Interviews en An Interview With Lisa Loeb — Presented by Breedlove <!--paging_filter--><p>Lisa Loeb's career spans decades. </p> <p>Twenty years ago she became a household name with her single "Stay (I Missed You)" from the ​<em>Reality Bites</em>​ soundtrack. </p> <p>Since then she's been on a roll with with tours, designing her own eyewear line, kids albums and more. </p> <p>She recently just finished performing in her own stage production, <em>​Camp Kappawanna​</em> with the Atlantic Theatre in New York.</p> <p>Here the folks at Breedlove sat down with the talented Loeb, and lucky us, we get to listen in. Check it out... </p> <p><strong><em>Breedlove: You have had an amazingly diverse set of experiences in your career. How do you come up with what new thing you want to do next?</em></strong></p> <p>Lisa Loeb: I always like to make music, so I write songs all the time. I follow the things I am passionate about. I pick the interesting projects or events that are offered to me and create things that interest me as well. There’s always something to do, a new idea to follow.<br /> ​<br /> <strong><em>Your eyewear is amazing – how involved are you with the design process?</em></strong></p> <p> I work with a very experienced eyewear designer in California. We look at materials, shapes, and new concepts together. She’s the real pro, so she takes the lead, but it’s my brand and aesthetic, and so we try to follow that as well as being on trend with colors and shapes. </p> <p><strong><em> How many sets of glasses do you own?</em></strong></p> <p>Too many to count. I mainly wear one pair of glasses and one pair of sunglasses though. </p> <p><strong><em>What came first – Camp Lisa Foundation or the children’s albums?</em></strong></p> <p>The kids’ albums came first. First <em>Catch the Moon</em> and then <em>Camp Lisa</em>. I wanted to share the summer camp experience with as many kids as I could and I thought a TV show inspired by my <em>Camp Lisa</em> album would be a great way to do it. Then, after thinking about it more, I realized that the best way to share the experience would be to actually send kids to camp. I started the Camp Lisa Foundation to send kids to camp through the sales of my album and my own “Wake Up” blend of coffee beans, distributed by CoffeeFool, an on-line coffee bean company. We work closely with S.C.O.P.E., an organization that sends kids to wonderful camps, mostly on the east coast. </p> <p><strong><em> Overnight camp must have made a big impact for you? It also inspired <em>Camp Kappawanna</em> which is just finishing up a run at Atlantic Theater.</em></strong></p> <p>Yes - overnight camp is where I really had a great time! I played guitar in front of people for the first time, made up words to old songs, made up skits, tried new things that were a bit daunting at first, but later proved to be a tremendous confidence-builder. Camp is a place where the pressure is on to just be yourself and learn to get along in a group and be a good leader too. My summer camp experience was loosely the inspiration for Camp Kappawanna. </p> <p><strong><em> How did you come to pick up the acoustic guitar?</em></strong></p> <p>My best friends and I were obsessed with the band, The Police, when we were young teens. My friend Margaret learned about them first and so her favorite member was Sting. Adrienne followed with Stewart Copeland, the drummer, as her favorite, and I ended up with Andy Summers as my favorite. I was on the outs with my many years of piano and theory lessons and it was time for a change, so I chose guitar! My friend Alma Doll taught me a lot of things at summer camp too, like how to play “Stairway to Heaven."</p> <p><strong><em> What is it about the Breedlove Oregon Concert that speaks to you?</em></strong></p> <p>I love the size of the guitar, the clarity, and the bass that rounds out the sound. </p> <p><strong><em>What advice would you have for other females that are embarking on their musical careers in today’s environment?</em></strong></p> <p>I would say that you need to maintain a do-it-yourself attitude, find great collaborators in music and business, as it really takes a team, and also be prepared to find the areas of the music business where you can make a living. Also, if you want to have a family, you should keep that in mind as you carve out your career. Don’t plan on lots of touring if you don’t want to leave young children behind, and if you’re looking for a serious relationship, make sure to prioritize that as you make decisions about where your career might take you. (That’s good advise for men or women.)</p> <p>Find out more at <a href=""></a> and <a href=""></a>. </p> Acoustic Nation Lisa Loeb Interviews Blogs Tue, 21 Apr 2015 22:12:13 +0000 Acoustic Nation 24353 at Louisa Wendorff Talks Bedell Guitars, Mashups and Massive YouTube Success <!--paging_filter--><p>Louisa Wendorff has been singing since she was seven years old. </p> <p>In June of 2014 she released <em>Arrow</em>, which climbed to #2 on the iTunes Singer/Songwriter chart, and #1 on Billboard’s HeatSeekers chart.</p> <p>However, you probably most recognize her for her YouTube mashup of Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space/Style.” </p> <p>Launched on December 23, 2014 it went viral when Taylor Swift shared it with one word, “OBSESSED.” Now, with more than 21 million views, it earned Louisa and Devin Dawson a live spot on the E! News Red Carpet at this years Grammy’s.</p> <p>Here the folks at Bedell caught up with Louisa and share their conversation.</p> <p><strong><em>Bedell: Do you have one word to sum up the last six months?</em></strong></p> <p>​Louisa Wendorff: magic.</p> <p><strong><em>Your video “Blank Space/Style” has had amazing success and even got you a live performance on the Red Carpet at the Grammy’s! How was that?</em></strong></p> <p>It was completely amazing! I was so grateful to have been apart of such an incredible day and am still in awe that that even happened!</p> <p><strong><em>How do you come up with the mashups you do? Do you do the arrangements for them?</em></strong></p> <p>I get inspiration for each one in different ways, and yes I arrange them myself. If I feel like a mashup is close but hit a creative block, I have a few friends I reach out to for input.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="349" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong><em>When you launch an original like “Every Little Thing,” which is beautiful by the way, do you get nervous that people won’t respond as well to your original work as they do your covers?</em></strong></p> <p>Yes, that can be a huge fear of mine. My goal has always been to be an artist singing my own songs. While it’s been completely fabulous getting a fast pass to where I am now, I don’t want to be known as a cover artist. So I definitely get nervous that my fans will only like my covers. But when it comes down to it, I’m not worried. I have an amazing team in place and have been working day in and out for as long as I can remember, so I’m just excited to see when it all goes from here.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="349" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong><em>When did you pick up playing the guitar?</em></strong></p> <p>I started playing the guitar when I was a sophomore in high school, so a little over 4 years ago.</p> <p><strong><em>Parlors are gaining in popularity – why does that body shape appeal to you?</em></strong></p> <p>I am absolutely obsessed with the parlor shape. It is small just like me so I truly feel like we are just made for each other. Its Louisa sized!</p> <p><strong><em>You spent quite a bit of time “stalking” the Earthsong Parlor. What was it about that guitar that spoke to you?</em></strong></p> <p>Stalking is a very accurate word, haha. From the 1st to the 7th time I came to visit my beloved Earthsong, the tone, color of the wood, and size were the definition of perfection to me. Every time I played it in the store and now wherever I go, it just feels right. A sense of peace just comes over me when I play. </p> <p><strong><em>And now it seems it’s taken a life of its own. Many people name their guitars…yours is Baby B. But it has it’s own Instagram page @BabyBedell?</em></strong></p> <p>Yes it does! Those who know me, know I’m a goof, and having a page for my guitar is so fun . I mean, why not! People make pages for their cats and dogs all the time. And Baby B has it’s own cute little personality so how I could I not? ;)</p> <p><strong><em>Any new videos on the horizon we can look forward to?</em></strong></p> <p>Yes! I am planning on releasing a new mashup sometime in April.</p> <p>Find out more at <a href=""></a><br /> and <a href=""></a></p> Acoustic Nation Bedell Louisa Wendorff Interviews Blogs Fri, 03 Apr 2015 13:06:10 +0000 Acoustic Nation 23869 at Will Dailey Interview and Deluxe Edition Sneak Peek! <!--paging_filter--><p>Will Dailey has paid his dues in the musical trenches, honing his writing, instrumental and production chops to a fine, but just grungy enough, sheen.</p> <p>Last year he released his latest labor of love, the album <em>National Throat</em> to great critical and popular success. The collection of raw, heartfelt and just darn good songs is the crowning achievement to date of this hardworking artist.</p> <p>To produce <em>National Throat</em> he stepped away from a label deal, turned to crowd-funding and has truly been hands on in every facet of its creation and release.</p> <p>The result is something he should be proud of. Excellent music that he has steered toward rising success.</p> <p>With the release of <em>National Throat</em> Dailey has toured extensively. He won both album of the year and artist of the year at the Boston Music Awards. He continues to breathe newfound energy into the process with new bonus tracks and singles.</p> <p>Here, I’m please to share the bonus track “300 Dollar Man.” Dailey wrote this song in reaction to his participation in Farm Aid. The title of the song is in reference to the Civil War. Union soldiers were able to avoid the draft by paying a fee of $300, so all of those who paid their way out of the war were "$300 Men." This year is also the 30th Anniversary of Farm Aid. Track appears on the new Deluxe vinyl edition of the album, due out March 24.</p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src=";color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false"></iframe></p> <p>I talked to Dailey about the album and his next steps. Check it out:</p> <p><em><strong>You’ve had some really great success with your latest release, <em>National Throat<em>. How do you feel?</em></em></strong></em></p> <p>I wanna say it’s surprising, and it is. But you work really hard on these things and you put your whole heart and soul into.</p> <p><em><strong>Yeah, isn’t it funny how we’re surprised when stuff works?</strong></em></p> <p>Yeah! You pour yourself into and in a lot of ways your in a vacuum when you’re doing it, and then you just want it to be and be something that your proud of at the very least. And then when it connects it’s incredible. It’s also this surprise, and you’re kind of like, how the hell did this happen?! Generally you are working really hard at it.</p> <p>It’s been one little thing after the other to the point where I was playing this radio thing today and I was thinking now, even if I wanted to take a break, I can’t because this album is doing it’s own work.</p> <p><em><strong>Yeah, there’s no taking a break now!</strong></em></p> <p>I was like, wow, there’s no lull. And it’s nice after working so long and hard in this business for this to be the album that really connects.</p> <p><em><strong>You were very Indie in your approach to releasing this album. Can you talk about your strategy?</strong></em></p> <p>So much of <em>National Throat</em> and what it’s about musically, and songwriting-wise, lyrically, is really how the album was put together and how it’s getting out to people. It’s about not only the independent spirit, but the fact that we the people can make art happen and when we do we have a better culture. Instead of one person in a company saying what we should buy, we collectively participate in what we want to represent us. And that’s what we did for fundraising with Pledgemusic. You know, like a lot of things I’m thinking “No one’s gonna pledge on this,” and then it blows up. It was made by the people and the fans. And that energy somehow is infused in the record. And I can’t imagine ever not doing it that way.</p> <p><em><strong>Was it kind of terrifying to do it that way?