Black Dog in the Sky; Final Moments of the Universe; The Vile Stuff; Wooden Bag; Poor Old Horse: some songs by the English (specifically Geordie) singer & guitarist Richard Dawson. ‘[A] distinctly English folk equivalent of Captain Beefheart’s deconstruction of the blues,’ opines The Guardian, of his recent album Nothing Important. ‘Syd Barrett’s freewheeling poetry teamed with the guitar strangle of Eugene Chadbourne or Derek Bailey’ hazards Rolling Stone. Of his own work, Dawson has said ‘I have come to think of it as ritual community music. Perhaps you could call that folk music, but it is certainly not in the folk tradition. I hope it belongs to part of a wider tradition of north east artists, people like Jospeh Crawhall, Jack Common, Basil Bunting, John Martin and Peter Beardsley.’
Soleá follows an aspiring flamenco guitarist around the streets of Sevilla. "Ten years playing for dancers, ten years playing for singers, and, afterward, you can begin to become a soloist." A short video from The New Yorker (alt link).
“Select a note,’’ [Robert Fripp] told them, “and then, in silence, establish a relationship with that note. Keep it within you until you can no longer contain it and must give it voice.’’ "Surviving a Weekend with the Wizard of Prog Rock"
If you've encountered delicately uplifting chimes and bells or a singing saw, seen the contributions of a string quartet in a Sigur Rós video, heard the last recording by Lee Hazlewood and noticed the gentle singing and music, or listened to Yukihiro Takahashi consider words, then you've possibly encountered the Icelandic band amiina. [more inside]
We wanted to create something quite muscular and meaty. I was getting a little disenchanted with boring wet music. I wanted something with some kind of punch to it ...Esben and the Witch formed in 2008 after neophyte guitarist Thomas Fisher bumped into old friend Rachel Davies on the street in Brighton and asked if she'd like to be in a band. Together with multi-instrumentalist Daniel Copeman, they started making a kind of bruised, ghostly electro goth-pop that drew comparisons with dubstep and witch house. Then things changed. Their third album, A New Nature, recorded with Steve Albini after a successful Kickstarter campaign, sees the band step away from their electro-pop origins, combining English-major Davies' lyrical obsessions with Herman Hesse and Jack London with the band's love of uncompromising noise, psych, and transcendent post rock. A New Nature, released last month, can be streamed via Stereogum.
You can read on Buddy Emmons' Wikipedia page how by the age of 19, he had already mastered and redesigned the pedal steel guitar, slowly turning it into the instrument whose sound we are all familiar with, in one form or another. You can read on his website how his peers revere him, and how he gives back to the community whom he's profoundly influenced. (Or, watch a 100-minute concert and tribute.) But perhaps it's just best to marvel at The Big E as he backs up legends in their own right; on television in 1965; how he destroys the world in a 1970's Redneck Jazz Explosion (with Danny Gatton, previously); in the mid-'80's with the Lawton Jazz Kicks Ensemble; at the 1988 British Steel Guitar convention; at the at the 1997 International Steel Guitar Convention; and in 2007, the year he retired. Or just messin' around with Nashville's top session musicians or reinterpreting the classics. There's also a great AskMe thread of Pedal Steel Guitar recommendations, if you want to hear more.
A video of the Guitar Center store in Times Square. As per the video description, "36 seconds of hell on earth".
Weeping, wailing Japanese politician inspires copycat guitarist to dizzying heights of emotional expression.
Ry Cooder and Corridos Famosos: Live "From this rich catalog, Cooder cherry-picked only a dozen songs to include on Live but they’re fairly representative of his eclectic oeuvre. His picks also feature plenty of his guitar playing, which will please fans who felt (as I sometimes did) that his recent albums were a bit stingy with his greatest asset. " "The shows also were a family affair. The Corridos Famosos include Ry’s son Joachim on drums, Joachim’s wife Juliet Commagere on vocals, and her brother Robert Francis on bass, as well as an old friend and collaborator, Flaco Jimenez, the Tejano accordionist who was at Cooder’s side when he played this venue 34 years earlier. Terry Evans, another veteran of the 1977 shows, handles backup vocals, along with Arnold McCuller, filling in for Cooder’s other longtime singing partner Bobby King." Don't miss the clip at the end of the review. [more inside]
Joe Pass and Ella Fitzgerald play duets in Hannover in October, 1975. Alternate, longer version with better annotations and video quality but also more audio hiss. Fitzgerald, Pass, and a full band at Ronnie Scott's in 1974.
