I don't know how many times I have heard someone say, "I'm trying to find myself." It amazes me how many of our thought processes put life firmly OUT of our own control. If it's possible to "find myself,” that means that the REAL me is out there somewhere waiting on the imitation me to find him.
2013 was jammed packed with music for me. I hope it was for you, too. I thought as the year draws to a close, I would share some of my favorite new bands and performers, most of whom are creating wonderful original material that has yet to break out into the national consciousness.
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.