</strong></em></p> <p>Absolutely, and it was a ton of work. You want to just make music most of the time but now you have to sign 200 posters and make some handwritten lyrics. Which at the end of the day is cathartic for your process, but it’s a lot of work. And you have to follow through. It kind of separates people who really want to do this from the hobby of music we all should have. I can’t imagine doing this alone again or in a small vacuum with a handful of people knowing that those 800 people are gonna be there day one and participating in what you are making is very empowering. You have to be all in, and if you lose your chips, ok, you walk away from the table. </p> <p><em><strong>So, you’ve recently picked up one of D’Angelico’s brand new acoustics. Give us the scoop.</strong></em></p> <p>There is a regal look to any line of D'Angelico that draws me right in. I love my acoustic especially. We used it for our live acoustic session because it had the right amount of sparkle without sacrificing any of the low end. I generally beat the hell out of my acoustic but this one calls for more loving care not because it's pretty, just because there is a uniqueness to its sparkle that shouldn't be ignored.</p> <p><em><strong>Give us some insight into the recording process for </strong></em>National Throat<em>.</em></p> <p>I wanted to remove myself from comfort so we camped out for 8 days in upstate NY at Applehead studios. Slept, eat and showered in the studio. Didn't really go outside except to talk to Bounty the alpaca from time to time. Most of the songs are full takes, usually in the first 3. "Sunken Ship", "World Go Round", "Don't Take Your Eyes Off Of Me": Those are all one take on guitar, bass and drums with some over dubs later. I have amazing players in my band (Dave Brophy &amp; Kimon Kirk)- There is no need for click and certainly not the grid when the song doesn't need it. The goal was to let it breathe. Get off the grid. </p> <p><em><strong>Your song “Higher Education” is one of my favorites. I understand others have jumped on it as a new single, too.</strong></em></p> <p>Yes, I just did something with the River today, and they told me they are picking up that song for rotation. It’s a surprising break out song with over 1.9 million plays on Spotify!! People really like it! When that happens the music speaks for itself and you have to let it grow. I’m thrilled!</p> <p>Listen now!<br /> <iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src=";color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false"></iframe></p> <p>Will Dailey will continue touring this Spring and Summer, with a Deluxe version of the album due out March 24, including a bonus track or two (or three!). </p> <p>Find out more and check tour dates at <a href=""> </a></p> Acoustic Nation News Will Dailey Interviews Blogs Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:01:44 +0000 Laura B. Whitmore 23715 at Kaki King Talks 'The Neck is a Bridge to the Body' — Exclusive Video Interview <!--paging_filter--><p>Last night I had the pleasure of seeing Kaki King’s 'The Neck is a Bridge to the Body,' a multimedia, guitar-based show that was truly unique.</p> <p>King not only composed and performs all the music (some to recorded tracks), she worked with truly innovative artists to create a visual and auditory experience that’s interactive, striking and worth experiencing.</p> <p>She performs the entire show on a white-painted Ovation acoustic guitar that is affixed to static stands. This enables the images projected onto the guitar surface to be different than the images projected onto the screen behind her.</p> <p>Everything about this show is special. King stretches her performance to go beyond her usual virtuosic performance skills to another level of creative art. Is some of it weird? Yes. Is it entirely accessible and enjoyable? Wholeheartedly yes again!</p> <p>Here I had the chance to sit down with this energetic and wonderful artist to talk about “The Neck is a Bridge to the Body” and more. The soundtrack to this show just went on sale March 3 as well!</p> <p>Check out all three parts of our exclusive interview to get the full scoop!</p> <p>She’s touring the show right now. Get a ticket and go. You won’t be sorry.</p> <p>Find out more at <a href=""></a></p> <p>Here we talk about the concept behind the show:</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="349" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p>Next we discuss the composition of the music and more:</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="349" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p>And finally we talk about her unique guitar and other gear used in the show:</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="349" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p>Check out a few photos from the live performance in our gallery. It doesn't come anywhere near to sharing how cool this live performance really is, but you'll get a little taste.</p> Acoustic Nation Kaki King Ovation Interviews Blogs Videos Wed, 04 Mar 2015 15:19:04 +0000 Laura B. Whitmore 23651 at Julian Lage Discusses His New Solo Guitar Album, 'World's Fair' <!--paging_filter--><p>Julian Lage is much more than just a jazz musician. </p> <p>While his musical foundation is rooted firmly in the world of bebop and swing, his playing encapsulates the full breadth of 20th-century American music. </p> <p>The ghosts of Eddie Lang, Skip James, Doc Watson and Elizabeth Cotton haunt his vintage Martin 000-18, with which he creates a sound that is distinctly modern yet deeply indebted to the American folk music tradition. </p> <p>Growing up in Northern California, Lage was something of a guitar prodigy. Practically before he could read, he was sitting in on jam sessions with David Grisman and Bela Fleck; and by his early teens, he was touring with legendary jazz vibraphonist Gary Burton. </p> <p>In addition to leading his own ensembles, Lage has since performed with too many stellar musicians to recount. Whether playing fiddle tunes with Punch Brother’s guitarist Chris Eldridge or free jazz explorations with experimental guitar wizard Nels Cline, his stunning virtuosity and melodic intrepidness are always on display.</p> <p>Lage’s upcoming release, <em>World’s Fair,</em> is a solo guitar project he says was inspired by classical master Andres Segovia. Though he’s quick to describe himself as a jazz guitarist first and foremost, <em>World’s Fair</em> showcases a more orchestral approach to the instrument. For Lage, the guitar is its own tiny orchestra, and in his hands the musical possibilities seem endless.</p> <p>While driving north to a gig in Portland, Oregon, with Cline, Julian spoke with me about his approach to improvisation, playing with dynamics and performing solo on his upcoming album.</p> <p><strong>GUITAR WORLD: You have such a strong melodic sense to your playing. Even when you’re playing these fast, complicated lines, they always sound very musical. As a guitarist, it’s so easy to get stuck in certain patterns and shapes while playing a solo, but you seem to embrace what’s cool about the linear nature of the guitar while always retaining a high level of musicality. How do you keep this balance while improvising?</strong></p> <p>Well, thank you, first of all. I think it’s a fascination I have with the guitar as a mechanism. I love the design, the open strings, the way it’s tuned—it can be challenging, and you’re totally right, there are traps you can fall into; but it’s also one of the most lyrical instruments in the sense that you can play really simple things and they will sound kind of righteous. </p> <p>Even just playing a C major triad can be so satisfying! I would say as a directive, what I envision starts with the guitar’s design. I don’t really have to avoid certain things; I just end up doing what sounds obvious to me. A big part of what gives my playing a sense of melody is that it has an intervallic architecture. I think in terms of ratios, where I will play a bunch of notes really close together chromatically and then notes that are wide apart. I’m almost playing with—not deception or illusion—but implying this breathing organism that is at times really tight and at others really open. This intervallic approach is how you get a different sense of orchestration that wouldn’t typically be applied to the guitar.</p> <p><strong>I love the way you utilize dynamics. It creates such an expressive style that is so unique to you. How conscious are you of playing with a sense of dynamics?</strong></p> <p>I think it’s as simple as that I’m a sucker for as wide a dynamic range as you can have on the guitar. I love Django Reinhardt, for example, who is the most unbelievably dynamic, fluid and dramatic player. I’m drawn to players that have a sense of drama, ones that know how to drip you and make you feel like the end of their solo coincides with the end of the world! I think you’re either drawn to that style or you have other ways of achieving drama. </p> <p>I’ve always been fascinated with what the opposite of that style of playing would be, because if I know what the opposite is, I can work in the other direction. So the opposite of dramatic playing might be very monotone and lack variation within the intervallic structure. Instead, I might purposely play with dips in volume and incorporate a balance of staccato and legato lines. It’s conscious in the sense that I’m making an effort to do it, but I always feel like I could do more. I think, “Man I could have made it sound so much more like a voice if I didn’t play those five notes at the same volume.” It’s always a work in progress. </p> <p><strong>The compositions on this album incorporate a wide range of genres of essentially American music. There’s jazz, folk, bluegrass, it reminds me a lot of what David Grisman did back in the Seventies. How did you go about cultivating this style?</strong></p> <p>Grisman is totally one of my life heroes, so is Bela Fleck—these are guys I was around a lot as a young person. </p> <p>People always say, “You know Grisman invented Dawg Music,” but if you listen, it was really just music. He took his favorite aspects of everything. I think rock bands do this all the time and so do pop artists to a large degree, but maybe in jazz it’s still kind of novel. People say, “Wow, you would take that and put it with that!” I still consider what I do jazz, but I totally agree with you that what I’m doing is distinctly American in a way. There are certain aesthetics on this record that you’re more likely to find in contemporary acoustic chamber music, American classical music and old-time fiddle music. </p> <p>The same is true with the rhythmic propulsion on the record. I purposely stayed away from playing anything with a swing feel, because I didn’t think solo guitar was the format for me to play swing. Instead, I incorporated things like Travis-picking styles and doo-wop styles. That feel is also a big part of what gives the music a location. So it wasn’t a conscious thing, but I was around people who did that very naturally and maybe I took it for granted. </p> <p><strong>Speaking of swing feel, I’d imagine a lot of people would except this album to be more of a Joe Pass solo guitar thing, but it’s really not. You’ve said Segovia was a big influence for this album. Can you speak to that?</strong></p> <p>Yeah, good point. Segovia is my hero. He and Julian Bream are just the greatest. It’s funny; when I was younger, I thought I wasn’t smart enough to like him. I thought his playing was the ultimate in virtuosity. But then when I started listening to him, as I got older, I thought, “This is music I could just put on in my house and listen to all day.” There was no elitism; it was just such rich music. There was also a legitimacy that Segovia brought to the guitar as a concert instrument. He made it so it was no longer this weakling trying to fit in with an orchestra, but also not this bombastic thing. </p> <p>What he did was on par with someone sitting down at a Steinway piano. So that was the inspiration: I wanted to make a record that I would want to listen to in the background. I also wanted to keep it consistent with having three to four minute songs I could play for anybody and not have to say, “Oh, I wish you could hear this with a bass player.” </p> <p>Segovia’s probably the all-time greatest example of that. I don’t pretend to think I’m on his level, and I’m also coming at it from a very different angle, but I do think it’s worth striving for. As for the Joe Pass and Martin Taylor School of solo guitar, those guys are insane! They’re so good. I also have enough respect for them to realize I don’t do what they do; and that since it already exists at such a high level, I should do something different. </p> <p><strong>You mentioned to me earlier you’re currently driving to a gig with Nels. You’ve played in a number of intriguing duos already in your career. How would you compare solo playing to playing in a duo?