We’ve created our own, premiered some great ones, and searched out some really fabulous video finds.
Now we've looked back through 2014 to find our favorite videos from this year.
Check 'em out!
John Butler Performs "How You Sleep At Night" Live
Here's a video filmed live in the Acoustic Nation studio.
It features John Butler performing "How You Sleep At Night," from his album Flesh & Blood.
Before he started he told us this was the first time he'd played this song solo live on acoustic. I'd say this performance was not too shabby!!
The John Butler Trio's Flesh & Blood released February 4, 2014, on Vanguard Records.
Butler is one of the most successful musicians Australia has produced, with three albums reaching number one on the Australian charts. Butler was born in the United States and moved to Australia at an early age. He began playing the guitar at the age of sixteen. In 2002 Butler, along with several partners, formed their own record label. He is also an avid skateboarder and the co-founder of a grant program that seeks to improve artistic diversity in Australia where he resides with his wife and children.
Check out "How You Sleep At Night."
And check out our other video exclusives:
15-Year-Old Guitarist Sarah Command Performs Andy McKee and Joe Satriani
We recently came across the talented Command Sisters, and these young ladies kind of blew my mind.
Yes, they sing in lovely harmonies. Yes, they are talented songwriters and performers. But what really caught our eye were the undeniable guitar chops of young Sarah Command. This 15-year-old takes on original music and tackles pieces by masters like Andy McKee and Joe Satriani.
This is, in no way, meant to diminish the contribution of her sister, 18-year-old Charlotte Command, lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist. Together they are captivating; so much so that they recently won a competition sponsored by the John Lennon Songwriting Contest.
Defined as “country with soul” and “edgy/indie country-pop,” they hail from Edmonton in Alberta, Canada. The Command Sisters have already caught the attention of the Nashville scene, earning them a publishing and production deal with renowned producer/songwriter David Mallory. They have won numerous accolades and have performed on stages large and small throughout North America.
Here's Sarah Command playing "Drifting" by Andy McKee:
Here she performs Joe Satriani's "Midnight":
And here she is with Charlotte jamming on an original tune called "Runway":
Find out more at http://www.thecommandsisters.com
The Black Crowes' Rich Robinson Plays Two New Solo Songs
While Rich Robinson might be known primarily for his work with The Black Crowes, his solo work is gaining much attention these days — and for good reason.
With two solo records under his belt already, his release The Ceaseless Sight represents the full maturation of Robinson as a songwriter, a vocalist, and a solo artist.
The album was released June 3 via The End Records.
“I've always approached writing songs for an album as part of a larger work,” says Robinson. “This album as a whole is one piece and how it fits into my whole body of work is the other. My new record follows the path of my musical journey I've been on for 25 years.”
He continues, “I feel a strong connection to where I've been musically, but more importantly where I'm going."
Below, watch Robinson perform two cuts from The Ceaseless Sight live from the Acoustic Nation studio. Enjoy!
"One Road Hill"
"In Comes The Night"
Keep up with Rich Robinson at richrobinson.net.
Semi Precious Weapons Acoustic "Aviation High"
Known for their over-the-top live shows, Semi Precious Weapons pulls influences from a broad musical landscape, fusing their punk edge with high-octane dance and arena-ready pop.
And as graduates of Berklee College of Music, these guys can play, too.
SPW has risen to fame over the last couple years thanks partially to Lady Gaga, who took the band out on the year-and-a-half long Monster Ball tour.
Recently relocating from NYC to Los Angeles, the band teamed up with renowned producer Tricky Stewart, known for his work with Beyonce, Rihanna and Frank Ocean. SPW worked with Stewart writing and recording for much of 2012 and 2013, before putting the finishing touches on their third full length, Aviation.
“Working with our dream producer Tricky Stewart gave us the inspiration to use textures from all the different kinds of music we love, not just straight up rock and roll, which was really freeing,” says frontman Justin Tranter. “It made it so we didn't have rules while writing, it was just about what felt right.”
An evolution of sound, Aviation blends the band’s dance punk and future rock approach with Stewart’s powerful pop and urban influenced production. SPW recently debuted their first single from the record, “Aviation High,” which has been climbing charts since.
Below, the band treats us to an exclusive acoustic backstage performance of the song live in San Francisco, where Tranter is joined by guitarist Stevy Pyne and bassist Cole Whittle (on a Casio SK-1).
For more from Semi Precious Weapons, check out semipreciousweapons.com.
Tommy Emmanuel Does Double Duty on "Hellos and Goodbyes"
Are you seeing double? So am I!
It's Tommy Emmanuel and ... Tommy Emmanuel in a duet with himself!
