Every day I get to write, and to play music, is a great day, for which I am very grateful. I am a recovering lawyer, and while that was a great gig for me for a while (and while I cast no aspersions whatsoever on the noble profession), as a songwriter I am able to connect with my feelings of joy and gratitude more directly. Here's a story of how stepping away from my usual songwriting routine lead to a flash of inspiration.
Check out this sick acoustic guitar assault by Kelly Zullo. It’s the song “When We Get There” from the upcoming January 2015 release. Here Zullo uses some speedy finger work and hard hitting right hand technique while she sings at the same time. It’s kinda like tapping you head and rubbing your belly on fast forward.
This November we’re giving you the chance to win the ultimate performer’s companion — the BOSS VE-2 Vocal Harmonist Pedal. Open to residents of North America only. Combining sophisticated sound with simple operation, the VE-2 delivers a complete effects solution for all singers, particularly those that perform with guitar. This portable, battery-powered stompbox has everything you need to create polished, studio-quality sounds everywhere you sing, from concert stages and street performances to practicing and having fun at home.
"Traveler" should be added to the usual "singer/songwriter" monicker when it comes to Jesse Terry. And maybe add "hard-worker" while we're at it. I caught up with Jesse on the road, backstage at Steel City in Phoenixville, Pa. Jesse shares lessons learned both musically and career-wise.
Jimmy Herman is the multi-instrumentalist for Carrie Underwood. He is also an avid hunter and outdoorsman. Throughout his career he has found fun and unique ways to combine both passions. In this interview, Weber Mandolins shares some insight into this versatile artist's career and plans.
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.
Standing as probably the greatest American songwriter of all time, the musical catalog of Bob Dylan is nothing short of awe-inspiring. 35 studio albums, 11 live albums, and innumerable compilations contain countless brilliant moments from the always confounding Dylan. Of particular interest is his Bootleg Series of previously unreleased material.
As songwriters, we think of tempo as the most basic of basics. Tempo, or the speed at which we perform a song, is sort of the quiet engine, the driving force behind all our tunes; yet, because we consider it so "Songwriting 101," tempo can sometimes become songcraft’s sadly neglected middle child.
If you’re playing by yourself or with just a couple of friends who have their own amplification equipment, you should probably be checking out acoustic guitar amps. They are smaller, more convenient and generally cheaper than a PA, and are apt to be more useful. Some currently available models have a separate channel for a mike input, so you can even use them to amplify your singing as well.
There’s no denying, this is the decade that acoustic comes into its own. From the rootsiest traditional down-home country, to bluegrass, soul, rock, funk and pop and beyond, acoustic instruments have been taking center stage in all genres, and I say, good for us!
What’s next on the bucket list when you’ve sold 16 million albums and garnered three Grammy nominations, two American Music Awards, and five BMI Pop Awards for songwriting, including BMI’s coveted "Songwriter of the Year" award? How about going back to the basement…?!
I work with a lot of songwriters on through SongTown USA that are trying to turn their hobby into a profession. The most common mistake I see in those aspiring songwriters is that their songs tend to wander around. They start strong with the first verse. It tends to stay on topic. By the time they get to the chorus, they are chasing a couple of rabbits down different trails. The second verse is where it usually falls apart. By the time they get to the bridge, there are rabbits running everywhere.
“It’s hard to recover from a bad year,” sings Terry Price in the opening track of my favorite release of 2013, Photo Ops’How To Say Goodbye. “Friends that were with us are no longer near / But hey, I’m glad to be alive.” As Price’s first release under the alias of Photo Ops, the shimmering guitar pop found within How To Say Goodbye is a deeply personal ode to death, loss, growing up and moving on.