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    In this week’s episode of Sunday Strum, I show you how to do some basic raking.

    A rake is just striking the strings with the right hand normally, but muting them with the left hand to get a percussive sound.

    By replacing just one hit with a rake, I’m able to carve out a new vibe to an existing progression or song.

    This is a great way to vary up your strumming patterns.

    After you get the hang of it, try experimenting with the rake on different parts of the measure.

    For example, rake on both beats 2 and 4 instead of just 2. There are countless possibilities with this simple change.

    strum 3.jpg

    Justin Horenstein is a guitar instructor and musician in the Washington, DC metro area who graduated (cum laude) from the Berklee College of Music in 2006. He plays in Black Clouds, a 3-piece atmospheric/experimental band. Their debut album was recorded by J Robbins (Jawbox, Burning Airlines). Justin’s 18 years of musical experience also includes touring the U.S., a record deal under Sony, starting his own teaching business, recording several albums, and playing club shows with national acts including Circa Survive, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Biffy Clyro, United Nations, Caspian, and more.

    More about Justin at 29thCenturyGuitar.com and BlackCloudsDC.bandcamp.com

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    This is a fast 16th-note alternate picking run in C# minor that starts out on the high E string and moves across the neck, staying pretty much in the ninth through seventh positions and ending with a whole-step pull bend and vibrato on the low E string.

    There’s a bit of a wide fret-hand stretch at the beginning, followed by more conventional, compact shapes as you descend across the strings. I’ve included my exact fret-hand fingerings to take the guesswork out of it for you.

    I’ve also included my picking strokes to guide you. You’ll notice that the run is not 100 percent alternate picked, however, as I do pull off to two notes, one in bar 1 and one bar 2, but my pick hand stays in sync with the established pattern to keep the down-strokes falling on the downbeats.

    As a result, there are two upstrokes in a row, before and after each pull-off. Take it slow and steady at first and gradually ramp-up the tempo while trying to keep your picking strokes relaxed and economical, with no wasted movement.

    The run is based mostly on the C# Dorian mode [C# D# E F# G# A# B], which is the same set of notes as the B major scale [B C# D# E F# G# A#], but oriented around a C# minor tonal center. In bar 1 I add the flat five, G natural [G string, 12th fret], which is borrowed from the C# blues scale [C# E F# G G# B].

    It’s worth noting here that the run doesn’t simply descend straight through either scale, but rather changes direction often and incorporates wide skips, which makes it more interesting to listen to and more fun to play.

    Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 4.28.27 PM.png

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    This video is bonus content related to the May 2014 issue of Guitar World. For the full range of interviews, features, tabs and more, pick up the new issue on newsstands now or at the Guitar World Online Store.

    Be sure to check out my brand-new website, andyaledort.com, which has all of the latest gig info, gear, lesson (private and Skype), session availability and more!

    Last month, I presented some techniques, chord forms and licks that are commonly used for playing slide in open G tuning, which is sometimes referred to as “Spanish tuning” or “happy tuning.”

    This month, I’d like to offer a further investigation into the musical possibilities that open G tuning offers for slide playing.

    All of the licks and riffs will work great whether you are playing them on a resonator, acoustic or electric guitar, and whether you prefer a glass, metal or ceramic slide.

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    Below, check out a video of Racer X/Mr. Big guitarist Paul Gilbert playing "Spanish Fly," a classic 1979 instrumental tune by Van Halen.

    Although we're not sure when (or where) the brief clip was filmed, we do know it was posted to YouTube only a few weeks ago on March 21, 2014.

    Unfortunately, we are not able to embed the Gilbert video in our story; however, you can watch Gilbert perform the piece — on acoustic guitar, no less — by clicking HERE.

    For context, we've also included a clip of Eddie Van Halen performing "Spanish Fly." You can check out that video below.


    This is actually the second time in the past few days that we've seen clips of Gilbert performing Van Halen tunes. If you watch the video of this recent Gilbert guitar clinic, below, you'll see Gilbert launch into "Eruption" at 1:49:

    Additional Content

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    Usually you hear hybrid picking associated with country guitar or all things Eric Johnson.

    It's not a particularly aggressive technique, so it's rare in hard rock and metal.

    Hybrid picking in a Metallica song? Probably not. But Metallica is Metallica — and you're you.

    People might have said slap guitar isn't metal, but the riff from 1:30 to 2:00 in "The Woven Web" by Animals As Leaders says otherwise.

    So let's dive into hybrid picking and see if we can get a nice riff from it.

    Example 1 is a good start. This is a D major spread triad in the root position. Use your pick for the fifth fret, your middle finger for the next string and your ring finger for the highest one. The order should be pick-middle-ring-middle.

    If hybrid picking is new to you, I'd say start the metronome (which you should be using throughout all of this) at 70 and work your way up. If it's not new, start around 115. Example 1 is really just to get the right hand familiar and has little to do with melody.


    Example 2 adds the challenge of switching the strings you're plucking and the chord voicing. Switching over strings at high speeds can be tricky and sometimes results in the fingers sort of tripping over each other. To me, this is sort of starting to sound musical, the way a piano player might try to make D sound pretty. Throughout this entire lesson, we'll be dealing with spread triads anyway, which sound more piano-like.


    Example 3 is a harder version of Example 2 in that the plucking hand completely moves from one set of strings to another. Melodically, it adds a larger leap in the top notes of the voicings, which can create a similar effect to tapping a octave above wherever you're playing.