</strong></p> <p>Playing in a duo is kind of the dream for me. Playing with Nels is the ultimate. Pretty much every duo I’ve been a part of is because I like the person and they happen to play music and then we happen to play together. It hasn’t been deliberate like, “The sound of two guitars is what I’m looking for.” Instead it’s just been because I love Nels or whomever else I’m playing with. We just both happen to play guitar. Solo playing is about learning how to be stronger in different ways. </p> <p>A lot of my musical life has been about responding and interacting, and with solo guitar I still have to do that but with myself. I have to be very resourceful when it’s just me and enjoy even the little stuff that I play. It can’t all be explosive, fast stuff; I need more mundane, beautiful things. It’s sort of a lesson in self-compassion, because if you start to hate what you’re playing it can be a very long night. And then when I come back to a duo, it’s like I’ve come back to a big band. I feel like the sound just quintupled! That all makes it pretty fun, they go well together. </p> <p><em>For more about Lage, visit <a href=""></a></em></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/Screen%20Shot%202015-01-29%20at%2012.53.56%20PM.png" width="620" height="620" alt="Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 12.53.56 PM.png" /></p> <p><em>Ethan Varian is a freelance writer and guitarist based in San Francisco. He has performed with a number of rock, blues, jazz and bluegrass groups in the Bay Area and in Colorado. <a href="">Follow him on Twitter.</a></em></p> Acoustic Nation Julian Lage News Interviews Blogs Interviews News Features Thu, 29 Jan 2015 17:58:32 +0000 Ethan Varian 23388 at Hit Songwriter Dean Dillon Talks Songs, Guitars and More — Interview <!--paging_filter--><p>If you are a country music fan, more specifically the greats such as George Strait, Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith or Vince Gill, chances are one of your favorite songs was written, or co-written, by a man named Dean Dillon. </p> <p>Unless you're a serious music buff - this may be an unfamiliar name - until now. </p> <p>Dillon is a tried and true Nashville veteran, and he's been writing and composing with the legends of Music City for almost 45 years. </p> <p>After a songwriting career that would inspire any aspiring songwriter, Dillon is not gathering dust; he's making a name for himself as a talented and skillful solo artist. The folks at Bedell recently had an opportunity to visit with Dillon for a quick Q &amp;A.</p> <p><strong><em>So many people have heard your songs on the charts – what’s it like to be the man behind so many of country music’s biggest hits?</em></strong></p> <p>I’ve been very blessed to have written with so many other great songwriters; Frank Dycus, Scotty Emerick, Hank Cochran, just to name a few. It's not just my name on a lot of those songs it's theirs, too. In the beginning I wrote a lot by myself but when I started co-writing it just seemed to me to be a lot more fun. The camaraderie is a must have for me. </p> <p>I guess the one person who taught me more about writing a great song was Hank Cochran. We were inseparable for years. He taught me so much. Not only would he help me with the lines, but would tell me why we wrote the line the way we did. So when I look back on my career I always see their faces too. I wouldn't be the writer I am today without those compadres.</p> <p><strong><em>You’ve been a songwriter in Nashville since the 70s – how have you seen the industry change?</em></strong></p> <p>I've been in Nashville since 1973. I think a better word for what it has done is evolved. When you go back and listen to an old Jimmy Rogers song and listen to what Florida Georgia line is doing today it's pretty obvious it's a whole new ballgame now. I think the country music listener is a lot younger for one, yet we've still retained the purists as well. I understand why you hear what you do on the radio today. It's a new generation of listener and these artists are playing to their generation. </p> <p>I do however think that in the coming months you're gonna see songs getting back to their roots a little more. Better melodies with greater lyrics. It ALWAYS goes back to its roots. I'm not saying it's gonna be straight traditional country music but I will say the day is coming when the listener is going to want a more story laden lyric.</p> <p><strong><em>Country music has changed a lot too – how has it changed your approach to songwriting?</em></strong></p> <p>It hasn't really. But in the same breath I will certainly tell you that I work just as hard if not harder than I ever have in my life. To stay in the game you have to adapt and keep abreast of your musical surroundings. I really don't listen to radio. I don't want to be writing a song and then realize that the melody I'm writing is something I heard a week or a month ago but, I hear enough out of my fellow songwriters when we do live shows to get a pretty good taste of the current market. </p> <p>Look, I'm about great songs. By no means do I mean to say that everything I write is great. It isn't. I've heard writers say that their songs are like children to them. Well, I've got some ugly children. But then there are those days when it just seems to pour out of me. There are certain ingredients in any song that are constants - great melody, a great hook and a great story. That's always what I'm looking for. So no, my approach really hasn't changed. But you definitely have to evolve..</p> <p><strong><em>Tom Bedell invited you up to Bend and helped you design a custom guitar. It has beautiful turquoise inlayed in the top. How did you come up with that idea?</em></strong></p> <p>While perusing through a jewelry store one day I noticed a table candle set I think. It was wood with these gold veins running through it. It caught my eye so when I designed my guitar I wanted to implement that feel. Like melodies are to lyrics, the turquoise is to the wood.</p> <p><strong><em>You chose all walnut for your guitar. What is it about that wood that spoke to you?</em></strong></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/Screen%20Shot%202014-12-23%20at%2011.40.28%20PM.png" width="169" height="246" align="left" style="padding:10px 20px 10px 0;" alt="Screen Shot 2014-12-23 at 11.40.28 PM.png" />Walnut is a pretty common wood throughout East Tennessee where I'm from and I've seen the patterns in its grain and think they are just knocked out. When I saw the pieces that Bedell pulled off the shelf for me to take a look at it was well, love at first sight really - 150 yr. old western walnut. It was then that I told Tom that what he was showing me would be the front and back of my guitar. Tom had mentioned I could pick any wood I wanted to build it and walnut it would be.</p> <p>What I didn't know was that walnut is a very dense wood and does not vibrate well so getting any kind of sound out of it was gonna be a challenge unless run through an amplifier. But then came one of Bedell’s great luthiers to the rescue. He came up with the idea of laminating a piece of cedar to the top face of the guitar. Problem solved. What I wound up with is a guitar that is perfectly matched for my voice. </p> <p>I'm not a loud singer and other guitars I've used would often force me to sing harder which is not my game. But this guitar again, has a quieter sound, which affords me the ability to present my songs the way they were intended. And by the way, it is probably the most beautiful thing I have other than my beautiful Susie. Different guitars have different songs in them and this one pours them out like water. I feel like I'm writing some of the best songs I've written and this guitar is definitely the reason.</p> <p><strong><em>Any new hits that guitar has inspired?</em></strong></p> <p>I've written a lot of new songs on my Bedell. She has a sound unto herself. We intentionally built her as a "quiet" guitar as I don't sing loud. But when she's plugged in that's another story. I can't tell you the number of players and artists who've said it's the best classical guitar they've ever heard. So next time I'm playin' in your neck of the woods come see for yourself.</p> <p><strong><em>2015 will start with the Mountain High Music Fest in Crested Butte – why is that event so important to you?</em></strong></p> <p>BMI called me about 5 years ago and wanted to revive a festival we used to have in Crested Butte, Colorado. I was in all the way. After 3 years it became obvious to me that we could do something on a bigger level. This year’s event has Lee Brice, Robert Earl Keen, Thompson Square, Rodney Clawson, Nicole Galyon, Brooke Eden, Sonjia Leigh, Due West and The Crowlin Ferlies out of Aspen. </p> <p>I am very involved in my community and wanted to do three things really. Have a great festival at one of the worst economic times of the year; January is usually a slow month on the mountain. Give some of the proceeds to my favorite non profit charities which are TOUGH ENOUGH TO WEAR PINK, a breast cancer supporter, and ADAPTIVE SPORTS which is a huge support entity for the physically challenged. And last but definitely not least, is to bring a great array of artists to an intimate setting so that you create a one of a kind listening event. Up close and personal I like to say. It's gonna be a blast.</p> <p><strong><em>What’s the plan for the rest of 2015?</em></strong></p> <p>I will start my year with the "Mountain High Music Fest" January 14 through 18. Really looking forward to that. I'm also looking at producing an album on a group of guys I just think are phenomenal, Due West. We've written a bunch of songs and they've written a bunch and we're gonna go through them and pick out what we think works for them. It is an exciting prospect. </p> <p>And there's always my beloved "Tough Enough to Wear Pink" fundraiser in July. We've raised over $1.4 million dollars for our community, which I just think, is awesome. All the money has stayed in our community and we've worked with our hometown hospital to have one of the better small town breast cancer facilities in the country. And last but not least I'm looking a doing a new album. I haven't done one in a while and my hearts burning to be heard. </p> <p>For more information on Dean Dillon visit his website at <a href=""></a></p> Acoustic Nation Dean Dillon Gear Interviews Blogs Wed, 24 Dec 2014 04:45:57 +0000 Acoustic Nation 23178 at Luke Wade and Talks About His Experience on 'The Voice' <!--paging_filter--><p>NBC’s <em>The Voice</em> brought a fresh approach to the singing competitions on TV. </p> <p>And now in season 7 they have brought a fresh voice in Luke Wade. </p> <p>From a small town in Texas, Luke has been developing his soulful sound since he was a child – even though he didn’t pick up an instrument until much later in life. </p> <p>While most of America has learned of Luke from his time on the Voice, you should keep getting to know him through his sophomore album <em>The River. </em> </p> <p>Here Luke takes time out of his hectic schedule to chat with use about it all!</p> <p><strong><em> What a crazy trip you’ve been on these past few months. If you could sum up your experience on <em>The Voice</em> in one word what would it be?</em></strong></p> <p>Transcendent </p> <p><strong><em> Do you have a favorite performance you’ve done so far? </em></strong></p> <p>“Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran.<br /> <iframe width="620" height="349" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong><em> What is the biggest takeaway from the show? </em></strong> </p> <p>Greatness isn't greatness in a vacuum. Surround yourself with the right people!</p> <p><strong><em>What did you learn most from coach Pharrell? </em></strong></p> <p>Don't overthink, over feel.</p> <p><strong><em> You launched an album <em>The River</em> this spring. Any chance we’ll get to hear an original on the show? </em></strong></p> <p>We will be singing originals on the finale!</p> <p><strong><em> How do you approach your songwriting? And is there a song that really stands out on the album for you? </em></strong></p> <p>I tend to collect thoughts and ideas then write songs as I need them. I feel like the ideas keep better that way. “Till The Fighting is Through” is definitely one of my best.</p> <p><strong><em> You recently played a Pursuit Concert on the show. How did you discover Breedlove? </em></strong></p> <p>I needed a new guitar because mine was stolen. I went to a guitar shop, played all the guitars and walked out with a Breedlove, and that's what I've been playing ever since.