For my band, Frank Viele & The Manhattan Project, 2011 ended with four funky gigs and a memorable radio show lying in the center of the North East Jam Scene, a scene and a party like no other. The Tuesday before Thanksgiving found me and the band on stage at Toad’s Place, playing with one of the jam scene’s top solo acts, Zach Deputy.
I think it was John Lee Hooker himself who called his blues "the deepest blues." I wholeheartedly agree. This week's Down and Dirty is going to focus on the man who is quite possibly the most emotionally powerful and original bluesman, John Lee Hooker.
Two thousand eleven has officially switched from happening to happened. In the music world, there was some good stuff in 2011, some bad and a whole lot of "meh." Because reminiscing is only acceptable this time of year (and all of my album picks have already been covered by two or 20 sites from around the Internet), these are the events from '11 that will be remembered months from now.
I initially was going to keep this list short and sweet, but when it comes to stompboxes, how do you stop? Effects are like potato chips in that you just can’t expect me to offer you a handful because you’ll want the whole bag -- and besides, there are so many flavors of overdrive, modulation, delay, etc., that it’s nearly impossible to pick a top five. So I’ve decided to make it a top 10.
This was definitely a weird year for music, so I had to grab the good stuff wherever I could find it. I have pretty eclectic tastes, so in some ways I had fun picking through the rock, jazz, blues and metal world. I look forward to trying to absorb Jimi Hendrix’s Winterland shows and Duane Allman’s remarkable playing on the SUNY bootleg over the next, say, two decades.
As an editor at GuitarWorld.com, I listen to tons o' music -- all sorts of weird stuff. One day in the summer, I even found myself listening to an album made by a bunch of nuns chanting in Latin. I'm still not sure why that happened. Anyway, the point is, amid the beatings my ear drums withstand on a daily basis, it's easy to choose my favorite albums of the year; they're the ones I found myself listening to over and over again.
Is it just me, or is an album's release date becoming less and less relevant? I'm not just talking about piracy or over-saturation of the market leading to release dates that just don't feel as special -- though even at my relatively young age, I can fondly remember waiting in line at FYE to buy a new album -- but rather I'm saying that the way we consume music is changing in such a way that makes when an album came out nearly irrelevant.
Having proclivities that spread a breadth of musical styles, I can't deny that half of my picks for the best albums of 2011 are not what one would consider "guitar" albums. But then again, a "guitar" album is a relative term. All the albums featured in my Top 10 contain guitar.