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September 20, 2002
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The best guitarist you never heard in your life. Shawn Lane is an underground hero in guitar circles. Born 1963 in Memphis Tennesee, he joined Black Oak Arkansas at the age of 13 , beat Ted Nugent in a cutting contest, and made Billy Gibbons fall off his bar stool. Shawn now plays with the Jonas Hellborg Trio - Windows media clip here. I admit that fusion and guitar heroics are not to everyone's liking. But, if you like this kind of thing, you must agree that this guy is the the real deal.
posted by crunchburger (19 comments total)

 
*warning*

to quote the censored samuel l. jackson in the TV version of die hard 3 ...

that's one huge melon-farming .wmv clip - 107.01MB
posted by bwg at 11:45 PM on September 20, 2002


The best guitarist you never heard in your life.

Quite possibly. He has very impressive technique. Though he's got nothing on Johnny in terms of creativity. Thanks for the link, crunchburger.
posted by epimorph at 1:47 AM on September 21, 2002


... but could he beat Ralph Macchio in a guitar duel? I'm not so sure...
posted by ph00dz at 7:03 AM on September 21, 2002


They played against the Devil in a "greatest band ever" contest but this isnt the greatest band ever its just a band about it.

Heres a more bite-size 100k stream link
posted by stbalbach at 7:09 AM on September 21, 2002


This guy is not bad, but I think that McLaughlin and DiMoela are better. Also, he needs a bigger band. Maybe if he had a bigger band I'd find him more effective. I don't find theres much to this music, besides Lane's soloing. Don't get me wrong, he's good but the band seems a little bit too much like a tool that allows him to show off.
posted by rift2001 at 8:36 AM on September 21, 2002


Many people, including folks like Chet Atkins who should know, consider the late Lenny Breau to be the best guitarist you never heard of. I never heard of him either, until several musicians I was interviewing here in Maine (at different times) told me about playing music with him during Lenny's strange and fascinating life.
posted by LeLiLo at 9:38 AM on September 21, 2002


I thought the piece posted at the ...what the heck is that guys name - jimi johnson? The Survivor singer.... Anyway - that was some early 90's dreck if I have ever heard it - I sat through it waiting for some colossal solo and jeezus... a fade-out at the end with a "eh" solo.

I wanted to hear something better..... seems this fellas weight problem might be an issue. I wonder why he is playing in some Memphis bar band if he is so great....

Good link - informative, provoked my curiousity. I hope to find more links to show the fellas technique mp3 wise.

I , am not a guitarist , but to hear a good one is cool every now and then.

Joe Pass is one of my all time favorites - listen to THOSE runs on an acoustic!
posted by RubberHen at 9:39 AM on September 21, 2002


I wonder why he is playing in some Memphis bar band if he is so great....

Because he's "the best guitarist you never heard." There's only so good you can be and not be heard, you know, and if you're only that good, you end up playing in some Memphis bar band.
posted by kindall at 2:09 PM on September 21, 2002


lelilo - you're my hero for the rest of the year for mentioning lenny's name. he was a true genius and one of my dad's most beloved friends and colleagues. it's funny, because we were just talking about lenny on friday morning - someone sent my dad a recording of a gig they (bill graham trio - my dad, lenny, ian gardner) played in winnipeg circa '69 at the ting coffee house. sounds brill over the phone, can hardly wait to hear it on my stereo.
posted by t r a c y at 2:29 PM on September 21, 2002


not impressed. sorry.
posted by fore at 2:30 PM on September 21, 2002


t r a c y: I'd settle for being somebody's hero for the rest of the weekend. I've heard more about Lenny Breau in Maine, but I knew his biggest fan comes from Winnipeg, Randy Bachman, who hung out with Lenny during their teenage years (and who of course grew up to be part of The Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive). His record label Guitarchives started as a tribute to Breau.