</p> <p><strong><em> Why is that the guitar of choice? </em></strong></p> <p>It's a very balanced sounding and versatile guitar. It performs live and records equally well and plays in tune consistently across the entire neck. </p> <p><strong><em> What’s next for Luke Wade? </em></strong></p> <p>A van, a road, a band, an adventure. </p> <p>To check out Luke’s album or for the most up to date tour information visit <a href=""> </a></p> Acoustic Nation The Voice Interviews Blogs Mon, 15 Dec 2014 05:22:02 +0000 Acoustic Nation 23106 at Joshua Radin's "Beautiful Day" — Exclusive Interview and Song Spotlight <!--paging_filter--><p>I’ve been lucky enough to check out this gorgeous track from Joshua Radin’s new album, <em>Onward and Sideways</em>.</p> <p>Here Radin pairs with Sheryl Crow for a lovely version of his song “Beautiful Day.”</p> <p>An uplifting and inspirational song, Radin truly touches the heart with this one!</p> <p>Radin tells the story of traveling to Stockholm to be with a girl he is mad about. He spent the days while she worked lying sideways on his bed writing. He shares, "The motivation was really that when she came home from work, I wanted to have a song to play to her," he says. "That's really where they all came from."</p> <p>Radin’s <em>Onward and Sideways</em> is set for release on January 6, 2015 on Glass Bead Music. Known for his precise, gentle vocals and penchant for vivid songwriting, the 13-track LP's dynamic production shines here.</p> <p>Love and the complications surrounding it have long proven to be Radin's songwriting forte. Though he never intended to be a live performer, there was little choice when the first song he ever wrote, "Winter," was featured on an episode of "Scrubs." </p> <p>The resulting fervor around the song soon led to a record deal, and over the last decade, Radin's toured the world countless times, sold hundreds of thousands of records and topped the iTunes charts, earned raves from Rolling Stone to The Guardian, performed on The Tonight Show, Conan, and more, played Ellen DeGeneres' wedding at her personal request, and had his songs featured in more than 150 different films, commercials, and TV shows.</p> <p>For <em>Onward and Sideways,</em> his sixth studio album, Radin enlisted an all-star team of collaborators including drummer Matt Chamberlain (Elvis Costello, David Bowie), pedal steel guitarist Greg Leisz (Jackson Browne, Willie Nelson), keyboardist Patrick Warren (Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris), and producer/guitarist Tony Berg (The Replacements, Lucius).</p> <p>Here we talk to Radin about the new album and more…</p> <p><strong><em>You had some great success pretty much immediately. Did you feel pressure to continue that success? Was it hard to move forward?</em></strong></p> <p>I did feel quite a bit of pressure immediately. Most musicians have years and years to develop their sound, where I was thrust into the spotlight a mere one year after beginning to play my first few chords. I'm not complaining at all, but it was a process - i feel like I've grown up musically in front of an audience. They've seen every blemish along the way.</p> <p><strong><em>Can you tell me about the recording process for the new album? Did you try anything new?</em></strong></p> <p>I tried to use a bunch of different producers on this album, including myself. There are six producers on twelve songs. That's pretty different for me. I wanted to see if I could write a consistent album, in terms of subject matter, and then get a bunch of different perspectives from different producers to make the album sound more diverse. </p> <p><strong><em>Can you share some info about the guitars and gear that you use?</em></strong></p> <p>I pretty much stick to my 1943 Gibson J-45. It's a classic, it sounds incredible, and it's the workhorse of acoustic guitars. It sounds great when I finger-pick, but also sounds full when I bang away on it in a live setting with a rhythm section behind me.</p> <p><strong><em>Do you write and play in any alternate tunings…or are you pretty straightforward with standard tuning?</em></strong></p> <p>I wish I could say yes, but I never really play with alternate tunings. That's something I'd like to employ in the future. I see it like the final frontier and I know it will affect a lot of my songwriting.</p> <p>Check out the gorgeous “Beautiful Day” here:<br /> <iframe width="100%" height="450" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src=";auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;visual=true"></iframe></p> <p><strong><em>I love the song “Beautiful Day.” Did you think of having Sheryl sing with you on it when you wrote it, or did that come later?</em></strong></p> <p>Thank you so much! That song is definitely one of my favorites on this record. I wrote it a while ago, sitting on top of this mountain in Los Angeles, on a little backpacker guitar, and then later on, after releasing it on 'Wax Wings,' I asked Sheryl to sing on it in order to give the song new life. </p> <p><strong><em>Is there anyone else that you’d like to collaborate or perform with that you haven’t had a chance to yet?</em></strong></p> <p>So many artists. I don't even know how to choose, but if I had to pick a few I would love to collaborate with Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Tom Petty. I would love to just sit in a room and get to pick the minds of the best songwriters of the last forty years. I can't even imagine how much I'd learn. </p> <p><strong><em>What has been one of the most surprising things for you to come out of this album?</em></strong></p> <p>I would have to say finding a mentor in Tony Berg, who produced the lion's share of the album (six songs). I've never been fortunate enough to have a mentor since beginning my new life in the music world and Tony is so brilliant. I know I want to work with him on future projects, but he's also become someone I can call when I'm at a crossroad and I need advice.</p> <p><strong><em>And most importantly, did you convince the girl?</em></strong></p> <p>Most importantly, yes, I did.</p> <p><strong><em>Tell us about your involvement with Little Kids Rock.</em></strong></p> <p>It's an amazing organization. I find so much inspiration when I visit the schools in the inner-city where music programs have been cut due to lack of funding. These kids just want to be able to experience music education and so many people don't realize that fostering creativity in children helps them succeed in so many different ways later in their lives. When I bring them on stage at my concerts, and the audience applauds them, the smiles on their faces are so memorable, more memorable than anything I ever experience on tour. You can literally see their lives change in a single moment. How many kids get to have that feeling? An entire theater screaming for them. It's an amazing feeling to be a part of it.</p> <p><strong><em>You’ll be touring extensively through the beginning of 2015…any dates of performances that you’re really looking forward to, and why?</em></strong></p> <p>I'll be on tour promoting <em>Onward and Sideways</em> from January 2015 through May 2015 - all over the world. I always look forward to certain cities, of course, but mostly I look forward to just playing music in front of an audience. I'm jonesing for it at the moment as I've been off the road making the album.</p> <p>Find out more at <a href=""></a></p> Acoustic Nation Joshua Radin Interviews Blogs Mon, 01 Dec 2014 13:17:33 +0000 Laura B. Whitmore 22987 at Jimmy Herman Talks Mandolins, Touring with Carrie Underwood and More — Interview <!--paging_filter--><p>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. </p> <p>In this interview, Weber Mandolins shares some insight into this versatile artist's career and plans. </p> <p><strong><em>Where to start…you’re a multi-instrumentalist on tour with Carrie Underwood and an avid hunter but what do people not know about Jimmy Herman? </em></strong></p> <p>Well, here are a few randoms that a lot of people may not know. I grew up near a small town in Western Wisconsin called Pleasantville. I started playing fiddle at age 4. I cut my teeth on polkas and old-time fiddle tunes that I would play in my dad's band. Was President of my FFA chapter. I'm a certified taxidermist and had a full-on shop in Wisconsin that I owned and operated until I moved to Nashville. I believe I am one of the only people in Nashville that actually owns and plays a Hurdy Gurdy. </p> <p><strong><em>You mentioned you started off playing the fiddle, what got you playing all the other instruments?</em></strong></p> <p>I started playing fiddle when I was 4 and we had all sorts of instruments laying around the house and there was a music store back around home that we would visit religiously every week and they had banjos, mandolins, guitars, basses, etc. There were a couple of times I picked up a mandolin or banjo and picked out a few songs in the store and the owner would offer my dad an amazing deal on them and the next thing I knew, I had a banjo and mandolin. My parents bought me an Alan Munde banjo video and that's really how started learning 5-string banjo. </p> <p>As far as learning guitar, my dad bought an acoustic guitar on an auction that needed some serious love. He had a Mel Bay chord book and I just sat in my room and learned chords and picked around on it while listening to vinyl records and that's how I learned to play rhythm and lead guitar. The action was so high and I know for a fact he still has that guitar and the action is still crazy high. </p> <p>It really helped that I was so young when I learned all those instruments and actually had the discipline to not put them down. I didn't have the distractions we all have as adults. I was also really stubborn and determined - probably more stubborn. </p> <p><strong><em>You have many Weber instruments from a mando to arch top guitar and have a mandocello about to be completed. Do you have a favorite?</em></strong></p> <p>Yes, I cannot tell you how excited I am to get that mandocello in my hands! Every instrument that Bruce completes turns out to be not only an amazing sounding instrument, but an amazing piece of art as well. I really love the old Zeppelin records that incorporate the "not so typical" sounding instruments like the hurdy gurdy, the mandolin, and bouzouki. Even though the octave mandolin, bouzouki, and mandocello are all part of the mandolin family; they all have their own "sound" which brings it's own vibe. When combining some of those instruments together on tracks, those songs become organic. When listening to some tracks with mandocello, bouzouki, and mandolin it's almost like I can picture those instruments rising from the "gravel and moss" as they're finding their place in the track. There is so much earth and vibe in each of those instruments. I get fired up just thinking about it!! </p> <p>The Weber that I am most partial to is the "Muley" - The Black Ice Mandolin. It goes all the way back to the very first time I met Bruce in person and after a long conversation (mostly about hunting), Bruce grabbed his notebook and said, "let's design you a mandolin!" The Black Ice finish was just about to be released and I saw the gray color of the flamed back and sides and it reminded me of the grey color of a mule deer. Bruce being a hunter himself, our eyes lit up and the rest of the elements came quickly. I said if we were going to think, "mule deer," it would be cool to have deer hoof prints for fret markers. </p> <p>For the binding, I wanted to really make the mandolin different from the typical color scheme and I thought that the brown tortoise binding made me think of the brown antlers of a big mule deer buck. The final piece was the headstock design. I asked Bruce if he had ever put a deer skull in the headstock of an instrument before and he said he hadn't, so I said let's go all out and that's how the Mule Deer skull in the headstock came about. The "Muley" being born has come to be an instrument that embodies everything about my passions and me. I'm excited for everyone to see the new mandocello! It has some very cool customized surprises.</p> <p>Here Herman plays with the band Oklahoma:<br /> <iframe width="620" height="349" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> </p> <p><strong><em>You’ve been playing with Carrie Underwood for years. You must get to play some pretty amazing venues and events. Is there one that stands out?