. I keep myself fit, eat well, sleep, and rest my voice when possible. It's not very rock 'n roll, but touring when you're sick is pretty miserable, so I try to avoid that.