Someone once told me that Eric Clapton said, “acoustic guitar will teach you everything about the electric guitar; electric guitar will teach you nothing about the acoustic guitar.” Whoever said it, I believe they were mostly right. So today I nominate acoustic guitar wizard Django Reinhardt as the Greatest Guitar Player of All Time.
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Back in the 90s when I owned Austin Homebrew Supply, one of my favorite customers, Dan Martaus, worked on Austin City Limits, and as a result, I would get occasional inside scoops on upcoming tapings. One of those fantastic opportunities was to see a Son Volt taping, which I went to with my buddy Chip Tait. Son Volt was great – I think the other act taping that night was maybe Kenny Wayne Shepard? Chip was a huge Uncle Tupelo fan, and I was warming up to the genre pretty well. Fun time, free Shiner Bock, and we likely went to Lovejoys after.
Continue reading “Turn of the Century Acoustic Americana: Gillian Welch, Mountain Man, and Beyond”
Hey! I’ll be playing a very rare Zirque Bois d’Arc solo set in front of the Pink Elephant on Saturday, August 26. I’m going to play at 7, and then Hugh’s new band with Richie, If You Know What I Means, plays at 8.
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This record, Buzz or Howl Under the Influence of Heat, was my life in high school.
If asked who my favorite band was, I didn’t even stutter before saying “Minutemen.” There are about a million reasons why, and over time I acquired all of their albums and EPs, and the occasional compilation, too. Here are a few reasons why they were the best:
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I spent many years in my youth learning and playing blues guitar, mostly electric, but some acoustic. During college, I joined a band in my hometown of Nacogdoches called Cold Shot (with Danny Britton and Richard Suggs) and played a couple of shows a month, mostly at a club called Blank and Co. We would do three sets, one acoustic and two electric, and over the years we had tons of guests join us on stage and had a great time playing mostly blues standards, maybe a little rock and roll.
Continue reading “9 Texas Blues Guitarists, and What You Can Learn From Them”
Ry Cooder has put out, by quick reference, over 80 albums, collaborations, and soundtracks over his 50-year career. Along that time he has innovated technically (his 1979 record Bop Till You Drop was the first DDD album – recorded, mixed and mastered digitally!) and musically (his direct influence on the Rolling Stones, Little Feat, and Captain Beefheart is clear and undeniable). He also introduced many musical geniuses to the world stage – Flaco Jimenez, Gabby Pahinui, Ali Farka Toure, and the whole Buena Vista Social Club, for example. AND his soundtrack work in the 1980s painted memorable moments in Paris, Texas and a dozen or so other movies (I particularly enjoyed Alamo Bay and, yes, Crossroads).
Continue reading “The Fifteen Best Ry Cooder Records, and Why You Should Drop Everything and Study Them Now”
Like most stories for me, this one begins with memories of my father. Many of the songs he would play on the guitar (and later after arthritis set in on the piano) would be chord/melody pieces – hammering out the fundament with his thumb and plucking the melody up top – and thus definable as American Primitive Guitar. Once guitar became interesting to me, and I picked up a few of the licks from those pieces, he immediately started offering bounties on Chet Atkins tunes (“I’ll give you $50 if you learn ‘Little Roundabout'”). That was hard – there was no youtube, and very few people to ask (Chet Atkins didn’t live next door) – so I moved on to other things.
Continue reading “John Fahey to Marisa Anderson: American Primitive Guitar Past and Present”