</em></strong></p> <p>I have had so many opportunities and amazing experiences! Playing Royal Albert Hall, the Sydney Opera House, and the Grammys all come to mind, but if I have to pick one I would say that getting to play the Super Bowl Pre Game in Indianapolis with Steven Tyler was probably most memorable. We had a few days of rehearsal with Carrie and Steven and we spent hours and hours running all the classic Aerosmith songs. The moment I heard that infamous scream come thru my earbuds was so surreal. There is a reason Steven Tyler and Aerosmith have been able withstand the test of time. He is a rock n roll icon thru and thru and one of the nicest guys I've ever hung out with. He's a guy that you just want to hang out with - celebrity status aside. The stories of how they recorded, "Sweet Emotion" and "Walk this Way" as we were rehearsing were jaw dropping. I was in awe for days leading up to rehearsals, I was in awe while we played the show, and now writing this, I'm still in awe. </p> <p><strong><em>Carrie was again the host of the CMA’s that just took place – what’s it like playing there year after year?</em></strong></p> <p>It is such an honor to perform at the CMA's. It is such a surreal experience just standing backstage. Seeing artists from other genres that show their respect for country music makes me feel very grateful for being a part of the industry. There definitely is a cool camaraderie between all the artists and bands that you don't see in other genres. It shows just how small the heart of the country music community is yet how very powerful this music is to be able to reach across the globe. I used to record every single CMA Award show on VHS as a kid and I would watch performances over and over and over. I was glued to the screen. Now to be one of the people performing on that very show is surreal when thinking about it. Just in that one thought brings a huge sense of accomplishment. </p> <p><strong><em>What’s next on the horizon for Jimmy Herman?</em></strong></p> <p>Well, while I will still be performing alongside Carrie I have a couple album projects that I have been milling around in my head and have worked out some arrangements for some possible cuts. I don't want to give too much away because they are still in the early stages, but I'm leaning towards getting back to my roots and recording with a more earthy vibe. Don't be surprised to hear some rock n roll riffs here and there, but there will definitely be some heavily acoustic driven tracks as well. </p> <p>My brand has really been taking shape over the last couple of years, this past year especially and I have really dived in with both feet in the hunting industry. I have a multitude of relationships with companies and some have turned into full on endorsements, which I am completely blown away by. I will be continuing to write fitness and hunting articles for several magazines and really pursue my passion for hunting along side doing what I love to do with music as well. This is the most at peace I have been with where I am at with my career and I'm really excited to just do the projects that I've always felt in my heart I needed to do, but had felt that Nashville wasn't ready for or may not be accepting of in the music community. I'm just ready to go for it. I want to live what my heart tells me I should. Create music I love to create and go on some wild adventures in extreme territories. Bring it!! </p> <p>You can check Jimmy out on tour with Michael Martin Murphey’s Cowboy Christmas Tour starting November 21st. For more on Jimmy visit his website here <a href=""></a></p> Acoustic Nation Interviews Blogs Tue, 25 Nov 2014 13:12:45 +0000 Acoustic Nation 22914 at Acoustic Fingerstylists Andy McKee, Jon Gomm and Daryl Kellie Are Blazing a Daring Style of Percussive, Alternate-Tuned Shred <!--paging_filter--><p>In the Eighties, radical fingerstylists like Michael Hedges and Preston Reed pioneered an acoustic guitar style based on an alternate-tuned, percussion-heavy, new age–tinged sound. </p> <p>Kaki King explored it further in the new millennium beginning with her 2002 debut, <em>Everybody Loves You</em>.</p> <p>Some people have dubbed the style “progressive acoustic guitar,” while others prefer “modern fingerstyle.” </p> <p><strong><a href="">Jon Gomm</a></strong>, one of its latest (and most popular) exponents, has even heard it referred to as banging, due to its practitioners’ tendency to rap, slap and knock their hands against the body of an acoustic guitar for percussive effect. </p> <p>Whatever you call it, there’s no doubt that this genre of acoustic guitar–based music is experiencing a major resurgence, thanks to the internet. In 2006, an unassuming-looking acoustic guitar teacher from Topeka, Kansas, named <strong><a href="">Andy McKee</a></strong> uploaded to YouTube a handful of videos of himself playing some original and incredibly complex instrumental acoustic guitar compositions. </p> <p>Among the many techniques he employed in these performances was the use of unique alternate tunings, percussive knocks, two-handed tapping, over-the-fretboard playing, partial capos and natural and artificial harmonics. One video in particular, for a propulsive yet ethereal tune called “Drifting,” became one of YouTube’s first viral sensations—likely because it was both melodically appealing and visually stunning—and racked up millions of views on the then-new site. </p> <p>McKee has since become the figurehead of this style of playing, and scores of exceptionally talented guitarists have followed in his wake. Many of them, such as French-Canadian fingerstylist Antoine Dufour and British picker Mike Dawes, have recorded for the Wisconsin-based independent imprint CandyRat Records, which has become known as the leading purveyor of this music. </p> <p>Like McKee, Dufour and Dawes have found much success online, partly through elaborate solo reimaginings of full-band songs, in which they recreate rhythm, lead and vocal parts on acoustic guitar. (<a href="">Dawes’ version of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know”</a> and <a href="">Dufour’s take on Imogen Heap’s “Hide and Seek”</a> have respectively registered 2.8 and 1.5 million YouTube views.) </p> <p>One of the newest and brightest entries in this realm is <strong><a href="">Daryl Kellie</a></strong> [pictured above], who created an online stir with an elegantly arranged version of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” </p> <p>Then there is Britain’s Jon Gomm, who employs a dizzying combination of extended techniques that explore the outermost reaches of the acoustic guitar. Gomm tends to play in a fluid, eight-finger, above-the-fretboard manner, and seemingly manipulates every bit of his instrument, knocking his hand against the guitar’s top, back, sides and the fretboard, scratching his nails across bridge pins, twisting tuning pegs mid-song, and using an assortment of pickups and pedals. </p> <p>Like many of his peers, he has found his greatest success on YouTube, after his signature song, “Passionflower,” went viral in 2012.</p> <p>That the online world has proved to be a vital forum for these artists is understandable, given that there is an uncharacteristically prominent visual component to what they do. Each musician’s playing style is a marvel of not only creativity and ability but also coordination. “There’s a pretty interesting visual aspect to it, with all the wild techniques,” McKee says, “which is one of the reasons I think YouTube has been such a great arena to showcase the music.”</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><em>Guitar World</em> recently caught up individually with McKee, Gomm and Kellie to discuss their unique approaches to the acoustic guitar, as well as how each cultivated his impressive technique and style. Interestingly, they all share not only a love for Michael Hedges and his ilk but also a background in heavy-metal guitar. Says Gomm, “This new acoustic movement is almost like the unplugged version of shred.” </p> <p>Adds McKee, “I think what ties the two together is the complexity of the music. When all of us guys were first getting into the guitar and wanting to learn these different techniques, metal music was the place to go, because you had guitarists doing unbelievable things on their instruments. In a way, we’ve now transferred some of that over to the acoustic.”</p> <p><strong>Andy McKee</strong></p> <p>Perhaps no musician better represents the new progressive acoustic guitar movement than Andy McKee. The 34-year-old is so much the face of the scene that some call this form of music “ ‘Drifting’-style guitar,” a reference to his most famous composition, which has notched almost 50 million YouTube views since its 2006 debut.</p> <p>At the time, McKee was giving guitar lessons around his hometown of Topeka, Kansas, and recording for CandyRat. “[CandyRat label head] Rob Poland had this idea to shoot some performance videos for this new web site called YouTube,” he recalls. “He thought, Maybe we’ll get a few new fans. So we filmed, like, eight videos in one day and put them up.”</p> <hr /> <p>One of them, “Drifting,” went viral after being featured on YouTube’s homepage, and McKee became an online phenomenon. Soon, he was accepting offers to tour with Tommy Emmanuel and record with Josh Groban. </p> <p>“I went from teaching guitar in Kansas to playing guitar all over the planet,” he says. “Which is what I always wanted to do.”</p> <p>Amazingly, “Drifting” is the first song McKee ever wrote in the style with which he has become so closely associated. He composed it when he was 18, just two years after hearing the percussive-heavy instrumental acoustic guitar work of Preston Reed. </p> <p>“When I was 16, my cousin took me to see Preston at a guitar workshop here in Kansas,” he recalls. “At the time, I was playing electric guitar and was way into Pantera and Dream Theater and Iron Maiden. Then I saw Preston and he was doing all these amazing things with just one acoustic. It blew my mind. I wanted to figure out how he was able to cover melodic, harmonic and rhythmic ideas all at once.”</p> <p>McKee also cites fingerstylists like Don Ross, Billy McLaughlin and Michael Hedges as primary influences. Of all his acoustic contemporaries, McKee’s style most closely mirrors that of Hedges, in both his use of the guitar’s body to add percussive elements and his tendency to create lush, harmonically rich soundscapes using altered tunings and droning open strings. On occasion, he plays a double-neck harp guitar, an instrument popularized by, and closely associated with, Hedges.</p> <p>Since the success of “Drifting,” McKee has become a force in the acoustic world. A few years back he created a tour called Guitar Masters, a sort of G3 for the acoustic set. He also performs upward of 100 dates each year on his own, and sometimes in front of enormous audiences, such as when John Petrucci invited him to open some arena gigs for Dream Theater in the U.S., Mexico and the Far East. </p> <p>Equally thrilling, and even more unexpected, in 2012 McKee received an offer to join Prince for a series of shows in Australia. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p>“He watched some of my videos, and one in particular, ‘Rylynn,’ [See the video above] really stood out to him,” McKee says. “He invited me to Minneapolis to jam with him and his band, and from there he brought me out on tour. And it was amazing. I would start the shows with an acoustic arrangement of ‘Purple Rain,’ and during Prince’s set I’d sit in with him and his band and we’d do a medley of his songs.”</p> <p>As for his own music, McKee has released a series of well-received albums, including his most recent, 2010’s <em>Joyride</em>. He also continues to seek out new avenues to explore with his own music. </p> <p>To that end, his new Razor &amp; Tie–issued EP, <em>Mythmaker</em>, features not only his distinct acoustic guitar playing but also a solo piano piece and an electric guitar–and-synth composition. “I’m trying some different things out and letting inspiration take me wherever it does,” McKee says. “I don’t feel like I have to write the next amazing acoustic-guitar song necessarily—I just want to write the next amazing piece of music.” </p> <p><strong>Andy McKee Axology</strong><br /> <strong>GUITARS</strong> Michael Greenfield G4.2 (fanned fret), Michael Greenfield G2B and G4B.2 (fanned fret) baritone, Michael Greenfield HG1.2 harp guitar<br /> <strong>PICKUPS</strong> K&amp;K Pure Mini<br /> <strong>EFFECTS</strong> None<br /> <strong>CAPOS</strong> Shubb S1 and S5 Deluxe (banjo)<br /> <strong>PREAMP</strong> D-TAR Solstice </p> <hr /> <p><strong>Jon Gomm</strong></p> <p>A few years back, Leeds, England–based singer-songwriter Jon Gomm was just another guitarist—albeit one with a devastatingly advanced extended technique—trying to carve out a musical career by gigging extensively across Europe.