Love Mumford and Sons? Joni Mitchell? Led Zeppelin? Patti Griffin? Have you tried to play their songs but just couldn’t make them sound quite right? Welcome to the world of alternate tunings. Not all songs are written for, or played in, the standard E-A-D-G-B-E tuning. Alternate tunings open up a whole new world for guitarists willing to look beyond the standard tuning, offering the possibility of creating combinations of notes not previously available, or only available to those with enormous hands.
As a whole, writers are not the most secure people in the world. Many of us battle insecurity daily. Maybe it’s because we have to put ourselves out there in a vulnerable position any time we let someone hear our songs.
In 2013, YouTube is one of the many platforms giving artists the audience and tools to catapult into stardom, and the brothers of Boyce Avenue–Alejandro, Daniel and Fabian Manzano–are one of the best examples of this trend. With tens-of-millions of plays on any given video, the band is nothing short of a phenomenon, and their hard work online has clearly paid off in the physical world, too
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.