Finnish jazz pianist + beat boxer + guitarist = Iiro Rantala's Shit Catapault. Equal parts hilarious, bouncy, groovy, and unexpectedly moving.
Henry Hey did it to Bush and Palin. Drewsif Stalin did it to the "Have you ever had a dream?" kid. And now Dan Weiss has done it to auctioneer Ty Thompson. There's music in people's words.
John Bisset & Ivor Kallin celebrate something or other, are happy, but occasionally do I'm not sure what. [more inside]
See string svengali Eddie Peabody drive three count 'em THREE ladies crazy with his smooth-as-silk strumming on three count 'em THREE exotic instruments: Strum Fun, for sure! And not only was ol' Eddie a suave lady's man, he was surely one of the best violinists (when it comes to bird calls, anyway) of his day! And what say we drop in and watch the wild and crazy guy strutting his stuff, doing a bit of crooning, banjo picking, toy-violin sawing and who knows what else, with His College Chums. We'll close it out with Eddie and the Beachcombers, as the irrepressible picker and grinner demonstrates some newfangled *electrified* instruments! Thanks, Eddie, and keep on plucking, baby!
Bob Brozman, the undisputed master of the National Resonator Guitar, has passed away at age 59. Ethnomusicologist, virtuoso fingerpicker, musical historian, and anarchist philosopher Bob Brozman fell in love with National’s metal body resonator guitars as a teenager and made them his life’s passion. [more inside]
Speedy West and Jimmy Bryant recorded together during the first half of the 1950s. Listen to Speedy on the pedal steel and Jimmy on the Fender telecaster on the Hometown Jamboree playing Flying High. [more inside]
''Les Paul Echo Guitar'' -- Carl Perkins and George Harrison, a clip from A Rockabilly Session with Carl Perkins and Friends [more inside]
The Ceiling Janus. Just a beautifully designed ceiling-mounted rotating speaker, for instant room-filling psychedelia at the turn of a knob. [more inside]
100 Riffs (A Brief History of Rock N' Roll). A continuous stream of popular guitar riffs in a single take, sync'ed to tablature. Made with soundslice.
Ry Cooder and the Moula Banda Rhythm Aces - Let's Have A Ball, a film by Les Blanks
This is the complete show from the Catalyst in Santa Cruz in March 1987. Via The Iwebender Channel
Love that Maria Elena.... [more inside]
This is the complete show from the Catalyst in Santa Cruz in March 1987. Via The Iwebender Channel
Love that Maria Elena.... [more inside]
"Is it fair to say you just weren't made for these times, Frank?" "Is it? Uh, I dunno. I think everything's just as it should be."
Frank Fairfield is a folk musician who feels like he came fresh out of another century. He plays banjo (The Winding Spring & Nine Pound Hammer and Cumberland Gap), guitar (Call Me A Dog When I'm Gone and Bye, Bye, My Eva, Bye, Bye), and fiddle (Rye Whiskey and Poor Old Lance [with quartet], which is the piece that introduced me to him).
Oh now, this really is ridiculously cute. slyt
Like many other great American folk songs, She’ll be Comin’ Round the Mountain reaches us through the filter of both religious and secular movements. The music underneath the words has its original genesis in a spiritual sung originally by slaves and later popularized in the black churches of the south; the lyrics we know today – the version which came into the larger cultural vernacular and which spawned various children’s versions – was, originally, a protest song. [more inside]
There comes a time in the musical lives of some guitar players when six strings just won't get the job done. They need seven. Or eight. Or nine. Or ten. Or eleven. Or twelve. Or eighteen. [more inside]
Ali Spagnola's Synonyms for Drunk is a remarkably catchy song featuring 91 words for "Drunk" in less than one minute. [slyt]
He's responsible for the deliciously relaxed and understated guitar work you remember from Rainy Night in Georgia and the driving chukka chukka whipsnap that propelled Aretha Franklin's Rock Steady, as well as her version of Spanish Harlem. And he's lent his masterful musical sense to many, many other tunes from artists as diverse as Ringo Starr, Archie Shepp, Joe Cocker, Miles Davis and Paul Simon. Guitarist Cornell Dupree has died at age 68. Primarily a studio musician, Dupree was more often heard than seen, but you can catch some glimpses of his Southern-fried six-string artistry on this live version of King Curtis' Memphis Soul Stew.
Fender Factory Tour 1959 - Leo Fender in the second shot. Freddie Tavares at 7:26. A day when "everything was done by hand... It is amazing to realize that every guitar made that year is now worth a small fortune." The 1959-63 era Stratocaster is called one of the 50 guitars to play before you die. (via the q-ster)
Guitarist Etta Baker worked in a textile mill, raised nine children, and didn’t take her music to the stage until she was 60 years old. Fortunately for all of us, she continued to play and record right up until her death in 2006 at the age of 93.