</p> <p>Then his life was changed by a single word: in early 2012, British actor and comedian Stephen Fry sent out a tweet consisting of “Wow” and a link to a video of Gomm playing his song “Passionflower” live. </p> <p>Today, that video has close to 6 million views, and Gomm has become one of the most talked-about players in the acoustic guitar scene, with fans ranging from David Crosby to Steve Vai to Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe. </p> <p>One look at any of Gomm’s many videos makes it easy to see why his playing has caused such waves. On the main melody of “Passionflower,” for example, he builds an entrancing and hypnotic rhythm pattern by, among other things, scratching, banging and knocking the body of his guitar, a Lowden he calls Wilma. </p> <p>He sounds notes, including harp harmonics, exclusively using eight-finger tapping and with both hands positioned over the fretboard, and he continually reaches behind the headstock to retune his two highest strings as they ring out, to create a synth-like effect. To top it off, he sings over the whole thing.</p> <p>But despite the practically acrobatic nature of his playing, Gomm insists that his music is not a gimmick. “Every song has to have a meaning and connect with people emotionally,” says the 36-year-old guitarist, who actually composes his lyrics first and adds instrumentation afterward. “And you can’t make that connection just by doing gymnastics.” He adds that his favorite thing about playing in this style is that “there are no boundaries. I can think in any genre I want and try to put that into the music.”</p> <p>Gomm has played many genres over the years. Early on, he schooled himself using Steve Vai’s instructional book Shred Extravaganza and later studied at the Guitar Institute in London and earned a jazz degree from the Leeds College of Music. </p> <p>Thanks to his father’s career as a record and concert reviewer for a British newspaper, he received first-hand tips and pointers as a teenager from a famous players, including B.B. King, bluesman Walter Trout and the late steel-guitar virtuoso Bob Brozman, whom he credits with turning him onto the idea of using the guitar as a percussion instrument.</p> <p>“He would flip his guitar over and play drum solos on the back of the body, which was mind blowing to me,” Gomm says. “I also had a guitar teacher who was great at flamenco, and percussive playing is a big part of that style. So while a guy like Michael Hedges was huge for me, it was probably less for the percussion thing and more for his amazing way with altered tunings.”</p> <p>Altered tunings are a big part of Gomm’s style as well. For him, it serves as a way to further unleash his creativity. “I went to guitar school, and I learned a million scales,” he says. “But if I take the guitar and just twist a few pegs, all of a sudden everything is new. Sometimes the most creative thing you can do is tune your guitar wrong and let your ears, rather than your brain, do the work.”</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p>Gomm also pushes his creative boundaries by using banjo pegs on his B and high E strings. The pegs can be set to toggle between two notes, allowing players to loosen and tighten a string’s tension to hit distinct pitches at will. </p> <p>The effect, as demonstrated by Gomm on songs like “Passionflower” and “Telepathy” (both of which appear on <em>Secrets Nobody Keeps</em>), is similar to bending a note on an electric guitar or playing with a synthesizer’s pitch wheel. On another composition, “Hey Child,” which features an overdrive-laced shredding solo, he uses the banjo pegs to create dive-bomb-like whammy-bar effects. </p> <p>“You can get really creative with them and bring your sound into so many different worlds,” Gomm says.</p> <p>Which, essentially, is how he feels about this acoustic guitar style. “There’s just so much you can do,” he says. “When I pick up an electric guitar now, it feels like a toy. The acoustic feels so much more powerful and free to me. It’s a beast of an instrument.”</p> <p><strong>Jon Gomm Axology</strong><br /> <strong>GUITAR</strong> Lowden O12-C (“Wilma”)<br /> <strong>PICKUPS</strong> Fishman Rare Earth Blend, Fishman Acoustic Matrix<br /> <strong>STRINGS</strong> Newtone signature super-heavy gauge (.014–.068)<br /> <strong>EFFECTS</strong> Three Boss PQ-3B Bass Parametric Equalizers, Boss OC-3 Super Octave, Boss DD-7 Digital Delay, Boss RV-5 Digital Reverb, Tech 21 SansAmp Character Series Blond, Line 6 Verbzilla, Line 6 Echo Park<br /> <strong>AMP</strong> Trace Elliot TA 200</p> <hr /> <p><strong>Daryl Kellie</strong></p> <p>In contrast to many of his contemporaries in the progressive fingerstyle world, Daryl Kellie’s musical proclivities and background lean more toward jazz and classical forms rather than the ethereal, percussive-heavy approach of Hedges and Reed. </p> <p>Which, in a sense, made Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” an ideal showcase for the 30-year-old’s abilities as a solo guitar arranger and performer. </p> <p>Kellie’s interpretation of the song is remarkably evocative of the original, with the guitarist employing complex chords, tapping, hammer-ons and plenty of harmonics (both natural and artificial), to great effect.</p> <p>Explains Kellie, “I’ve always come at this from a jazz-fingerstyle guitar angle, and the classical guitar thing is something I’ve always kept up as well. With that in mind, something like ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ is in a way similar to the kind of very dense arrangements you often find in classical guitar music. So arranging the song came pretty naturally to me.” </p> <p>In general, most any style of playing seems to come naturally to Kellie, who began his guitar life as a hard rock and metal fan. </p> <p>Growing up in Hampshire, England, he was an avowed acolyte of shredders like Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Eric Johnson and Eddie Van Halen (“I actually snapped the whammy bar off my Fender Squier trying to learn ‘Eruption,’ ” he says), and in his late teens he toured Britain as the lead guitarist in a “proggy, gothy” metal band named Season’s End. </p> <p>At the same time, he began cultivating an interest in jazz and classical solo guitar, studying the playing of everyone from Joe Pass to Lenny Breau (from whom he cultivated his skillful harp-harmonic technique) to Martin Taylor, who also served as his guitar teacher for a time. </p> <p>Then, in his early twenties, Kellie’s older brother gave him a copy of Andy McKee’s 2005 CandyRat effort, <em>Art of Motion</em>, which includes the songs “Drifting” and “Rylynn.” Recalls Kellie, “I thought it was amazing. I was already getting into the solo guitar thing through my jazz studies, so to see what Andy and some of the other CandyRat artists were doing, with the percussive element and all the interesting techniques, it felt like the next frontier. It was a style of guitar that seemed to be all encompassing, like you could go anywhere with it.”</p> <p>Kellie threw himself wholeheartedly into this new style, and in 2010 he self-released his first EP, <em>Don’t Expect Much</em> and <em>You Won’t Be Disappointed</em>. But it is his growing online catalog of inventively arranged cover songs that has been garnering him the most attention. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong><a href="">Exclusive Video Lesson: "Bohemian Rhapsody" Tutorial by Daryl Kellie</a></strong></p> <p>A quick search on YouTube brings up videos of Kellie tackling songs in a variety of genres, from rock classics like the Beatles’ “When I’m Sixty-Four” and the White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” to Tetris and Super Mario Bros video-game music and pop hits like Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It),” which appears, along with “Bohemian Rhapsody” on Kellie’s new, self-released full-length effort, <em>Wintersong.</em> </p> <p>“I like the idea of doing something that’s unexpected,” he explains. “If it’s the first time someone’s been to one of my gigs, they might be like, ‘Is that freakin’ Beyoncé that he’s playing?’ And I also want to show that these are great songs and there’s some interesting things going on in them.”</p> <p>The success of his “Bohemian Rhapsody” arrangement has inspired Kellie to create more covers. “I’ve been considering some Nirvana arrangements, using lots of artificial harmonics and that type of thing,” he says. “And it’d be fun to do something really ‘outside,’ like a Megadeth song, perhaps.” </p> <p>Ultimately, his goal is to keep pushing his acoustic-guitar technique into new realms. “I want to continue to learn and try new things,” he says. “I would love to incorporate techniques like tapping and harp harmonics into jazz and jazz improvisation pieces, which I don’t feel is done very much, particularly on the acoustic. I think that would be really interesting.”</p> <p><strong>Daryl Kellie Axology</strong><br /> <strong>GUITARS</strong> Gibson L-50, Taylor 810 custom, 110ce and 310ce<br /> <strong>PICKUPS</strong> Fishman Rare Earth Blend<br /> <strong>EFFECTS</strong> Electro-Harmonix Holy Grail Reverb Nano, Boss RC-30 Loop Station<br /> <strong>PREAMP</strong> BBE Acoustimax </p> <p><em>Photo (Daryl Kellie): Alex Flahive</em></p> Acoustic Nation Andy McKee April 2014 Daryl Kellie GW Archive Jon Gromm News Interviews Interviews News Features Magazine Thu, 20 Nov 2014 15:35:54 +0000 Richard Bienstock 21084 at Larkin Poe’s Megan Lovell Lap Steel Video and Exclusive Interview <!--paging_filter--><p>I went to see a band play the other day. I had no expectations…just a fun night out.</p> <p>But hoo-yeah, this band kicked ass around the corner and back.</p> <p>It was the sister-lead Larkin Poe, a band that combines rock, blues, Americana, folk and a few other elements for a rollicking set of originals. Sentimental, sassy, sweet. Their stories were fun and full of life.</p> <p>Lead by sisters Rebecca Lovell on mandolin, guitar and lead vocals and Megan Lovell joining in on lap steel and some pretty awesome vocals of her own, the band was also supported with bass and drums.</p> <p>Their latest album, <em>Kin</em> explores their rich family history and the impact it has had on their own psyches. The band takes its name from their great, great, great, great grandfather, Larkin Poe, who was a Civil War wagon driver turned historian and a distant cousin to Edgar Allen Poe.</p> <p>I was so impressed by Megan’s kick ass lab steel chops that I asked her to record some video for us. So check out this clip and then the live performance below. Then read our exclusive interview! </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="349" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p>Here's Megan live!</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="349" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong><em>What influenced you to play lap steel?</em></strong></p> <p>The first slide instrument I was introduced to was the dobro. At that time, I was taking lessons in guitar and mandolin and I couldn't seem to make headway with either of them. As soon as I saw, heard, and appreciated the slide guitar, I knew I had found my calling. I was immediately taken with the sound, versatility and almost vocal quality of the instrument. Later on, with the formations of our rock n roll music with Larkin Poe, I found the need for a grittier, electrified sound and picked up the lap steel. I'll always love the dobro, but my true passion lies in the lap steel. I love how multifaceted the lap steel can be; the sound can mimic anything from a roaring electric guitar to a whiny pedal steel. I play a 1940s bakelite Rickenbacker lap steel and I couldn't be happier! </p> <p><strong><em>How did you start using that harness and playing standing up? It’s very cool.</em></strong></p> <p>Contrary to the name of the instrument, I knew I wanted to be able to stand and play the lap steel. I had performed a couple of shows sitting down and it felt limiting and energy draining to me. I started looking for a device or stand designed for lap steel, but couldn't find anything that fit the bill. A family friend owned a steel company, so I went to him and together we designed a holder for my Rickenbacker that allowed me to stand and play comfortably. Now I can run around on stage and interact with my band mates and the audience, although I can't tell you how many people come up to me after the show to ask why I'm holding the guitar like I do ("is it so you can see the frets?")! </p> <p><strong><em>You have backed several prominent musicians on tour. Do you have a favorite moment or two you could share?</em></strong></p> <p>2014 has been an especially wonderful year in terms of collaboration! We got to tour with Elvis Costello as his backing band in the US and in Europe. Getting to sing "Alison" and "Peace, Love, &amp; Understanding" alongside one of the greatest legends in Rock'n'roll history is a pretty amazing feeling. We got to perform with Conor Oberst (of the band Bright Eyes) on David Letterman and then with Kristian Bush (of the band Sugarland) on the Today Show! We feel very fortunate to have met and forged strong allies with some truly incredible musicians.