    The hardest part here will be for the left hand. Switching between two voicings so different quickly and cleanly will really help you get your left hand get familiar with chord shapes as there won't be enough time to think about where your fingers are headed.


    Example 4 is the big toughie I came up with one night. It almost sounds like tapping because of the spread triads moving high and low so quickly, but it has a distinct hybrid picking vibe.

    This will definitely get your left hand working hard to get to each chord cleanly and in time, especially going from the high A major chord back down to D major. You're probably going to have to slide back down. This also introduces the first minor chord, F# minor. This idea is more melodic, rhythmic and harmonically interesting than the previous ones, and (to me) sounds like it could be an interesting verse riff.

    If the technique is new to you, I'd suggest starting this one at 60 bpm or so, as it is rather extreme for both hands. If it's not new, more like 120bpm. Try to get it to 140 and it'll be insane. Also at the end is a fun muted 16th-note triplet leading to a high E natural harmonic. It's tough to keep in time, but the harmonic allows your hand a second to get back to D.

    Hope you have fun with this one!


    If you have questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section or reach out to me at my YouTube channel here, and I'll get back to you.

    Elliott Klein is a New York City-based guitarist/singer/songwriter who plays in Bright and Loud, Party Lights and many more.

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    One of the questions I get asked the most is, “How can I spice up my diminished-scale soloing ideas beyond just playing the scale or the arpeggio?”

    To help answer this question, in this lesson we’ll be looking into one of my favorite ways to expand your 7b9 diminished soloing ideas using various arpeggios built from the underlying harmony of the scale.

    By looking into the four dim7 and four 7th chords that are built from this scale, you can quickly expand your 7b9 diminished soloing ideas without having to study anything beyond these two common arpeggio shapes.

    Let’s dig in and check out how you can use harmonic arpeggios to build interesting lines when using a 7b9 diminished scale in your soloing ideas.

    What is the 7b9 Diminished Scale?

    To begin, let’s take a quick look at the 7b9 diminished scale, otherwise known as the half whole diminished scale, before moving on to looking at the harmony built from the notes in this scale.

    This eight-note scale has the following interval pattern:


    You can think of some of these notes as several intervals depending on how you see the fretboard, such as seeing the M3 as a D4, or the D5 as an A4, but I find that the above intervals are the easiest way for me to visualize them quickly on the fretboard.

    This scale, as the name suggests, is used to solo over a 7b9 chords, and you can see a sample two-octave fingering for this scale over an A7b9 chord below.

    Diminished Harmony 1.jpg

    If this scale is new to you, try working it in 12 keys across the fretboard, as well as finding at least two or three fingerings you can use to play this scale in different parts of the fretboard, such as sixth-, fifth- and fourth-string root fingerings.

    7b9 Diminished Scale Harmony

    One of the coolest musical concepts that comes from the 7b9 diminished scale, again otherwise known as the half-whole diminished scale, is the arpeggio patterns that are derived from this scale.

    Along with the four dim7 chords that come from this scale, from the b9, 3, 5 and b7 of the underlying chord, you can also derive four 7th chords from the same scale, built from the root, b3, b5 and dim7 of the scale.

    When applied to an A7b9 chord, you can build four dim7 and four 7th chords from the underlying diminished scale that you can then use to solo over this chord type in your jazz guitar improvisations.

    7ths – A7, C7, Eb7, Gb7
    dim7 – Bbdim7, Dbdim7, Edim7, Gdim7

    You can see these arpeggios with a sample fingering below that you can use as a starting point when taking these arpeggios to your jazz guitar practice routine.

    Diminished Harmony 2-png.jpg

    When you have worked out this arpeggio pattern over A7b9, make sure to practice it in other positions on the fretboard for this chord, as well as apply this concept to all 12 keys of 7b9 chords around the fretboard as you expand upon these arps in the woodshed.

    As well, try putting on a 7b9 backing track and play these arpeggios, one at a time or several combined at once, over this track in order to hear how they sound when applied to a harmonic situation.

    7b9 Diminished Scale Lick

    To help you take this idea to a musical situation in your practicing, here is a sample lick that uses the arpeggios from the previous section to outline the V7b9 chord in a ii V I progression in the key of D minor.

    Once you have memorized this lick in the key of D minor, practice running it through all 12 keys at different tempos around the fretboard, as well as apply it to tunes that you are shedding in your practice routine.

    Diminished Harmony 3.jpg

    When this lick is comfortable in your playing, try writing out three to five similar licks of your own that use the concepts from this lesson to create those jazz guitar 7b9 phrases.

    Practicing 7b9 Diminished Scale Harmony

    Once you have checked out the arpeggios and lick in the above lesson, you can move forward with this material in your own jazz guitar practice routine. Here are five exercises you can do to expand upon these ideas.

    01. Put on an A7b9 backing track and solo over that chord using the A7 half-whole diminished scale as the basis for your lines.
    02. Solo over the same A7b9 backing track using only the four 7th chords from the HW dim scale to build your lines, A7-C7-Eb7-Gb7.
    03. Solo over the same A7b9 backing track using only the four dim7 chords from the HW dim scale to build your lines, Bbdim7-Dbdim7-Edim7-Gdim7.
    04. Repeat exercises 1 to 3 over all 12 keys for 7b9 chords.
    05. Put on a tune such as "Tune Up" by Miles Davis and treat every 7th chord as a 7b9 chord in order to use the scale and arps from this lesson to build your lines over those changes.

