While Don McLean was recording “American Pie,” the eight-minute-plus song that brought him stardom in late 1971, his label, Media Arts Records, went under. Understandably, the situation put a damper on any great expectations McLean had for the song. “I wasn’t thinking of releasing or editing it,” he says today. “My expectations were that I would be looking for a record company.”
Eric Clapton was already a master of the electric guitar in January 1992 when he traded his signature Fender Strat for a Martin acoustic to record his hugely successful Unplugged album. The live album captured the guitarist, backed by a small band, performing acoustic versions of his own songs and some blues standards.
In this video, reviewer Justin Horenstein demonstrates the Ultrasound CP-100 compact acoustic amplifer. This is an amp specifically built for acoustic instruments such as guitar, mandolin, fiddle and even vocals. It has a single 8’’ speaker and 100 watts of power. It’s made to be transparent, so it won’t add color to the tone of your acoustic instrument.
This fall The Devil Makes Three will embark upon a month long tour of the United States in support of their forthcoming full-length release I'm A Stranger Here, out October 29 on New West Records. The Santa Cruz, Calif. by way of Vermont trio will showcase songs from the new Buddy Miller-produced album. The fall tour will kick off Halloween night in Colorado Springs and include shows at Webster Hall in New York, 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. and the Metro in Chicago.
During the final week of 1971, The Band played four legendary concerts at New York City’s Academy of Music, ushering in the new year with some seriously great performances, including new horn arrangements by Allen Toussaint and a surprise guest appearance by Bob Dylan.
Idealists are people who just never grow out of their childhood dreams. Some idealists believe that they can achieve world peace. Then there are the artistic idealists who believe that, despite massive financial obstacles, ever decreasing record sales, and a heavily saturated market, they can find a way to beat the odds and build a successful career selling and performing their own original music. My friends, that is me.
Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighers discover the delights of going unplugged on their 2005 double album, In Your Honor. While he is primarily an electric guitarist, Grohl explains that an acoustic guitar has always been his main writing tool. “Most of our songs, from ‘Everlong’ to ‘Monkey Wrench,’ “ he says, “were written on acoustic. I would bring the demos into the rehearsal space and then we’d plug in and dirty them up.”
I love a great cover performance. Especially one that has a different take than the original, but remains recognizable. Sometimes I am more interested in listening to great cover than to the original! The artist took something that’s already familiar and added his or her own personality to it. Not only that, but the new performer is paying respect to another artist.
Over the last few years I’ve been noticing a trend. Traditional acoustic instruments have been popping up, well, all over the place. When I saw them earlier this year in San Francisco, alternative rockers Thao and the Get Down Stay Down grabbed a mandolin, a banjo, and if I it remember right, one or two other “traditional” instruments, to add to their punky edge. It blew me away.
In this segment of our exclusive Acoustic Nation Play It Now video series, hit singer songwriter Matt Nathanson teaches me, and YOU, how to play his latest single, “Mission Bells.” The track appears on his new album, The Last of the Great Pretenders. Nathanson, and his guitar player Aaron Tap, run through the riff, verse and chorus arrangements for what is basically a fun to play three-chord song.