</p> <p><strong><em>Are you involved with the writing on the album? Give us some insight into your process.</em></strong></p> <p>My sister, Rebecca, and I wrote everything on <em>KIN</em> together. Before we recorded this album, it was always challenging for us to successfully write songs together as sisters. In retrospect, sibling rivalry probably had a lot to do with it. But leading up to <em>KIN</em>, we decided to buckle down and write together. Once we made the commitment, it was surprisingly easy! So much of our communication is wordless, so we can arrive at the same musical or lyrical conclusion almost simultaneously. It's effortless... Which is one of the greatest perks of being a musical collaborator with your sister. Our writing process is very much dependent on each other. I like to think of a duo writing team as a check and balance system… We perform quality control on each other's ideas. </p> <p><strong><em>How is it touring with your sister? Do you generally get a long?</em></strong></p> <p>I'd be lying if we said we never fought... 'Cause we definitely do, but it's almost always over little and unimportant annoyances. We're a team in every sense of the word and, when it comes to the big stuff, we're completely on the same page. No one has my back like my sister and vice versa. It's truly amazing to travel the world and share all these incredible experiences with someone I'm so close to. </p> <p><strong><em>Do you have a touring tip that you’d like to share?</em></strong></p> <p>One touring tip I have is to never trust a cabbie with your precious instrument! We were on tour with Conor Oberst this summer, actually on our way to play Letterman, and, against my better judgement, I let the cabbie put my lap steel in the trunk. He slammed on the brakes (New York City driving! Eek!), the lap steel went flying, and came away in two pieces. Luckily, I was able to find a replacement in time, but I'll never forget that lesson. Trust yourself and no one else. Always keep the important stuff up front with you. </p> <p><strong><em>Have you ever come across challenges being a female musician?</em></strong></p> <p>I think the greatest thrill of being a female musician is also the greatest tragedy. It's the challenge of dispelling assumptions. There has always been an underlying assumption in my experiences that girls don't play, and, if they do, they don't play as well as the boys. There's nothing sadder than being tagged as "a good player… for a girl.” There are so many wonderful female vocalists in the music industry, but a lack of truly sensational female musicians. The Bonnie Raitts and Nancy Wilsons of the world are out there, but we need more of them. It's always been so important to Rebecca and I to be empowering women role models to young girls. There's nothing we love more than to have influenced young women and girls to pick up instruments and strive to be the best… not just "good… for a girl."</p> <p><strong><em>What's next for you guys?</em></strong></p> <p>For the foreseeable future, we're going to keep touring in support of <em>KIN</em>, our first full-length album! This year has been crazy busy and we've been touring almost non-stop... and we expect next year to be the same. However, we'll make time to write new songs, experiment with different musical directions, and ALWAYS practice, practice, practice. It's a never ending challenge, and that's probably the best thing about being a musician. Who knows what's next! :)</p> <p>Find out more at <a href=""></a></p> Larkin Poe Interviews Videos Blogs Wed, 19 Nov 2014 16:46:24 +0000 Laura B. Whitmore 22904 at Sharon Isbin Talks "Troubadour" Documentary and More — Exclusive Interview <!--paging_filter--><p>Sharon Isbin is an anomaly. </p> <p>Yes, she’s a female guitarist in the classical genre, and that is very rare. But even more rare and impressive is the fact that when she saw a dearth of compositions for guitar with orchestra, she found a way to have them created. For her. By some of the top composers in the world.</p> <p>To say she is persuasive is an understatement. To say she is a precious, virtuosic and tenacious talent is not.</p> <p>Currently Isbin is celebrating the imminent release of a documentary on her life and career, presented by American Public Television and set to air in November and December of 2014. The one-hour special, titled “Sharon Isbin: Troubadour,” is a wonderful piece that artfully shares this artist’s passion for musical creation and exploration.</p> <p>Isbin has a pioneering spirit and has often found a way around obstacles and embraced genre-bending projects. </p> <p>Here we had the opportunity to talk with her about this new film, and some of her other experiences and projects as well.</p> <p><strong><em>How did this documentary project come about?</em></strong></p> <p>Well, it began about six years ago. I was invited by the composer John Williams to hear a rehearsal of his with the New York Philharmonic. I was so blown away by the videos that were accompanying his conducting. At one point, I exclaimed, “Wow, that’s extraordinary. Who did that video?” And a voice behind me said, “I did.” </p> <p>I turned around and there was only one other person in the hall because it was a rehearsal. And that turned out to be the producer Susan Dangel, who has worked for many, many years with John Williams. So we began to talk and one thing led to another and she offered to explore the idea of creating a documentary on me. Five years filming later, and another year of post-production, here we are.</p> <p><strong><em>The quality is fantastic. She definitely knows what she’s doing. </em></strong></p> <p>And the director of photography Rob Fortunato is really considered one of the top in the business. I feel very fortunate that she has had a wonderfully creative input into what she has designed and put together and that she has assembled an outstanding team in the process. The editor Dick Bartlett is an Emmy award-winning editor.</p> <p><strong><em> They did such a great job of telling your story. It was really wonderful to watch. How do you feel when you watch that?</em></strong></p> <p>I’ve seen it a lot of times now. Normally now when I go to a screening, if I’m performing after the screening, I usually go to another room and I don’t watch it. But I have really enjoyed it and it always makes me smile. It’s something that really communicates a lot of joy, and there’s a lot of humor. I remember telling Susan, “Please make it funny.” </p> <p><strong ><em> I think what struck me as interesting is that you seem to like a challenge. We’ll talk about the whole “female guitarist” thing later, but you pick an instrument that it’s a stretch to find even works for you to play, and then you...</em></strong></p> <p>What a dumb choice to pick guitar, in other words (laughs). It’s true!</p> <p><em>Watch the trailer for “Troubadour”</em><br /> <iframe width="620" height="349" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong ><em>Well, I’m guessing you didn’t realize that there weren’t many classical ensemble pieces created for that instrument when you started.</em> </strong></p> <p>I think the first composer I ever talked to about writing for me when I was 17, Ami Maayani, and his response when I said, “Would you like to write a guitar concerto for me?” He said, “A guitar – what a silly, stupid instrument. No way!” And eventually, I talked him into it after he heard me play. So I think that kind of sums up the odds that I have been facing really all my life. If you think that with the New York Philharmonic, I’m still the only guitarist they have ever recorded with. </p> <p>I had two battles in the classical world.</p> <p>I’ve had to really work to create the respect that the instrument deserves and one of the ways of doing that is getting composers who are well-established in the mainstream to write for me, and their popularity, their integrity, their claim has helped to launch the guitar into a lot of spheres it hasn’t been before.</p> <p><strong ><em>And then I love how you sort of stepped sideways, if you will, into working with Steve Vai, Stanley Jordan, some of the other artists that were in your recent album, </em>Sharon Isbin &amp; Friends: Guitar Passions<em>. Why don’t you talk about that a little bit? Was that because you needed another challenge? </em></strong></p> <p>Actually, that happened very organically. Back in the 1980s, when crossover was considered a dirty word, I was asked by Larry Coryell and Laurindo Almeida, to join them in a concert and my first thought was, “What will we play together?” And they said, “Don’t worry. We’ll make arrangements. We’ll make sure you have things to do that you can do really brilliantly and it will all work out.” </p> <p>I was a bit skeptical but the end result was so much fun that we ended up touring together for five years, making a recording, and that was really the beginning by accident of going into this other world. </p> <p>I had since worked with people like Antonio Carlos Jobim and his music, and with doing tours even with Herb Ellis and Michael Hedges, his last tour before he was killed in the car accident, and the current guitarists and musicians I’ve been working with, who are not from the classical world like Steve Vai, you mentioned, and Stanley Jordan, Nancy Wilson from Heart, Steve Morse, and for a long time, Paul Winter from the Paul Winter Consort – these are musicians I’ve been drawn to because I have enormous respect for their artistry. </p> <p>I think they’re brilliant and I can imagine how a collaboration might sound, and that’s why it really has come together.</p> <p><strong ><em> I wouldn’t say that happened by accident. I think you seem to have this open vision, so yes, perhaps, what sparked that vision was accidental, then what you did with it was no accident.</em></strong></p> <p>Well, thank you, thank you. Steve Vai, for example, we were introduced by The Recording Academy and were asked to play together on a program called “Nothing But Guitars.” We just really struck a wonderful friendship at that time and musical collaboration that has continued to this day.</p> <p><strong ><em> So, what do you see happening next? You’ve got this documentary coming out and you’ll be doing some events I saw on your site around that, but do you have some other new challenge that you might want to share?</em></strong></p> <p>Oh yes. After I promised myself no more, they are coming. And what I’m excited, too, about the documentary is that American Public Television is presenting the national broadcast this November and December, that will be carried by nearly 200 public television stations.</p> <p>Video Artists International will be releasing the documentary with bonus performance material as a DVD on Blu-ray, also sold this year. </p> <p>And the new projects coming up: the first one, Chris Brubeck, is writing a concerto for me for guitar and orchestra that I’ll premiere in April, that will be a tribute to his late father, Dave Brubeck, and uses some material from his father. They were very close and Chris is a jazz artist and composer and making quite a name for himself these days. He’s had many prestigious commissions, from the Boston Pops, to the BBC London Proms. It’s very exciting to see what’s happening for him and the work that he’s writing will incorporate his love of jazz and those influences as well as some other really interesting Middle Eastern ideas and of music that relates to his late father Dave. </p> <p><strong ><em> Well, that’s exciting!</em></strong></p> <p>It is, that will be next April. The next challenge there will be to bring that to life. </p> <p>Another composer is working with me on a piece that has been commissioned by Carnegie Hall, in collaboration with the Harris Theater in Chicago. Richard Danielpour is writing a song cycle that I’ll be premiering with one of the hot opera stars at the Metropolitan Opera, Isabel Leonard. We’re doing a lot of touring this year and next. The premiere will be a year from now.</p> <p><strong ><em> Let’s talk a little bit about you as a “female guitarist.” Does it bother you that you’re called a “female classical guitarist,” not just a “guitarist”?</em></strong></p> <p>I’m amused by it. Of course, you wouldn’t say, “and the male guitarist,” but because it’s still something of an anomaly in the music world, I think highlighting that just brings it to people’s attention that we still have a ways to go, and that it’s important to acknowledge the pioneering and groundbreaking efforts that are apart of being a woman in this business.