    From there, try taking this diminished scale harmony material to other tunes that you know or are working on in the woodshed as you take these concepts further in the practice room.

    Do you have a question about 7b9 diminished scale harmony? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

    Matt Warnock is the owner of mattwarnockguitar.com, a free website that provides hundreds of lessons and resources designed to help guitarists of all experience levels meet their practice and performance goals. Matt lives in the UK, where he is a lecturer in Popular Music Performance at the University of Chester and an examiner for the London College of Music (Registry of Guitar Tutors).

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    StringDog has announced its new Sonic Hybrid 946 electric guitar strings.

    The new strings — the company's first hybrid gauge product — offer a quality nickel wrap over a hexagonal core for strength and durability.

    The set is balanced, providing articulate, bendable highs, with full round lows. As with all of StringDog’s electric strings, Sonics will break in quickly and stand up to rigorous performing.

    “Sonics are a response to receiving more and more requests for Hybrid and custom gauge sets," says Nathan Ferrarelli, StringDog’s president.

    "A .10 to .52 gauge is something we are considering adding to the Sonic product line, as well as the viability of offering custom sets," he adds.

    “There are two acoustic lines we would like to release in 2014. We are now researching the market and developing specifications to test different tonal qualities, variations and materials. Our goal is to offer players quality acoustic strings to go along with our premium electric products.”

    For more information, visit stringdog.net.

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    Pro Music Marketing Inc. has announced the release of its Pykmax High Performance Guitar Picks.

    The pick, the result of a multi-year design and engineering effort, features a patented ergonomic design that fits the hand comfortably and eliminates traditional muscle pressure associated with gripping traditional picks.

    “The guitar pick has always been somewhat of an obstacle for many beginning and intermediate players," says Jeremy Milikow, CEO of Pro Music Marketing.

    "Pykmax enables those players to concentrate more on playing great music and less on gripping the guitar pick.”

    According to the company, guitarists of all skill levels — who chose to participate in a pre-market trial — agreed that Pykmax "dramatically increases comfort while enhancing picking speed and precision."

    Pykmax was conceived and developed by Noam Sander, president of Pro Music Marketing, when he was a student at Berklee College of Music. Sander was exploring new tools and techniques that could help advance his playing level. He felt the guitar pick should be redesigned so that it could fit more firmly and comfortably, which could lead to greater speed and control and new techniques.

    Pykmax is available in two right-handed body sizes, small and medium.

    From the company:

    "The small size is perfect for children up the age of approximately 15 and for adults with small hands. The medium size is great for most adult players. Three plectrum gauges are offered for each body size. 0.60mm, 0.88mm and 1.00mm. Pykmax plectrums are precision injected molded from Delrin. Standard Pykmax packaging includes one body and one plectrum mounted on the body."

    The standard retail price is $12. Pykmax is available in the U.S. on Amazon.com.

    For more about Pykmax, visit pykmax.com, check it out on Facebook and watch the two videos below. The top video explains Pykmax; the bottom is a Pykmax demo featuring a cover of Dream Theater's "The Best of Times" by Bar Bitran.

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    This is a tapping run that incorporates string skipping and a couple of fret-hand finger slides.

    It’s based on the A natural minor scale [A B C D E F G], but the notes are organized into arpeggios, which imply some interesting "tall" chord sounds.

    Although it is played in steady 16th notes, it sounds and feels out of time because of the unusual melodic contour.

    When skipping to another string, often the first note is hammered on "from nowhere" by one of the fret-hand fingers [indicated by "H"]. Strive for an even attack and volume note to note, making each hammer-on quick and firm. When pulling off, flick the string slightly sideways, in toward the palm.

    I tap a couple of the notes on the high E string with my ring finger, which makes the jumps across the strings a little easier. Mute the strings you’re not playing on with your pick-hand palm to keep them from ringing.

    The lick ends with a big bend on the B string, which I perform by tapping the string then bending it upward with both hands, using the fret hand’s fingers to help the tapping finger bend the string.

    For more on Wood and his band, Down from Up, visit andywoodmusic.com and downfromup.com.

    Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 3.43.33 PM.png

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    With springtime coming just around the corner (for some of you, anyway), what better instrument than the ukulele for strumming on the porch on a balmy day?

    Luckily, the folks at Fender agree and have partnered with us to offer one of their brand new ukes — the Ukulele Hau’oli, to be exact — for one lucky winner.

    Ukuleles are enjoying renewed popularity, with exquisite sounds and designs that are a far cry from mere musical toys.

    Originally built by Portuguese immigrants to the Hawaiian Islands in the 1880s, the small guitar-like instruments produced a lilting sound that instantly evoked the lush South Pacific atmosphere of their island homeland. Today, ukes can be heard in everything from Top 40 pop to folk and everything in between.

    Check out this fine example of the very nice Fender Ukulele Hau’oli:


    Enter below for a chance to get your hands on this small but powerful instrument and add a little Uke-alicious flavor to your gear menu!

    The Fender Ukulele Hau’oli features all laminate mahogany, concert shape with 19 frets, an awesome Tele headstock, plus Aquila Nylagut Tenor Wound C strings. The instrument also bears an acrylic abalone rosette, scalloped fan bracing, a bone string nut and a rosewood bridge with bone saddle. It's valued at $229.

