The Leap: The Improbable Transformation of a Punk Pioneer (mp3) - "James Williamson is a successful tech executive who's been working in Silicon Valley for decades. But it turns out Williamson had a secret, something that no one working with him knew. He was a pioneer in a type of music that is about as far from the tech world as you can get." [more inside]
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.
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.
Guitarist Gary Moore, former member of Thin Lizzy and accomplished solo artist, passed away today at the age of 58. [more inside]
She's been called "the greatest posthumous success story in music history." But when she died of melanoma at age 33, few people outside of the Washington DC-area had heard of Eva Marie Cassidy. [more inside]
Garry Shider, singer, guitarist and musical director of George Clinton's P-Funk All-Stars for much of their history, has passed on at age 56. Shider (the man in the diaper for so many P-Funk performances) was co-author of One Nation Under a Groove and many other masterpieces of the funk. RIP, Garry Shider.
The other day someone asked me "who's the most deeply grooving and truly exciting electric guitar player you've heard lately?" and I said "this guy".
There ain't no room for these cheap regrets (except for when a bogan band makes your angst an anthem)
Rowland S. Howard was the guitarist for The Boys Next Door and the Birthday Party. He released his second solo cd, "Pop Crimes" in October this year, ten years after his debut solo effort. He died today.
The great British guitarist Davey Graham died Monday at 68. Every aspiring acoustic guitar player who came of age during the 60s knew of Davy Graham, composer of Anji and inventor of the DADGAD tuning. His own records were never commercial smashes, but his influence was felt by all his contemporaries in the world of folk music and by legions who came after who knew nothing of him personally. The Guardian has a brief obit and assembles a fine video tribute .
Singer/songwriter and guitarist extraordinaire Richard Thompson: songs of bittersweet longing, sublime eloquence, dark exuberance and ominous allusion. [more inside]
Ever heard of Barbara Lynn? She was a rarity in the world of R&B in the early 60's: a black female songwriter, guitarist and singer. After a couple of decades out of the spotlight, she returned in 1999 with a new album. [more inside]
Pioneering instrumental-rock guitarist Link Wray - one of the original rockabilly artists, credited with having invented the "power chord", which has become the basis for modern rock and alternative music - died this week at the age of 76. You'd probably know him from his song 'Rumble', used on the 'Pulp Fiction' soundtrack. The English-speaking media hasn't picked up on the story yet, but various blogs, the Spanish and Danish press - translation here - and various music messageboards were all over the story 24 hours ago.