The first time I heard Eric Church’s song, Talladega, on the radio I thought to myself, “wow, what a great acoustic guitar part!” The intro got me hooked immediately and it’s definitely become one of my favorite country songs lately.
Here’s my rendition of the intro
It took me years to get my pedal board setup up and running. I’ve never been a “gear head;” it just kept getting put on the back burner. I was the guy showing up to gigs and pulling separate pedals out and plugging everything in manually. It was just a mess and I knew I needed to get organized.
This photo was taken at Lee Ritenour’s recording session for his album Smoke ‘n Mirrors @ Sunset Sound in Hollywood January 2003. The first big session I got to work at. I spent 4 days printing and taping charts and rubbing shoulders with some of the greatest musicians of our time.
Joe Pass is one of my favorite guitarists. One reason I love his playing is that he does so much with so little. There’s a great teaching video series in which Joe explains the importance of not overthinking in music. He wants to make it as simple as possible in his mind. Here’s my favorite quote from that video.
I don’t care what anyone says, I love being a tourist! I’m always immensely grateful whenever I have the opportunity to travel and see a new place. Last week was my first time in New York City. I went to perform with the young piano star, Ethan Bortnick, at the APAP conference (check him out if you haven’t yet).
It’s been a pleasure touring and getting to know the great young entertainer, Ethan Bortnick. At only 13 years old, Ethan tours the world as a pianist/songwriter, starred in his own movie, has the current #1 rated PBS TV special, and has raised over $30 million for charities. Not bad for 13.
I decided to create a 13 Week Email Reminder Series to help myself (and anyone else who wants to join me) be better at developing professional relationships. It’s based on a post called, Networking, Relationship Building, and Adding Value. I wrote it to help people rethink what it looks like to network, especially in music business.
I create a lot of charts. I make them when I’m preparing for gigs or for other musicians’ recording sessions or live shows. It’s something that I have come to enjoy because it’s such a great way of improving your ear. And there’s just something special about having beautiful looking charts of your music printed out, taped and ready to go.
One of my favorite satirical twitter accounts is chock-full of wonderfully hilarious passive aggressive tweets about being a “humble” working musician. Here are a few of my favorites…
One of the single best exercises I’ve engaged in as a musician has been learning by ear. Whether it’s a chord progression, a rhythm, a song, an improvised solo, or a cool riff, the act of figuring something out by ear causes you learn and understand at a much deeper level.
This is Part 2 on how to break free of “position” playing on guitar. If you missed Part 1, you can check it out here. Here’s a quick recap. Part 1 was all about becoming intentional about breaking through that stuck feeling created by relying solely on positions and patterns. To do that, I suggested ignoring positions and patterns altogether, limiting yourself to 1 and 2 strings, and playing much more vertically on the guitar.
Have you ever seen those guitar chord dictionaries at guitar center? You know, the ones titled something like “3,001 Guitar Chords.” I always cringe when I see these because there’s such a more valuable way of learning about chords and harmony on guitar.
One night in college during a jazz improv class, I had a mini-breakdown in front of my teacher and some fellow students. I was discouraged and frustrated that despite all my practicing, I was still struggling to get the music I heard in my head down to my fingers and onto the fretboard.
A few weeks ago, I put in a significant amount prep and practice for what turned out to be a pretty relaxed 2 hour gig. Looking back, I probably could have survived doing much less, but I’m glad I didn’t.