    Contest ends April 30, 2014. Enter here (don't forget to share!).

    Learn more about Fender ukuleles and other goodies at Fender.com.

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    Edward David Anderson will release his debut solo album, Lies & Wishes, April 29 through The Royal Potato Family.

    Best known for his work with the revered Midwestern rock band Backyard Tire Fire, Anderson teamed with producer Steve Berlin of Los Lobos for his first solo offering.

    The resulting effort finds Anderson creating his own mythology with a collection of ten songs that embrace vulnerability, while remaining grounded in his working class roots.

    "I feel like every experience, every mile, every interaction, every tune, sort of got me to where I am at this moment," Anderson recounts. "The songs on the record are confessional by nature. They are songs about loss and love and living and hope. Halfway through my life, it's an honest look in the mirror."

    Watch Anderson perform Lies & Wishes cut “The Next Melody” below. The clip was shot at the old Summerdale Tobacco Warehouse in Summerdale, AL.

    Lies & Wishes was written in a time of great upheaval for Anderson as he was processing the dissolution of Backyard Tire Fire and his mother passing away. Songs like the "Lies & Wishes,""Lost & Found" and "Chain Reaction" delve deep into the human condition, asking difficult questions of himself and his loved ones.

    "A lot of the subject matter on this record came from reflecting on these painful experiences," says Anderson. "After losing my mom, I decided I’ve got to make a record and dedicate it to her and make a statement here on my own."

    Musically speaking, the core of Lies & Wishes is built around refined melodies, acoustic guitars and sparse arrangements, yet Berlin's production colors the tracks with squalls of electric guitar, affected vocals, drum loops and assorted analog keyboard flourishes.

    Fans of Anderson's vintage rock and roll songwriting from his Backyard Tire Fire days will also find plenty to love on tunes like "Nothing Lasts Forever,""Taking It Out On You" and "The Next Melody," which deliver the big hooks and classic refrains on which he so effortlessly hangs his hat.

    Currently splitting his days between his longtime home in Bloomington, Illinois and an RV alongside the Gulf of Mexico in lower Alabama, Edward David Anderson is an American songwriter seeking and searching through song. As his debut solo collection Lies & Wishes illustrates, a new chapter in his career has just begun to be sung.

    Find out more at edwarddavidanderson.com.

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    "I can't make you love me if you don't
    You can't make your heart feel something it won't
    Here in the dark, in this final hour
    I will lay down my heart and I will feel the power
    But you won't, no you won't
    Cause I can't make you love me if you don't
    And you don't"

    Mike Reid and Allen Shamblen, two masterful writers wrote this monster song that has been recorded by Bonnie Raitt, Adele, Bon Iver and many more artists.

    The melody is haunting. The lyric is simple.

    There is power in simplicity. When you write something in simple, conversational language that nails people right in the heart, the listeners have this "aha" moment where they slap their head and say "That's exactly how I felt when..."

    You can't really get that response from clever, poetic lyrics. People may admire a unique twist of the language, a double entendre, or a phrase that they've never heard before. They may be impressed with your craftiness or your wit. But all of that is different than connecting to people on a heart level.

    Bonnie Raitt's powerful version of "I Can't Make You Love Me."

    Admiring someone's skill is not on the same level as believing that the writer of a song has been reading your mail. Noting a clever wordplay is not the same as FEELING a song and feeling that the writer of the song KNOWS what your life is like. That's the grand slam of writing. Connecting to listeners in a powerful, heartfelt way.

    I'm not suggesting that every song should connect in that way. I am suggesting that we, as writers shoot for that. That we set the bar there. I want to write songs as powerful as "I Can't Make You Love Me" or "The House That Built Me" (another Shamblen song by the way).

    My goal is not to make lots of money by writing goofy songs that people will have forgotten next year. My goal is to write songs that will live on when I am gone.

    I believe that simplicity and baring my soul in my writing are the best ways to achieve that goal. I aim to touch people's hearts. That's not easy. It's easier to write "Get Off The Oven, Granny, You're Too Old To Ride The Range" than it is to write something that touches people and MOVES them.

    Never underestimate the power of simplicity.

    Sometimes, instead of figuring out a clever way to say something, the answer is just to say it. Simply. Honestly. From the heart.

    Write on.

    Marty Dodson

    Marty Dodson is a songwriter, corporate trainer and entrepreneur. His songs have been recorded by artists such as Rascal Flatts, Carrie Underwood, Kenny Chesney, Joe Cocker, Leon Russell and The Plain White T’s. He once bumped Psy out of the #1 spot on the K-Pop charts but that’s another story for another day. Marty plays Taylor and Batson guitars. Follow him here: www.facebook.com/songtownusa, at www.facebook.com/martydodsonsongwriter and at Twitter @SongTownUSA or visit martydodson.com

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    With the 20th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death, we thought it only fitting to post a selection from Nirvana’s now-legendary MTV Unplugged concert.

    Below, watch the band’s acoustic take on Nevermind's, “Something in the Way.”

    The song was originally intended to be a full-band recording, but after initial attempts proved difficult, producer Butch Vig encouraged the band to take a different approach.