The legendary Dick Dale covers Amazing Grace, 12/09 in a Studio Session on NPR's KEXP. [more inside]
"Birdcloud met in Murfreesboro and immediately didn’t like eachother. At a party in 2009 they had some whiskeys and became friends and started dicking around on guitar, writing their first song, a song about going down on your best friend, now lost to the sands of time. Despite a lukewarm reception at Nashville’s Bluebird Cafe, they have been sitting on eachother’s faces ever since, showing eachother their bruises and generally doing whatever they want when it works out that way." Songs on the inside NSFW if you can't tell. [more inside]
Carrying you blissfully through hump day, here's Dustin Wong, formerly of Ecstatic Sunshine and Ponytail, serving up two live hour-long assaults of unrestrained guitar-pedal rapture that loops, and loops, and loops...
Perfected by the old masters, this age old tradition has been imitated, innovated and passed on to the next generation. The question remains, what made them hate those guitars so much? (MLYT)
Behold the gAtari 2600. An Australian musician performing under the pseudonym cTrix specializes in creating chiptunes using a combination of games consoles from 1977 - 1992, including a Commodore 64, Amiga 500, a clear-cased Gameboy, and an Atari 2600. The latter is possibly the most striking setup, incorporating the Atari (running custom-written sequencing software) into an oversized guitar body, with a fretboard packed with Boss stompboxes and a great pun as a name — gAtari.
Tricks for getting your violin on a plane, by Lara St. John. How about an upright bass? A cello? A guitar? (previously) A trombone? A tuba (and other horns)? What about lutes, a djembe, a hurdy-gurdy, or bagpipes? (Some general tips. More general tips - part 1, part 2.)
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Jimi Hendrix: Little Drummer Boy / Silent Night / Auld Lang Syne.
Specimen products is the workshop of Ian Schneller, a Chicago-based sculptor-turned-luthier. His site is worth a look if you are interested in unusual guitars and other stringed instruments (like this electic lute), eccentric amplifiers and speakers, or extreme guitar repair. Currently Schneller is collaberating with musician Andrew Bird on Sonic Arboretum, a musical perfomance/installation piece. Here is video of a performance at the Guggenheim in 2010, and a slideshow of the preparations for an upcoming performance at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art.
Hans Reichel, of Wuppertal, Germany, maker of exquisitely beautiful guitars, on which he made exquisitely beautiful and idiosyncratic music, inventor of the delightfully expressive daxophone, on which he made delightfully expressive and often humorous music, creator of elegant fonts and architect of one of the most endearingly creative flash websites you'll ever see, has died at the age of 62. [more inside]
Leonard Cohen's speech from his acceptance of the Prince Of Asturias Award for Letters, whereby he details a moving yet previously untold story about where he received his inspiration. [transcript]
Incredibly smooth-voiced singer/songwriter Jay Brannan covers Adele's Someone Like You on acoustic guitar. (The post title is from his website.)
Donald Thomas "Tom" Scholz (born 10 March 1947) is an American rock musician, songwriter, guitarist, pianist, inventor, and mechanical engineer, best known as the founder of the hard rock band Boston. He is also the inventor of the Rockman guitar amplifier. [more inside]
William Brown was a man who recorded a handful of blues on Sadie Beck's Plantation on July 16, 1942 for Alan Lomax. Once thought to be the same man as the Willie Brown who played with Son House and Charley Patton--and was immortalized in Robert Johnson's Crossroad Blues--the consensus now is that William Brown was a different man, about whom we know next to nothing. Certainly, the handful of recordings we have that feature him supports this. The Willie Brown who recorded Future Blues and M & O Blues was an archetypal Delta bluesman, with both songs being stripped down versions of Charley Patton's Screamin' and Hollerin' the Blues, among others, and Pony Blues, respectively. The William Brown who recorded Mississippi Blues, Ragged and Dirty and Make Me a Pallet on the Floor plays and sings nothing like that Willie Brown. That we know nothing about him and never heard any more of his music is one of the many tragedies of recorded blues. [more inside]
Jeff Bridges digs this app, ..man. What might be a whole new way of studying music in general. “What I like about the app,” says Jackson Browne, “is that it is very much like a book in that you can open it whenever you want, it will keep your place, and you can come back to it whenever you want. It kind of defeats the constraints of time and space, all the barriers of getting together with a teacher at a particular time.” Reviews are varied, and the lessons aren't cheap.