2014 has so far been incredibly brain busy for me. I’ve been accepted into a year-long song a week project that has been keeping me up most nights. It’s called Real Women Real Songs II, and I’ll write more about it once I’m deeper into the year. I admit that I write very few new songs a year for my solo work. Somewhere along the lines of about three new songs that I care to play out.
Violent Femmes, in many ways, were as punk as it comes. Their music was raw, passionate, and completely unique. They never fit into any sort of genre, other than the arbitrary, encompassing “post-punk” label the music industry used for bands that didn’t sound like anybody that had come before. But most impressive of all, they turned their backs on one of rock music’s most basic elements, volume. Violent Femmes were raw and unhinged in the classic punk spirit; and they did it acoustically.
Often, people ask me when, how and where I find inspiration. I generally tell them that I sit down on a couch every day with a blank word document on the screen in front of me and a guitar in my lap. If inspiration doesn't show up at 10:30 when my co-write starts, then I start going through my idea file or playing my guitar.
If there's anyone who can shred on acoustic guitar with jaw-dropping effect, it's Tommy Emmanuel. Here he runs through "Guitar Boogie" and "Stevie's Blues," a song he wrote for the late, great Stevie Ray Vaughan. You might be flabbergasted when you finish watching. You might be shaking your head. Me, I have a big ear-to-ear grin and am gonna hit replay.
One of my favorite half hours at NAMM 2014 was spent with Andy Powers, master luthier for Taylor Guitars. Andy proudly shared the new Taylor 800 series with me, and boy was it worth my time. While those of you who have tried to check out gear at NAMM know that It’s incredibly hard to hear anything, this series of guitars sure felt fabulous and the rich resonance was unmistakable.
Here's one more video filmed live in the Acoustic Nation studio. It features John Butler performing "How You Sleep At Night," from his upcoming album Flesh & Blood. Before he started he told us this was the first time he's played this song solo live on acoustic. I'd say this performance was not too shabby!!
This year at NAMM I had the opportunity to check out and try some of the new guitars from legendary guitar maker, C.F. Martin. And legendary is a good word to start with, as they have issued several guitars that are recreations of legacy models, each with their own personality and tonal characteristics.
I must admit, I might be dragging from some late night fun, but I tried to cover a lot of ground and check out a larger variety of acoustic gear be it guitars, ukes, accessories or other odds and ends.