    After unsuccessful takes, Cobain came to Vig in the control room to show him how the song should sound. Vig was taken back by the solo version, and proceeded to turn off the air conditioner and telephones and set up microphones.

    Vig tracked his vocals and guitars right there in the control room, as Cobain gently strummed his 12-string Stella guitar, which was strung with five nylon strings.

    While Cobain’s performance set the mood for the song, drummer Dave Grohl and bassist Krist Novoselic had trouble laying down their tracks; apparently Cobain’s Stella had issues staying in tune.

    Placed as the final track on the original release of Nevermind, “Something in the Way” gives us a glimpse into the mind of one of rock’s most pained, gifted songwriters.

    Below, watch the version of “Something in the Way” filmed for MTV’s Unplugged, which features the original members of Nirvana, plus cellist Lori Goldston and guitarist Pat Smear.

    The concert originally aired on December 16, 1993, just months before Cobain’s death.

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    Black leather, spikes and tattoos? Check.

    Creepy and/or scary-sounding band name? Check.

    Adorable little kitty cat on your shoulder? Check!

    Photographer Alexandra Crockett's engaging new photo book, Metal Cats (powerHouse Books), features photo after photo of personalities from the hardcore metal scene — and their adorable kitties.

    Crockett photographed the quadrupeds (and their bipedal owners) in and around the dark abodes of metal musicians, fans and promoters.

    Bands represented in the book include Black Goat, Thrones, Isis, Lightning Swords of Death, Book of Black Earth, Skarp, Harassor, Akimbo, Aldebaran, Atriarch, Oak, Ghoul, Ludicra, Holy Grail, Xasthur, Cattle Decapitation, Murder Construct, Exhumed, Morbid Angel, Municipal Waste, Skeletonwitch, Gypsyhawk, Nausea, Phobia and Napalm Death.

    Best of all, the musicians aren’t merely putting their faces and tattoos behind the cause. They're also hosting a series of benefit concerts that will take place along the West Coast; proceeds from the shows — along with a portion of the book’s proceeds — will benefit no-kill animal shelters at the four cities visited by the benefit shows.

    Check out the photo gallery below for 10 pics from the book!

    For more information, visit powerhousebooks.com.

    To order Metal Cats, which will be published May 6, visit Amazon.com.

    Photo: From Metal Cats by Alexandra Crockett, published by powerHouse Books.

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    Check out this beautifully shot clip of British fingerstyle guitarist Chris Woods performing his composition, “Edinburgh.”

    Woods utilizes some impressive percussion techniques, and the track isn’t lacking in the melody department either.

    It’s no surprise that Woods’ technique turns heads – to say “he wrote the book” on percussive style acoustic guitar wouldn’t be too far a stretch.

    Woods was approached by Hal Leonard to write a comprehensive guide on the playing style, and the publication has become a standard for many guitarists around the globe.

    If you’re looking to tackle this challenging playing style, Percussive Acoustic Guitar would be a good place to start.

    As you’d expect, the book has done much to boost Woods’ reputation among fingerstyle guitarists, and he’s since amassed a loyal following.

    “Edinburgh” is featured on Woods’ debut album, Stories for Solo Guitar. Watch the video below:

    Learn more about the Chris Woods Groove at chriswoodsgroove.co.uk.

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    Guitar World recently caught up with Down guitarist Pepper Keenan to discuss the group’s upcoming EP, Down IV—Part Two (on sale May 20), the departure of longtime guitarist Kirk Windstein, and the possibility of a reunion with his Keenan’s former band, Corrosion of Conformity.

    When did you start working on the upcoming Down IV—Part TwoEP?

    We were touring a lot, and we did a bunch of killer shows in Europe and the band as a whole was very excited about where we were heading. And then we had some issues with Kirk [Windestein] and him wanting to focus more on Crowbar—and that happens sometimes in bands, you’d be a fool to deny it.

    We were just going in separate directions, and that’s okay—I mean, we only wanted the best for Kirk, but Down wasn’t going to waste one second, and he understood that. But I understood where Kirk was coming from—Crowbar is his baby.

    So, during that period, me and Jimmy [Bower, drums] and Pat [Bruders, bass] were just in the jam room constantly, coming up with ideas and running them past Phil [Anselmo, vocals] to make sure that we were all on the same page. And then basically our ace in the hole became Pat.

    He had been in Crowbar all these years, but he never really had a chance to write much of anything. And he started coming up with some amazing ideas, and that took some of the pressure off of us. We do it pretty old-school—just beatin’ it out in the jam room.

    What are some of the pros of doing four consecutive EPs?

    Usually when you do a full length album, the record company throws it out there and maybe you get a couple of months out of it—but we wanted to do something that would stretch that out for a couple of years. Down likes to tour a lot, and doing the EPs will allow us more freedom to do that and get more music out to our fans more frequently.

    Plus we have different types of songs in this band, and doing EPs will let us bring out some of those songs that didn’t fit on an album before. Like the next EP will probably have more campfire-type, acousticy songs. It’ll give us an opportunity to show a different side of Down without having to do another whole album, or take those few acoustic songs and jam them into full album. We just like the idea of splitting the material up into four EPs and making it work to our advantage.

    From a songwriting perspective, what did it mean to lose Kirk Windstein?

    I knew we were losing something, but I couldn’t quite figure out what it was. I just knew that something was going to be gone. I’m pretty prolific when it comes to riffs and songs, so it wasn’t that much of a concern—but Kirk and I had been doing this together for 20 fucking years, so that aspect of it was gone.

