Saturday, December 29, 2012

I Remember That Guy

There are and have been many great guitarists in the history of rock. Some, like Clapton, Page, Hendrix, and Allman, are very well known and tend to get most of the ‘ink’.  Others, while recognized for their abilities, are sometimes relegated to the status of ‘oh yeah, I remember that guy’, and are rarely mentioned in discussions of the so-called ‘greatest’.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

How Do You Start A Band?

How long have you been playing guitar? How long have you sat in your house and jammed along with records/CD’s? How long have you wanted to be in a band? What are you waiting for? If you are a guitar/bass player and you have never been in a band, then you need to drag yourself out of the house and get playing live.

The usual excuses go something like this: 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Quiet Beatle

The Beatles were one of the biggest acts in pop, and rock and roll history. They were four young men from Liverpool who set the word on fire with their unique brand of music. All four were very good musicians; they sang great harmonies, and they wrote great songs – songs that still resonate today, more than forty years after they broke up. Although they conquered the world together, there is little doubt that John Lennon and Paul McCartney received most of the attention.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Where Do I Start?

Most musicians reach a point at which they want to record their music. It may just be playing their instrument to record ideas for future songs, or they may want to record entire songs. Whatever the case, it can be difficult to know where to start to accomplish this goal.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Appearing Tonight

I saw my old friend Rupert's face looking at us from a poster mounted under the lighted "Appearing Tonight" sign. The heavy wooden door opened and we were greeted by a dual blast of warm air and loud rock music.  Frank turned to me with a grin and handed me two foam rubber earplugs.  Our names were supposed to be on the guest list and somehow, despite the noise, Frank communicated that fact to the doorman. He checked his list, examined our identification and motioned us inside.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Cluster Pluck

Extremely fast guitar players, often known as ‘shredders’, are usually most closely associated with rock or metal music. Rarely, do we think of country pickers in that light, but there are a number of country guitar slingers who can hold their own with the best in any genre. One of the best examples of country shredding is the Brad Paisley Grammy winning tune ‘Cluster Pluck’, featuring Brad and seven hired guns showing off their chops.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Master of the Telecaster

James Burton has played lead guitar for a King, a TV son, a country boy, an ‘Okie’, and a ‘Hot Band’ leader. He is a member of the Rock and Roll and the Rockabilly Halls of Fame; was a key member of a legendary Los Angeles studio group, and continues to be one of the most respected ‘hired guns’ in the music business.

Saturday, August 11, 2012


Music fans have their favorite bands and/or performers – sometimes it’s a group or performer that no one else seems to know about. You have heard their music, and you think they are (or were) great, yet the rest of the world doesn’t seem to have noticed. For me, there are four such acts – performers or groups that produced some of my favorite songs, yet they seemed to make little impact on the music business and the record/cd buying public.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Minstrel of Guelph

Amy McCann
Every so often, you discover something new – something that strikes you as special and unique. The first time I saw an Amy McCann video, I knew I had seen something exceptional. This Canadian born singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, performer, and teacher, produces some of the best original and cover song videos on the Internet. What elevates her to a higher level is the way that her personality, her outlook on life; her heart, and soul come through so strongly and clearly in her music.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Best and the Worst-Triumph and Tragedy

Joey Molland, Tom Evans, Pete Ham,
and Mike Gibbins
They were a band that enjoyed the best and endured the worst. They had four hit songs in a row after signing a recording contract with The Beatles’ Apple Records; two members wrote a song that became a number one hit for another artist. They wrote the songs, and they were protégés of the biggest band in the world. The group known as Badfinger had everything going for them – they were on top and perfectly positioned to stay there for a long time. Then it all came crashing down.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

A Fallen Angel

Courtesy Debbie Flowers photos
He was a Byrd, a Flying Burrito Brother, and a Fallen Angel; a singer, guitarist, songwriter, and a theology student at Harvard University. He had a smooth, pleasant, melodic voice, an ability to write songs, and the charisma to influence others. Rolling Stone Magazine named him #87 on their list of The 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Guitar Snob

I admit I had always been a bit of a guitar snob. That is, I was caught up in the brand name thing, thinking that if it wasn’t a Gibson, Fender, Gretsch, etc., then it couldn’t be any good. It took me years to figure out that being a snob is not a good thing. Once I figured that out, it opened new possibilities, especially when it came time to search for an inexpensive acoustic guitar.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Jingle Jangle

Roger McGuinn is one of the pioneers of folk and country rock. He has worked as a session musician, a songwriter, and he has been one of the most unique guitar performers in popular music for nearly 50 years. His ringing 12-string Rickenbacker is the hallmark sound of the folk rock era – the jingle jangle sound and hybrid picking style that combined, are unmistakably his own. While others have used electric 12-string guitars, and still more have used the hybrid picking style, McGuinn’s work – especially with the Byrds – stands out as unique in rock history.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Vanderbilly, International

There is an international ‘city’ that hosts an incredible music scene. Everywhere you turn in this place you can hear rock, blues, country, heavy metal, folk, classical – just about every kind of guitar music known to man. One of the great things about this place is the free guitar lessons. You can find lessons on how to play songs, lead guitar parts, theory, and much more. There are lessons for any level of guitar player – it doesn’t matter if you are just starting out, or if you have played for years and are just looking to broaden your guitar knowledge.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A Notch Above

One of the best bands to emerge in recent years is made up of musicians who had not met before they began playing together. Even after filming a number of excellent videos, some of them have still not met in person. The band is called ‘Virtual Zeppelin’, and they do Led Zeppelin songs so well that it is difficult to tell the difference.