I was approached by three different people to do cover sets last year. I really wanted to do it, and had no idea how I was going to get through three hours of singing AND guitar playing by myself. One of those gigs was to play covers for ballroom dancers to practice to. (Talk about pressure to stay on rhythm.)
On the verge of releasing his latest album, Flesh and Blood, John Butler took a few minutes to sit down with us in the Acoustic Nation studio. We laughed, we played, we talked about new music and songwriting and a whole lot more.
Here's a killer acoustic version of Pantera's "Mouth For War" performed by Sam Westphalen. Hailing from down under, Westphalen has a prolific assortment of superb acoustic covers on YouTube and this one exemplifies the collection. Westphalen is currently studying Composition and Music Production at the Australian Institute of Music (AIM) and that's where this gem was recorded.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the death of Nick Drake, one of the most unique and talented singer/songwriters to ever pick up a guitar, or any instrument for that matter. His incredible fingerpicking skill, unique use of melodic textures like cluster chords, and vague, morbid lyrics make his songs stand out like those of no other musician of the time. Afflicted with severe depression for most of his adult life, Drake died of an accidental overdose of prescription pills at the age of 27.
Touted as the most successful independent artist in Australia, John Butler is poised to release his latest work, Flesh and Blood on February 3, 2014. Butler's previous work, April Uprising yielded a US #1 single with "Better Than." Now with Flesh and Blood The John Butler Trio has evolved with even more fabulous writing and virtuosic performance.
In 2013 I went out on a limb. I applied to be part of a songwriting class that focused on co-writing. Up until then I had only co-written a small part of one song (I wrote the bridge), and that was it. But I wanted to do more, improve, and find new ways to be creative.
It struck me today that there are basically two kinds of writers I work with. There are empowered writers and non-empowered writers. Empowered writers write confidently and take chances. They don't complain about the state of the music business or whine about someone not getting them cuts. They realize that THEY are in charge of the ship they are on. If they are rejected, they learn from it and move on. They see criticism as an opportunity to grow.
Here's some tasteful and incredibly skilled playing by young guitarist Ben Lapp. He picked up his first guitar at age 12, and began writing his own music, and recorded his first album, The New Color, at age 14.