    How did your stage manager, Bobby Landgraf, come to be Kirk’s replacement in the band?

    We were gonna go on a nationwide search for guitar players and all that, but sometimes that ends up biting you on the ass. The truth is we’re really not the easiest band to get along with—we kind of have our own language and way of doing things—so we wanted someone we knew we could hang out with, and Bobby was right there. After we got him in the game, everything started rolling. It reinvigorated us to have some new blood in the band.

    We’re happy as clams right now. Everybody’s heads are clear—nobody’s stumbling around, and we’re ready for the next couple of years for sure.

    The new EP isn’t a huge departure from the first one.

    No, it isn’t, but that was kind of the intention. I think it’s really gonna shift on the third and fourth EPs. The first one we just kinda ham-fisted it out, and the second one has a little more trickery going on—the riffs aren’t quite so simple and easily digestible, and at the end there’s this little acoustic thing that I think is gonna fly into the third EP. There’s some really crafty guitar stuff happening on this EP that we’ve never ventured into before.

    Your last recording with Corrosion of Conformity was 2005’s In the Arms of God. Are you open to reuniting with C.O.C.?

    I talk to Woody [Weatherman, guitar] and Mike [Dean, bass] about it often, and it’s definitely on the radar—but those guys are fully capable of doing it as a three-piece on their own for now, and they have been for a while. It’ll happen sooner or later, but only when I could give C.O.C. the utmost respect and attention that it deserves. But the truth is, doing both of those bands full-time is too much.

    Additional Content

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    Goo Goo Dolls are releasing a live EP - Warner Sound Sessions­ - available digitally today via Warner Bros Records.

    Recorded last April at East West Studios in Los Angeles, the EP features 4 tracks from the band's new album Magnetic, as well as the classic hit "Slide."

    The band has just kicked off a 3-week acoustic tour called The Otis Midnight Sessions.

    The sold-out tour offers fans a rare opportunity to see the band perform in an intimate setting that fosters a "story teller" format, allowing the band to dig deep into an extensive catalog spanning their nearly 30-year career.

    In June, Goo Goo Dolls are set to hit the road again with Daughtry for an extensive summer amphitheater and arena tour. Also on the bill, performing an acoustic set, are Plain White T's.

    Warner Sound Sessions Tracklisting:
    Rebel Beat
    When The World Breaks Your Heart
    Come To Me
    Keep The Car Running

    The Goo Goo Dolls Acoustic Tour with Run River North:

    04/07 Syracuse, NY The Carrier Theatre
    04/08 Ridgefield, CT The Ridgefield Playhouse
    04/09 Albany, NY Lewis A. Swyer Theatre@ The Egg
    04/12 Niagara Falls, NY Seneca Niagara Bear's Den*
    04/17 Ponte Vedra Beach, FL Ponte Vedra Concert Hall
    04/18 Biloxi, MS Beau Rivage Resort & Casino**
    04/19 Nashville, TN 3rd & Lindsley
    04/21 Lexington, KY Lyric Theatre & Cultural Art Center
    04/22 Chicago, IL City Winery
    04/23 East Lansing, MI Pasant Theater @ The Wharton Center (MSU)
    04/25 Middletown, OH Finkelman Auditorium - Miami University
    04/27 Green Bay, WI Meyer Theatre
    04/30 Wilmington, DE The Baby Grand
    05/02 West Palm Beach, FL Sunfest**

    *No Support
    ** Full Electric Set

    The Goo Goo Dolls and Daughtry summer tour dates with Plain White T's:

    06/12 Wallingford, CT Toyota Oakdale Theatre
    06/14 Wantagh, NY Nikon at Jones Beach Theater
    06/15 Saratoga, NY Saratoga Performing Arts Center
    06/19 St. Augustine, FL St. Augustine Amphitheatre
    06/20 Tampa, FL MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre
    06/21 Orange Beach, AL The Amphitheater at the Wharf
    06/23 New Braunfels, TX Whitewater Music Amphitheatre
    06/24 Corpus Christi, TX Concrete Street Amphitheatre
    06/25 Dallas, TX Gexa Energy Pavilion
    06/27 Houston, TX Woodlands
    06/29 Maryland Heights, MO Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
    07/01 Cincinnati, OH Riverbend Music Center
    07/02 Clarkston, MI DTE Energy Music Theatre
    07/03 Toronto, ON Molson Canadian Amphitheatre
    07/05 Bristow, VA Jiffy Lube Live
    07/06 Virginia Beach, VA Farm Bureau Live at Virginia Beach
    07/08 Raleigh, NC Walnut Creek Amphitheatre
    07/09 Charlotte, NC PNC Music Pavilion
    07/11 Atlanta, GA Chastain Park Amphitheatre
    07/12 Memphis, TN Live at the Garden
    07/15 Denver, CO Red Rocks Amphitheatre
    07/16 Salt Lake City, UT USANA Amphitheatre
    07/18 Eugene, OR Cuthbert Amphitheatre
    07/21 Saratoga, CA The Mountain Winery
    07/22 Los Angeles, CA The Greek Theatre
    07/23 Bakersfield, CA Rabobank Arena
    07/25 San Diego, CA Harrah's Rincon Pavilion*
    08/01 Las Vegas, NV Red Rocks Resort, Spa & Casino
    08/03 Phoenix, AZ Comerica Theatre
    08/05 Enid, OK Enid Event Center
    08/06 Lincoln, NE Pershing Auditorium
    08/08 Tower, MN Fortune Bay Resort and Casino
    08/09 Des Moines, IA Iowa State Fair **
    08/10 Chicago, IL FirstMerit Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island
    08/12 Holmdel, NJ PNC Bank Arts Center
    08/15 Boston, MA Blue Hills Bank Pavilion
    08/16 Big Flats, NY The Summer Stage at Tags
    08/17 Camden, NJ Susquehanna Bank Center
    08/19 Bethel, NY Bethel Woods Center For The Arts
    08/21 Gilford, NH Meadowbrook
    08/22 Buffalo, NY Darien Lake Performing Arts Center
    08/23 Essex Junction, VT Champlain Valley Exposition
    08/25 Columbus, OH The LC Pavilion Outdoor Amphitheater
    08/26 Indianapolis, IN Klipsch Music Center
    08/27 Grand Rapids, MI Fifth Third Ballpark
    08/29 Kansas City, KS Starlight Amphitheater
    08/30 Sioux City, IA Hard Rock Casino

