What is a blues album in 2011? If you believe the gang over at the Grammy Awards, it's whatever sort of music is being made by anyone who happens to be a member of The Allman Brothers Band. Earlier this month, new albums by Gregg Allman, Warren Haynes and the Tedeschi-Trucks Band (featuring Allman Brothers guitarist Derek Trucks) were nominated for Best Blues Album.
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.
Some late-breaking dental news from England: The BBC reports that one of John Lennon's teeth will be auctioned in Stockport, England, next month. It is expected to bring in £10,000, or just under $16,000 US.
A few days ago, I caught another very cool show at The Iridium on Broadway and 51st Street here in Manhattan. It was the opening night of a two-night visit by Tony Levin's band, Stick Men, and the Adrian Belew Trio.
There's a lot of great music coming out in 2011, so much that it's hard to keep track of, let alone review. But I'd like to start doing just that -- reviewing albums that might otherwise pass under the radar. Of course, nothing's stopping me from checking out things that are so "on the radar" that they can't be avoided, either. But, man, I've let 2011 albums by Wilco, Pavement's Stephen Malkmus and X's John Doe go by without even a mention!
When Crazy Damian Fanelli from Guitar World breezed into my store, Chelsea Guitars in NYC, with his posse of ne'er-do-wells, it was obvious they were up to no good. Matt, my manager, reached down and, grabbing the stun gun, unobtrusively pressed it into my right hand. Dylan, my floor guy, who we will discuss at length later, got up, grabbed the nightstick and, working his way around the Guitar World bastards, reached down and locked the front door.
Well, you've had a week to vote on Eric Clapton's best guitar album, and here are the results. The first two albums, I'd say, were favorites, but it really was a guessing game after that. You'll find that his whole career is represented here -- minus his days with The Yardbirds.
It's a Monday night in May at a packed Iridium Jazz Club at Broadway in New York City. The Les Paul Trio has just finished a set highlighted by loose, playful readings of "All of Me," "Blue Skies" and "Sweet Georgia Brown." But the evening is still young, and just before the last piano flourish fades, the Trio is joined on stage by a grinning, Les Paul-toting Ted Nugent, the Motor City Madman himself. After thunderous applause, he and his guitar launch into a solo instrumental take on "The Star Spangled Banner."
Last night, GuitarWorld.com's Josh Hart and I attended a listening session for Noel Gallagher's upcoming post-Oasis solo album, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, which comes out November 8 on Sour Mash Records.
Clarence White was a genuine double threat. His brilliant, Doc Watson-inspired acoustic flatpicking, which incorporated lightning-fast fiddle lines played on an ancient Martin D-28, helped the bluegrass world recognize the guitar as a lead instrument. Several masters of the genre, including Tony Rice and Norman Blake, name him as a key influence.