Bachman: "You can talk to anybody, I don't care if it's Steve Vai or Joe Pass (when he was alive) or Tuck Andress or Michael Hedges... they all bow and smile and say, "Yes, we owe that to this guy...."
posted by LeLiLo at 3:39 PM on September 21, 2002


To me, it's not about technique -- it's about generating interest. I know a lot of decent guitarists who I rank well above guitar gods like Kerry King, Joe Pettrucci, and the like.

Skill is one thing -- making it appealing is, to me, what makes someone 'great'.
posted by Dark Messiah at 5:00 PM on September 21, 2002


This is better.
posted by dydecker at 5:44 PM on September 21, 2002


I could smoke all these guys~!
posted by mcsweetie at 9:27 PM on September 21, 2002


lelilo - you didn't even last my fickle weekend, as soon as miguel posted that thread about flamenco you were bumped :-D i always forget that lenny's family was from maine, because he spent so much time in canada and is so much part of my childhood memories. and yah randy... the best thing about randy is how much he loves lenny.

Dark Messiah - i agree to a point... musical proficiency is next to worthless if it doesn't also come with some deeper personal attributes. but being able to generate interest doesn't count for a lot when you consider how many shite bands/groups appeal to a vast audience.
posted by t r a c y at 10:12 AM on September 22, 2002


This says it all.
posted by stbalbach at 4:55 PM on September 22, 2002


I'm not going to check the rather massive video link, so just sum it up for me; what sort of guitar hero is this guy?

a) Ywingie Malsteen / Steve Vai (ie. masturbation rock)
b) Johnny Marr / Kevin Shields (ie. actually listenable)

If the answer is (a) - sorry, someone should have put these guys out of their misery in 1976.
posted by Jimbob at 5:23 PM on September 22, 2002


Jimbob - more like Allan Holdsworth. Lots of wide intervals and sheets-of-sound stuff. Sometimes with a very nice lyrical bent, but there is indeed an element of wankery. I mean you get the point that 'I can play as many notes as I want' a few minutes into the solo. Guitar players seem to do this more that say, saxophonists or pianists.

If Johnny Marr is your main man, I don't think you'd like it. I love this stuff, but I wouldn't want to hear nothing but chops-heavy improv. BTW, sorry about the massive link, folks.
posted by crunchburger at 11:30 PM on September 22, 2002


"Don't get me wrong, he's good but the band seems a little bit too much like a tool that allows him to show off." [Rift2001]

--This is terribly far off - but perhaps is a forgivable product of limited exposure to these musicians. Although I think Lane is talented (and certainly in terms of technique), Hellborg is absolutely devastating all preconceptions of how the instrument is played, and Sipe (Apt. Q-258) is one of the perhaps five most fluid and astonishing drummers on the planet. In short, the rest of "the band" is ridiculously musically able both in technique and in musical conception.

"I mean you get the point that 'I can play as many notes as I want' a few minutes into the solo. Guitar players seem to do this more that say, saxophonists or pianists" [Jimbob]

--This is only true of rock music which for some reason after initially preferring piano in the fifties, ever since has favored the rock guitar hero. Bass players, drummers, pianists, etc., generally are supposed to play little for some reason that is unspecified.

"There's only so good you can be and not be heard, you know, and if you're only that good, you end up playing in some Memphis bar band" [Kindall]

--This is preposterous of course. In fact, the inverse is true: if you are well-known, there is only so good you can be. The best musicians are those you've never heard of- just as a few examples that spring immediately to mind: Harry Sokal, Steve Grossman, Charles Gayle, Alexander Von Schlippenbach, Ivo Perelman, Don Pullen (in jazz)...Kun Woo Paik, Alberto Ginastera, Moritz Moszkowski (in "classical"), and for that matter Hellborg types (in jazz-rock) - these are just the ones that fly off the tongue - will never be well known but will always be substantially better than those that are well-known. There are reasons why Kenny G is a household word and Harry Sokal is not. Same goes for Hellborg, Sipe, Lane.

Chaso
posted by Chaso not Chaos at 1:18 PM on September 24, 2002


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