    *On Sale 4/18
    **On Sale 4/12

    Find out more at googoodolls.com.

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    Willie Watson's forthcoming debut album, Folk Singer Vol. 1, is available now for pre-order through iTunes, Amazon, and Willie's own website.

    The album will be released May 6 through Acony Records.

    The album was produced by the legendary David Rawlings, longtime friend and producer of Watson's previous band, Old Crow Medicine Show.

    "There's a lot of weight in the way Willie performs," says Rawlings. "He's had some tragedy in his life, which has informed his art. There's an emotional edge to what he does because of who he is as a human being. Willie is the only one of his generation who can make me forget these songs were ever sung before."

    Right now, you can listen to Willie's stirring live rendition of "Mexican Cowboy" on A Prairie Home Companion, where Garrison Keillor complimented him by saying, "You sing as if the microphone had never been invented."

    Check out the performance below:

    The album features ten songs ranging from folk standards to obscure gems. According to Watson, making the album "happened naturally... as soon as I was playing solo, I started remembering all these old tunes which led me to dig through my 78's for more. When we got in the studio, I just played everything a couple times. It reminded me of making OCMS, where a lot of times we'd just play songs and let Dave sort it out."

    Willie will be touring the US this spring and summer in support of the album's release, and is excited to announce new dates, including shows with Dave Rawlings Machine (Dave Rawlings, Gillian Welch, Willie Watson, John Paul Jones, and Paul Kowert of Punch Brothers).

    The tour will also feature three dates in Nashville around the release of Folk Singer Vol. 1. Willie will also be performing at Stagecoach Music Festival in Indio, CA on April 26, and on May 21 he will perform at New York City's Mercury Lounge. View the tour dates below.

    4/26 Indio, CA @ Stagecoach Festival
    4/27 San Diego, CA @ Adams Avenue Unplugged
    5/1 Decatur, GA @ Eddie's Attic *
    5/2 Lawndale, NC @ Five String Fest
    5/3 Asheville, NC @ The Grey Eagle *
    5/6 Nashville, TN @ Grimey's In-Store - Record Release
    5/7 Nashville, TN @ Music City Roots @ Loveless Café
    5/8 Nashville, TN @ Station Inn *
    5/9 Louisville, KY @ Zanzabar *
    5/10 Columbus, OH @ Woodlands *
    5/11 Ann Arbor, MI @ The Ark *
    5/13 Evanston, IL @ SPACE *
    5/15 Pittsburgh, PA @ Club Café *
    5/16 Charlottesville, VA @ The Southern *
    5/17 Washington DC @ Gypsy Sally *
    5/18 Annapolis, MD @ Rams Head on Stage **
    5/21 New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge *
    5/22 Philadelphia, PA @ World Café Live *
    5/23 Northampton, MA @ Iron Horse Music Hall *
    5/24 Ithaca, NY@ The Haunt *
    5/28 Los Angeles, CA @ The Bootleg Theater
    5/30 Berkeley, CA @ Freight & Salvage
    6/15 Palisade, CO @ Palisade Bluegrass & Roots Festival
    6/18 Boulder, CO @ DRM @ Boulder Theatre +
    6/20 Telluride, CO @ DRM @ Telluride Bluegrass Festival +
    6/24 Kansas City, MO @ DRM @ Uptown Theater +
    6/25 St. Louis, MO @ DRM @ The Sheldon +
    6/26 Louisville, KY @ DRM @ Brown Theater +
    6/27 Nashville, TN @ DRM @ Ryman Auditorium +
    7/11 Somerset, KY @ Master Musicians Festival
    7/12 Sugar Grove, NC @ MusicFest 'n Sugar Grove
    7/13 Mount Solon, VA @ Red Wing Roots Music Festival
    7/15 Ashland, VA @ Ashland Coffee & Tea
    7/16 Carrboro, NC @ Cat's Cradle - Back Room
    7/17 Abingdon, VA @ Abingdon Music Experience
    7/18 Louisville, KY @ Forecastle Festival
    7/20 Princeton, WV @ Mountain Stage @ Chuck Mathena Center
    7/25 Cornish, ME @ Ossippee Valley Bluegrass Festival
    7/26-7/27 Newport, RI @ Newport Folk Festival
    8/1-8/3 Happy Valley, OR @ Pickathon
    8/28- 8/30 Fayetteville, AR @ Fayetteville Roots Festival
    8/31 Steelville, MO @ Steelfest
    9/18 Nashville, TN @ Americana Music Festival

    *Mandolin Orange supports
    ** With Chatham County Line and Mandolin Orange (May 18)
    + DRM/Dave Rawlings Machine = Dave Rawlings, Gillian Welch, Willie Watson, John Paul Jones & Paul Kowert of Punch Brothers (June 18-27)

    Keep up with Willie Watson at williewatson.com.