If you think this might be gimmicky, think again. Emmanuel knows how to deliver an beautifully executed acoustic performance, and this one has double the goodness.
The song, "Hellos and Goodbyes," was written for the album, The Journey, which went double platinum in Australia and won the Aria award for Best Adult Contemporary Album of the Year in 1994.
According to Emmanuel, the title came to him in a dream. The next day, one of his friends called to say his father had died. His sister was in the same hospital and gave birth the same day. "Hellos and Goodbyes" indeed.
Throughout his career, Emmanuel has played with many notable artists including Chet Atkins, Eric Clapton, George Martin and John Denver. He picked up the guitar at age 4 and as you can tell, he hasn't put it down since.
Keep up with Tommy at tommyemmanuel.com.
Watch "Hellos and Goodbyes" here:
GoPro Footage of Mike Dawes Performing "The Impossible"
We've had a bit of fun with incredible guitarist Mike Dawes in 2014.
If you haven't had a chance to check out our exclusive interview or, my favorite, Dawes' one-handed harmonics lesson, please do!
We couldn't resist mounting a GoPro camera on the headstock of Dawes' guitar as he played his original composition, "The Impossible."
We're sharing two versions here, one with a split screen so you can see him straight on and from the neck down, so to speak. This angle gives us an interesting view of his left-hand fingering and right-hand pyrotechnics.
Check 'em both out! Find out more about Dawes at mikedawes.com.
Here's the split-screen video with traditional camera on the right and a GoPro mounted to the headstock on the left:
Here's a version with just the GoPro footage. I think this is freaky enough that I want to see it on the full screen!
Iron Horse Perform Bluegrass Version of Metallica's "Enter Sandman"
Below, check out a video of an Alabama bluegrass band named Iron Horse covering Metallica's "Enter Sandman."
The track is from the band's latest album, Fade to Bluegrass: The Bluegrass Tribute to Metallica, which was released in mid-October 2013 by CMH Records.
Here's some info from the press material:
"Metallica’s thundering drums, heart-pounding guitars and anguished vocals tell the story of people lost in the hustle of modern society. Bluegrass music sings the tale of people stuck between heaven and hell, the farm and the city and love and hate.
"In many ways, Metallica and bluegrass are brothers, one raised in the urban jungle and the other in the country. So what happens when these two estranged siblings get together? Here's the answer. Banjo and mandolin replace electric guitars, and high lonesome harmonies soar in place of growling vocals to create a surprising and moving tribute."
What's truly satisfying is that this is a convincing bluegrass performance with some fine playing by everyone in the band (Note: The guitar solo starts at 1:50) and powerful vocals. These guys are the real deal, and this is not some slapped-together "cute" tribute album.
Fade to Bluegrass: The Bluegrass Tribute to Metallica Track Listing:
- 01. Unforgiven
- 02. Nothing Else Matters
- 03. Enter Sandman
- 04. Hero Of The Day
- 05. Fade To Black
- 06. One
- 07. Ride The Lightning
- 08. Wherever I May Roam
- 09. Fuel
- 10. The Four Horsemen
Luna Li Performs Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan on the Gayageum, a Traditional Korean Instrument
Check out these videos of a young woman — Luna Lee — performing iconic tracks by Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan on the gayageum, a traditional Korean zither-like instrument.
The gayageum has 12 strings, although some variants have been made with 21 strings. It is probably the best-known traditional Korean musical instrument. (Thank you, Wikipedia!).
First, she tackles Vaughan's "Scuttle Buttin'," followed by Hendrix's "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)." Chances are Luna's a Vaughan fan, since both of these songs appear on his 1984 album, Couldn't Stand the Weather.
For more gayageum videos by Luna, head here. She also covers Hendrix's "Bold As Love" and a few tracks by acoustic guru Tommy Emmanuel.
Guitar Republic, “Funky Sexy Republic”
Here’s a kick ass performance by the acoustic guitar masters of Guitar Republic, “Funky Sexy Republic.”
I can’t stop watching!
Employing every technique you can think of—tapping, plucking, bowing, strumming, and more — this trio of Sergio Altamura, Stefano Barone and Pino Forastiere give it their all!
Hailing from Italy, this trio continues to lend their unique talents to guitar exploration together and individually.
Prepare for some awesomeness here:
Kelly Zullo, "When We Get There"
Check out this sick acoustic guitar assault by Kelly Zullo.
It’s the song “When We Get There” from the upcoming January 2015 release.
Here Zullo uses some speedy finger work and hard hitting right hand technique while she sings at the same time. It’s kinda like tapping you head and rubbing your belly on fast forward.