</p> <p><strong ><em> Has it ever cause some concern for you? </em></strong></p> <p>I’ll never know the things that I don’t know. What I do know is that it has inspired me in a very positive way to be the absolute best that I can be. So that I would eliminate any question based on gender. </p> <p><strong ><em> Do you see yourself as a role model for other girls and women?</em></strong></p> <p>I do see a number of young women and girls have been drawn to become musicians, become guitarists because they tell me that I have inspired them. I am sure that there is some element of truth to that, but I think that what is important is that we really follow our passion, do something that we believe in but do it with integrity in the highest possible standards, and that good things will come from that.</p> <p><strong ><em> As I watched your documentary, there was one quote that really stood out for me. You said, “No just means try harder.”</em> </strong></p> <p>Absolutely!</p> <p>---</p> <p>Warner Classics just released a box set of five of Isbin's most popular albums on October 14. The collection brings together cornerstones of the guitar concerto repertoire by Rodrigo and Villa-Lobos performed with the New York Philharmonic; arrangements of perennial Baroque favorites; music from South America with organic Brazilian percussion and guest Paul Winter; two GRAMMY Award-winning discs: concerti by Christopher Rouse and Tan Dun (written for Isbin and featured in the documentary), and her imaginatively-programmed solo disc 'Dreams of a World.' More info: <a href=""></a></p> <p>Isbin will be touring in the U.S. for the remainder of 2014. Find out more at <a href=""></a></p> <p><em>Laura B. Whitmore is the editor of and a singer/songwriter based in the Boston metro area. A veteran music industry marketer, she has spent over two decades doing marketing, PR and artist relations for several guitar-related brands including Marshall and VOX. Her company, Mad Sun Marketing, represents Peavey, Dean Markley, MusicFirst, SIR Entertainment Services, Guitar World and many more. Laura is the founder of the <a href="">Women's International Music Network at</a> and the producer of the <a href="">She Rocks Awards</a>. More at <a href=""></a></em></p> Acoustic Nation Sharon Isbin Stanley Jordan Steve Vai Interviews Blogs Wed, 29 Oct 2014 14:26:10 +0000 Laura B. Whitmore 22703 at Manchester Orchestra’s Robert McDowell Discusses ‘HOPE’ — Exclusive Interview <!--paging_filter--><p>Atlanta’s Manchester Orchestra released their hard hitting and well-received fourth studio album <em>COPE</em> earlier this year. </p> <p>While the sounds heard on <em>COPE</em> are unapologetically heavy, the band discovered that the material seemed to work just as well (or even better) when stripped to their essence. </p> <p>"We were noticing that all the beautiful, slow stuff was working with all the really loud and fast stuff," said lead vocalist, Andy Hull. "The seed was planted to go back and create a full circle of an album."</p> <p>So last month, the band completely surprised fans with the release of <em>HOPE</em>, a startling re-imagining of <em>COPE</em>. On <em>HOPE</em>, hard-hitting distorted guitars are replaced with chiming acoustics, echoing piano and a delicate croon from Hull. </p> <p>Manchester Orchestra will take <em>HOPE</em> on the road starting this Friday, and here we chat with guitarist Robert McDowell to discuss the creation of this stripped down album. </p> <p>View tour dates below, and visit <a href=""></a> for more. Fans purchasing tickets for any date of the upcoming tour will instantly receive a digital copy of <em>HOPE</em>. The digital version of the album is available for purchase now, and it will be released on CD and vinyl on November 18.</p> <p><strong>Explain to us how the idea of <em>HOPE</em> came about.</strong></p> <p>It's something we wanted to do with some of our old records but never had the time. So when we finished <em>COPE</em> we went back into the studio and did the <em>HOPE</em> version of “Top Notch.” Then we realized that it complimented <em>COPE</em> and made the song into something really cool. So we carved out two months in between tours and dove right in to the entire record.</p> <p><strong>What was the recording process like for <em>HOPE</em> compared to <em>COPE</em>? How did you get in the mental headspace to record stripped versions of these songs?</strong></p> <p>So much of <em>COPE</em> had to do with creating the songs, then putting them on record. With <em>HOPE</em> we were lucky enough to have chords, progressions and melodies. It allowed us be in the moment and work on arrangements and production rather than picking apart a verse or bridge. Luckily we've also been making music like <em>HOPE</em> for a long time, so it was a pretty easy switch to turn in our heads.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="349" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>Are there any songs in particular that you feel work better in the stripped down <em>HOPE</em> style? Any moments during the creation of <em>HOPE</em> that were surprising?</strong></p> <p>At this point the songs feel separate to me. Each version of each song took days and days of work. So when I listen, I associate them with different experiences. When I hear <em>COPE</em> it makes me appreciate what's on <em>HOPE</em> and vice versa. We were very lucky to finish both and still be proud of all 22 songs.</p> <p><strong>Tell us about the upcoming <em>HOPE</em> tour. What can fans expect?</strong></p> <p>We are currently in the studio learning how to be the Manchester Orchestra that plays <em>HOPE</em>. So far it's been really fun. It's definitely a less abrasive sound but I think fans will enjoy hearing everything. It's exciting to play these crazy places and be able to sing off of the natural sound of each room.</p> <p><strong>Tell us about some of the acoustic guitars played on the record. </strong></p> <p>Our main acoustic guitar was a Martin DC-16GTE. Its a guitar that can cover everything. We had a DI signal, a Neumann u89 and one of our tube or ribbon mics on it at all times. Once we started adding more parts, we could choose how we wanted it to sound. Some songs have a natural sound while others we got to re-amp and really mess with the tone. </p> <p><strong>Manchester Orchestra <em>HOPE</em> Tour:</strong><br /> 10/31– Memphis, TN – New Daisy Theatre<br /> 11/04– Austin, TX – Scoot Inn<br /> 11/06– Tempe, AZ – Mesa Arts Center<br /> 11/07– Los Angeles, CA – Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever<br /> 11/08– West Hollywood, CA – Troubadour<br /> 12/03– Chicago, IL – Irish American Heritage Center<br /> 12/06– Philadelphia, PA – Temple Performing Arts Center<br /> 12/07– New Haven, CT – Center Church on the Green<br /> 12/08– Somerville, MA – Arts At The Armory<br /> 12/09– Brooklyn, NY – The Bell House<br /> 12/11– Charleston, SC – Memminger Auditorium<br /> 12/12– Durham, NC – Hayti Heritage Center<br /> 12/13– McMinnville, TN – Volcano Room of Cumberland Cavern</p> Acoustic Nation Manchester Orchestra Interviews Blogs Tue, 28 Oct 2014 12:18:07 +0000 Acoustic Nation 22686 at Platinum Rush Video Blog #1 — Sons of Bill <!--paging_filter--><p>Our first video blog features Sam Wilson of the band Sons Of Bill. </p> <p>I found the band by chance loading their gear into a truck while I was driving by. </p> <p>This is what this blog series (and upcoming movie) is all about: finding out the stories and the people behind the guitars and the songs. </p> <p>Sons Of Bill are indeed the sons of Bill, their dad, who turned them onto music by way of his guitar as opposed to radio or records. A true folk story. Enjoy!</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="349" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><em>Scot Sax knows his way around a solid pop song. The Philadelphia musician has been writing them for years, whether it was with his own bands Wanderlust and Feel, or as a purveyor of hits for singers like Faith Hill and Tim McGraw. It was Sax, in fact, who co-wrote the country duo’s Grammy-winning smash “Like We Never Loved At All.” His catchy “I Am the Summertime,” penned while with the band Bachelor Number One, was featured in the blockbuster “American Pie.” And he’s netted countless TV credits, with song placements in shows like “Ghost Whisperer,” “NCIS,” “CSI: NY” and “Keeping up with the Kardashians.” He toured as a guitarist with Sharon Little throughout North America supporting Robert Plant and Alison Krauss' Raising Sand. His filmmaking debut, the documentary "Platinum Rush," is currently being entered into film festivals worldwide and will premiere in 2015. Sax lives in Nashville with his family. </em> </p> Acoustic Nation songwriting Interviews Blogs Videos Tue, 28 Oct 2014 03:15:36 +0000 Scot Sax 22688 at The Dirty River Boys –– Exclusive Interview and Album Stream <!--paging_filter--><p>Hailing from El Paso, The Dirty River Boys are quintessentially Texas:</p> <p>A bit rough around the edges but full of heart.</p> <p>Yesterday the band releases their gnarly self-titled album, which is produced by Grammy-nominated Chris "Frenchie" Smith. </p> <p>Inspired by 200,000 miles of cross-country touring and living between two culturally different worlds in the border town of El Paso, the album was recorded at Sonic Ranch, a spot that's appropriately bordered by the Rio Grande and Old Mexico. </p> <p>The album calls to mind the band's eclectic musical influences; from the old-school storytelling of Hank Williams, to the snarl of the Rolling Stones and the punk ethos of Rancid. </p> <p>Below, we catch up with DRB’s Marco Gutierrez and Nino Cooper to find out more.</p> <p>The band has also graciously offered a full album stream of their release. If you’re a fan of whiskey-soaked acoustic fun, then this is surely up your alley. Take a listen and then be sure to pick it up the album at <a href=""></a>. </p> <p><strong>Describe what it's like to grow up in and start a band in El Paso.</strong></p> <p>Marco Gutierrez: I think growing up and starting a band in El Paso probably isn't much different than other cities. In high school you kinda realize you're a weirdo who likes rock and comic books and science fiction, so you find fellow weirdos who like rock and comic books and science fiction and all that and you hang out. You all realize that you kind of dig similar bands and everyone can kind of play an instrument, so you start a band. That's kind of how my early bands went. </p> <p>The way The Dirty River Boys formed was a little different. I wanted to get more serious about playing music and Nino and Travis were pretty much making a living doing it. We jammed together and we fit well enough that almost five years later we are still at it.</p> <p><em>Listen to a full album stream of the Dirty River Boys’ self-titled release below:</em><br /> <iframe width="100%" height="450" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src=";auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;visual=true"></iframe></p> <p><strong>Can you discuss your songwriting process?</strong></p> <p>MG: There isn't really a set process for writing. “Down by the River” and “Thought I'd Let You Know” were co-writes, with Ray Wylie Hubbard for the first, and Cory Morrow for the second. For those two songs we just sat in a quiet room with a vague melodic idea and bounced lyrics off of each other until we all felt comfortable with them. </p> <p>For the other songs on the album, CJ, Nino, Travis, or I would bring an idea to the table and we would try to work out the music to it around five minutes before a show. It is usually really throw-and-go like that. Pre-production with our producer and honorary 5th Dirty River Boy Frenchie Smith really brought the songs to life.</p> <p><strong>Speaking of Frenchie, what was it like to collaborate with him in the studio? How was your recording experience at Sonic Ranch?</strong></p> <p>Nino Cooper: Working with Frenchie was great. His enthusiasm and energy is second to none. Loved how he really truly cared about every sonic aspect of the record throughout production. I think he made me tune my guitar 1,012,119 times...but that's the kind of dedication we wanted. We wanted to make a great record. He's a great producer, and he and Sean Rolie (engineer) are an incredible team. Hopefully we will be able to work with them again on the next record.</p> <p><strong>Can you tell us about the acoustic guitars/banjos were used on the record?</strong></p> <p>NC: For acoustic guitars we used a Taylor 814ce Cocobolo Limited Edition, a Taylor 514ce and a Gibson Songwriter. The Banjo was a Deering.</p> Acoustic Nation The Dirty River Boys Interviews Blogs Wed, 15 Oct 2014 13:30:23 +0000 Acoustic Nation 22585 at