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.
Ok, this is a first for us. Independent musician and virtuoso guitarist Jon Gomm is not only an amazing player, he retunes his strings as part of the performance...while he's playing! Gomm released his new album Secrets Nobody Keeps on November 25th of this year and it's well worth a listen.
If you ask any successful person if their career has gone exactly as they planned it and I doubt you would get one affirmative answer. Careers (and life in general) are really hard to plan out and structure to our liking. There are too many variables that are out of our control. My theory is that successful people succeed, in large part, because they are able to react and respond well when something unexpected happens. When something doesn't go according to plans, they don't give up. They evaluate their new options and then pick another road to take.
Singer/Songwriter and guitar instructor Laura Zucker has just released a new album of carefully crafted songs called Life Wide Open. Zucker, who just came back from the NERFA conference and was one of the winners of 2013’s West Coast Songwriters Association Best Song competition, clearly can construct a terrific turn of phrase. But it’s her compositions as a whole that make you feel like someone just wrapped you in a warm blanket.
Today Brendan Canning of Broken Social Scene premieres the new music video for “Bullied Days,” the second single off of his sophomore solo LP You Gots 2 Chill. The video for the track, which features vocals by Daniela Gesundheit of Snowblink, finds a distressed man on a bridge whose day is suddenly turned around when a little girl unexpectedly befriends him. This moving video for “Bullied Days,” was directed by Dick Tears and Coconutfrills.
Some folks just know how to do amazing things with their instruments. Take Mike Dawes for example. He slaps, taps and caresses his way to brilliance in his video performance of "The Impossible." The song, from his album What Just Happened?, showcases this performer's innate melodic instinct.
After returning from her 6th European tour this past spring, Bloom got to work finishing her new EP Big Dreams which released yesterday, November 12. With typical Bloom style, the songs are a collection of social commentary and tuneful pop flavors with some tongue in cheek ideas thrown in for good measure.
I view my songwriting like an athlete views his or her sport. I have to practice. I have to stay in shape. So I do it every day. I can stack the odds in my favor by starting with a distraction-free space. I need to feel quiet and relaxed and able to channel things that are deeper than the inputs from my immediate surroundings. I don't want the phone to ring, or the TV buzzing away in the background. When inspiration hits I need to be able to receive it clearly. If I don't catch it, someone else will.
SONGWRITERS!! Do you ever feel like you’re all alone out there? Laboring in a vacuum? Wishing you could connect with other songwriters for advice or collaboration? If you live in San Diego to Seattle or anywhere in between, you’re in luck! You have an abundance of resources at your fingertips in the West Coast Songwriters’ Association.
On February 18, William Fitzsimmons will release Lions, his follow-up LP to 2010's well-received Gold In The Shadow. Produced by Chris Walla (guitarist for Death Cab For Cutie with previous production credits with Tegan and Sara, The Decemberists and The Postal Service among others), Lions is a career-defining album that explores Fitzsimmons' personal transformation over the last few years.
I grew up in Nashville. It was a very intimidating place to grow up if you aspire to sing or make music. Nearly everyone that ever came to work on our air conditioner was trying to be in the music business. Most of the waiters and waitresses were, too. I saw lots of people TRYING to be singers and songwriters, but I didn't know anyone who was actually doing it.
One of the little joys an avid music listener anticipates is the next band/album that is going to affect him or her in such a way, that it cannot be explained completely with words. Sure, they can make an attempt explaining why an album is "so good," but there is just something alien to dialogue that strikes a "chord" (pun intended) in their heart-soul (that's a "Hamlet 2" reference, and if you got it, bravo). For me, that band was, and still is, The Black Atlantic.