But she makes it look easy.
Zullo shares these thoughts about the song, “Its perspective is based on how we are always striving to either get to our goals, heaven, hell (?) or someplace that will be the reward for our work and development. Essentially, however, we may get there and actually be ‘nowhere.’ Or greater yet, find that this is ‘there.’ It’s meant to convey our yearning for something more solid and stable, over a speedy and complex guitar riff, which is normally the pace of our lives. The verse is a blues meets bluegrass riff and the chorus is a percussive arpeggio of the chords.”
Check it out here:
Recorded at Natalie’s Coal Fired Pizza & Live Music in Columbus, OH on August 26, 2014, Kelly Zullo & The Phunkgrass’ live and honest CD features real time musicianship and crowd rapport. The high energy acoustic guitar stylings of Zullo, violin of Kristen Peters and upright bass contributions of Daniel DeSantis make up the trio formed in Columbus, OH.
Their energetic performance fuses a fast acoustic funk approach to guitar with the purity of what is traditionally a bluegrass accompaniment. The award winning song “Firecracker” is performed with Columbus mega-guitarist Jim Volk.
Find out more at www.kellyzullo.com
Here's a surprise in the best possible way!
Jinx's new single "Alive" expertly combines hip-hop, pop, and acoustic guitar for this ebulliently triumphant song. Clappin', slappin', rappin' and acoustic guitar. And some excellently positive lyrics. I simply love everything about it.
You'll need to wait a few seconds for the awesomeness to kick in. But don't give up!
This video for the song was directed by Jon Jon Augustavo, who directed Macklemore's "Thrift Shop," "Can't Hold Us," and "Same Love" music videos.
For updates, please visit: http://www.jinxuniverse.com/
Eliot Bronson, “Just Came Back To Tell You I’m Leaving”
We caught up with singer-songwriter Eliot Bronson in Nashville, TN.
Scheduled to perform later that evening at The Basement, Bronson was gracious enough to give us this special performance in a park across the street from the venue.
Here, the Atlanta, GA-based artist plays us “Just Came Back To Tell You I’m Leaving,” a fiery track from his recently unveiled self titled album.
Produced by Dave Cobb (Sturgill Simpson, Rival Sons, Jason Isbell, Nikki Lane), Eliot Bronson is a vibey, ten-song collection with an uncluttered production aesthetic that highlights Bronson’s songwriting and his achingly beautiful vocals.
Check out “Just Came Back To Tell You I’m Leaving” below and stay tuned for one more live video.
Bronson has a busy tour schedule this fall, and you can view dates and more at www.eliotbronson.com
Metallica Bassist Robert Trujillo's Classical Guitar Chops
OK, so you might be asking yourself, “Why is a metal bass player being featured on Acoustic Nation?” Wait for it.
By now we’re all convinced Robert Trujillo is a monster bassist. The job of providing the low end in Metallica — a band known for their lineage of fantastic bass players — is no easy task. But Trujillo delivers.
What you’ll discover today, however, is that Trujillo’s musicality stretches beyond the bass. That’s right, we’re talking classical guitar maestro over here.
Below, check out Trujillo’s natural flamenco-style playing; it seems guitarist James Hetfield is pretty surprised as well. This footage is included in Metallica’s Making Magnetic DVD.
Trujillo, along with Hetfield and guitarist Kirk Hammett (who, as Hetfield jokingly jabs “is in jeopardy of losing his job”), proceed to work on a song spawned from Trujillo's riffing.
A lover of flamenco guitar, Trujillo has been seen on stage jamming with classical guitar virtuosos Rodrigo y Gabriela. Perhaps another video for another time.
See what Metallica is up to at metallica.com.
Fatai's Acoustic Cover of "Chandelier"
Here is a lovely acoustic version of the pop song “Chandelier,” originally performed by Sia.
This sumptuous version by Fatai gives new meaning to the song, infusing it with heartfelt longing supported by some sweet fingerstyle guitar.
Fatai Veamatahau is from Melbourne, Australia and was a semi-finalist of "The Voice Australia 2012."
This very talented musician is now signed to Universal Music Australia - Mercury Records.
Fatai began singing professionally with her family from the age of seven. In 2009, she began a solo career, singing to audiences at various festivals and community events
Find out more at https://www.facebook.com/FataiMusic
Rodrigo y Gabriela, "The Soundmaker"
Hopefully by now you’ve watched our exclusive interview with acoustic guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela.
In the 3-part series, Guitar World’s Jimmy Brown chats with Rod y Gab about songwriting, gear, and their latest release, 9 Dead Alive.