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    Following the eccentric pop of Psychic Temple II, Chris Schlarb has returned with a more intimate full-length, Making The Saint.

    Below, read a message from Schlarb himself:

    Making The Saint is my new full-length album.

    I recorded it inside a cabin in the San Bernardino mountains of California. The owners told me to keep an eye out for ghosts.

    When I started driving up into the mountains, I didn't have any new music prepared. I’d just finished an East Coast tour with my Psychic Temple band; six members strong on the road and twelve musicians back at home. A big band for sure. We’d already booked another tour with the guys, all of whom are professionals in their own right. As I drove, I found myself yearning for an intimate, unpolished sound.

    –– Watch the trailer for the album below: –– 

    Even though Psychic Temple is a big deal, I love small records. When I say “small record," I think of Sandy Bull's Fantasias for Guitar and Banjo, Bill Evans trio recordings at the Village Vanguard, Fripp & Eno's No Pussyfooting, or Thelonius Monk's sublime Solo Monk.

    Each of these albums is simple. They're direct. Making The Saint is a small record too. I didn't belabor it. The recording and mixing came quickly. I followed my instincts.

    This album is also a spiritual retreat for me; a healthy and necessary separation after so many strong collaborations. If you're Sufist, you’d call this khalwa. In Japanese Zen Buddhism, it's called sesshin. The Santerian process of Asiento requires the initiate to dress in white garments and avoid physical contact for one year. Like so many have done before me, I forced myself into a state of inner solitude to find something new.

    I hope you enjoy it, and you experience something similar while listening.

    - Chris Schlarb

    Making The Saint Tracklisting:
    1. Making The Saint
    2. Great Receiver
    3. The Fear of Death Is the Birth of God
    4. My Foolish Heart

    Find out more at Schlarb’s record label: asthmatickitty.com.

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    NEEDTOBREATHE is gearing up for the release of their new album Rivers In the Wasteland, out next Tuesday April 15th on Atlantic Records.

    In support, the band will bring their captivating live show to The Ellen DeGeneres Show on April 18th and will return to the Late Show with David Letterman on April 23 to perform new single "The Heart."

    In addition to making their Grand Ole Opry debut on April 19, NEEDTOBREATHE will kick off a North American headlining tour on May 1st that will see them visit some of the country's most notable venues and perform at summer festivals such as the Hangout Music Festival and Suburbia Music Festival. Tour dates are listed below.

    Watch the music official video released for “The Heart”:

    Rivers In the Wasteland is the follow up to The Reckoning, a collection of timeless American rock and roll that caught the attention of many including NPR, Elle, USA Today and The New York Times who simply said "this gifted band makes anthemic Southern rock" and Entertainment Weekly who applauds the bands "arena muscle" and "porch-pickin' country ... sharp enough to inspire both lighter waving and moonshine chugging."

    Tour Dates:
    5/1/14 - Gillioz Theatre - Springfield, MO *
    5/2/14 - Brady Theater - Tulsa, OK *
    5/3-4/14 - Suburbia Music Festival - Plano, TX
    5/5/14 - Marquee Theatre - Phoenix, AZ *
    5/6/14 - The Wiltern - Los Angeles, CA *
    5/7/14 - The Fillmore - San Francisco, CA *
    5/9/14 - The Neptune - Seattle, WA *
    5/10/14 - The Neptune - Seattle, WA *
    5/11/14 - Vogue Theatre - Vancouver, BC *
    5/14/14 - The Fillmore - Denver, CO *
    5/15/14 - Uptown Theater - Kansas City, MO *
    5/16-18/14 - Hangout Festival - Gulf Shores, AL *
    5/31/14 - The Tabernacle - Atlanta, GA *
    6/1/14 - The Tabernacle - Atlanta, GA *
    6/3/14 - Stage AE - Pittsburgh, PA *
    6/5/14 - House of Blues - Cleveland, OH *
    6/6/14 - Murat Theatre - Indianapolis, IN *
    6/8/14 - Pabst Theater - Milwaukee, WI *
    6/10/14 - Simon Estes - Des Moines, IA *
    6/12/14 - Skyway Theatre - Minneapolis, MN *
    6/13/14 - The Pageant - St. Louis, MO *
    6/14/14 - House of Blues - Chicago, IL *
    6/15/14 - House of Blues - Chicago, IL *
    6/17/14 - Town Ballroom - Buffalo, NY *
    6/19/14 - Danforth Theatre - Toronto, ON
    6/20/14 - The Fillmore - Detroit, MI *
    6/21/14 - Meijer Gardens - Grand Rapids, MI *

    * With Foy Vance

    Keep up with the band at needtobreathe.com.

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