Perhaps their most explosive and thrilling release to date, the record captures Rodrigo y Gabriela bursting with melodic and rhythmic invention.
Opening track “The Soundmaker” is evidence of this raw energy.
Below, be treated to an exclusive performance of the song, right from our studio!
Check out 9 Dead Alive tour dates and much more at rodgab.com.
Trevor Hall “Wish Man”
Singer songwriter Trevor Hall surprised his fans with the sudden release of his 12-track album Chapter of the Forest on June 17.
And now the wonderfully good surprises continue!
This one is a live acoustic video filmed at DeathStar Studios in Los Angeles. In it, Hall shares the story behind the song and then performs a live solo acoustic version.
This soul searching song easily showcases Hall’s talent as a songwriter. But what I truly love is that this performance is somewhat Springsteen-like in its urgency and heartfelt intensity.
Hall shares, “"Wish Man" is about being in the here and now. It's about recognizing the hidden angels of the earth and seeing the Divine in all people.”
View it here:
Stevie Ray Vaughan “Lost Acoustic Blues”
If you want to see or hear Stevie Ray Vaughan playing acoustic guitar, you have limited options.
There's his 1990 MTV Unplugged appearance, his posthumously released recording of "Life by the Drop," "Oreo Cookie Blues" (a 1985 Lonnie Mack recording) — and, well, maybe a few other dribs and draps here and there.
Which is why this recently posted clip of Vaughan — you never see his face in the video, but come on — playing 12-bar blues in E (of course, it's really in Eb) on a six-string acoustic guitar is pretty special. The clip is titled "Lost Acoustic Blues."
According to the info posted along with the video, the source is a 1987 French radio and TV interview. The clip was posted to YouTube in May 2013. Sorry we didn't notice it till now!
And speaking of "Oreo Cookie Blues," check out a live clip of Vaughan and Mack performing the slow-blues piece in the mid-Eighties (bottom video). You can find the original studio recording of the tune on Mack's Strike Like Lightning album. For more about Vaughan's many guest appearances, check out The Top Five Studio Guest Appearances by Stevie Ray Vaughan.
LP, “Night Like This” Backstage Video
We had the privilege of hanging with the supremely talented LP backstage at the Warfield Theater in San Francisco.
And of course, we jumped at the chance to catch a live performance of her new, fabulous song, “Night Like This."
From her new album Forever For Now, this song exemplifies the core of LP’s creative genius – equally superb as a solo ukulele performance or with full production.
Check out our exclusive video here. And tomorrow, we’ll be posting a video that shows YOU how to play this song!!
Find out more at iamlp.com
Taylor Guitars' Andy Powers Performs "Light of Day" on Six New 800 Series Guitars
Taylor Guitars master builder Andy Powers is not only a revolutionary guitar designer, but a skilled player as well.
Below, he demonstrates the unique sounds and textures of six new 800 Series models.
While all 800 Series models share fundamental tonal qualities, according to Taylor, "each body style features unique design nuances that accentuate the guitar's sonic strengths."
The video below is an ideal way to hear these nuances. While the 818e's Grand Orchestra shape offers a big, full sound for open chords, a model like the 812ce 12-Fret possesses a slightly darker, punchier quality that's well-suited for melodic work.
Watch below as Powers demonstrates these models, as well as the 814ce, 816ce, 812ce and 810e.
If you're looking to get your hands on one of Taylor's new 800 Series guitars, this video is a great place to start!
Find out more about the new 800 Series at taylorguitars.com
Jake Shimabukuro “Ukulele 5-0” and “Dragon”
You might think that ukulele is just a simple instrument perfect for strumming little ditties. I did.
But Jake Shimabukuro proved me wrong!
Perhaps best known for his renditions of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” and George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” on ukulele, Shimabukuro can be described as no less than a master musician.
Recently he released a concert DVD, Grand Ukulele: Live in Boulder, that showcases his live performance prowess.
Recorded live at the Boulder Theater in Colorado, the DVD features material from Jake's 2012 album Grand Ukulele, which garnered praise for its “intricate originals and shrewdly arranged pop covers” (NY Times). I agree. After checking it out myself, I found it pretty fabulous.
We were lucky enough to spend some time with Jake recently in the Acoustic Nation studio, where we talked, he played and we even jammed for a minute or two!
Here, let Shimbukuro blow your mind with these incredible in studio live performances:
Here he plays his original, “Ukulele 5-0”
Check out his song “Dragon.” Here he uses some effects pedals and a looper. Incredible!
Shimabukuro is currently touring widely. Check out his tour schedule and more at http://jakeshimabukuro.com