Thursday, March 29, 2012

Joe Bonamassa

Playing with experience far beyond his years, Joe Bonamassa is not new to guitar fanatics or the music scene. Joe's parent's ran a music store in New York, so it must be in the Bonamassa blood because his great-grandfather, grand father and father all played musical instruments. There can be disadvantages to living a life saturated with music but Joe has managed to avoid the pitfalls of the maniacal music business and turn legions of people into loyal fans. Joe opened for BB King at the age of 12 which is a daunting prospect experienced musicians yet he handled it with undeniable aplomb. In addition to opening for BB King, Joe had exceptional opportunity to be mentored by Danny Gatton. Joe Bonamassa is unique in that his music cannot be type cast into one genre and there are only a few guitarist which to me fall into this hierarchy; Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Eric ClaptonJoe Satrianni and Steve Vai to name a few. That is pretty good company!

I first heard about Joe while reading an issue of Guitar Player Magazine. So, I bought a CD. I heard Joe play "if heartaches were nickels," a superb song written by the GREAT WARREN HAYNES!

....and I knew this guy had it. Stars are born baby!
Joe has great tone and feel. You can hear the foundation of fundamental blues in his playing but he's not limited to pentatonics and mixolydian scales. Rest assured, Joe can bang his head, shred, or lay down a ballad with the best in the business. Further more, Joe gives back to the music community. Some musicians might horde their skills while Joe has books and videos helping new players to learn how to play their favorite music. Joe's discography is growing and if you don't own any of his music and you want to become a complete musician - listen to him!

Here, Joe does a version of Blues Deluxe - Some guy named Jeff Beck also plays this song. But here, Joe does a smoldering version. The song was written by Jeffrey Rod and performed by Jeff Beck and Rod Stewart.

Not enough? Did I mention that Eric Clapton showed up at Joe's concert in Royal Albert Hall in London. Do the leg work! Check out Joe!

Expand your horizons but keep it simple! Put in a quarter, kill Klingons!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

RIP Earl Scruggs - Blue Grass Legend

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Bluegrass legend and banjo pioneer Earl Scruggs, who helped profoundly change country music with Bill Monroe in the 1940s and later with guitarist Lester Flatt, has died. He was 88.

Scruggs' son Gary said his father died of natural causes Wednesday morning at a Nashville, Tenn., hospital.

Earl Scruggs was an innovator who pioneered the modern banjo sound. His use of three fingers rather than the clawhammer style elevated the banjo from a part of the rhythm section - or a comedian's prop - to a lead instrument.

His string-bending and lead runs became known worldwide as "the Scruggs picking style" and the versatility it allowed has helped popularize the banjo in almost every genre of music.
The debut of Bill Monroe and The Blue Grass Boys during a post-World War II performance on The Grand Ole Opry is thought of as the "big bang" moment for bluegrass and later 20th century country music. Later, Flatt and Scruggs t eamed as a bluegrass act after leaving Monroe from the late 1940s until breaking up in 1969 in a dispute over whether their music should experiment or stick to tradition. Flatt died in 1979.

They were best known for their 1949 recording "Foggy Mountain Breakdown," played in the 1967 movie "Bonnie and Clyde," and "The Ballad of Jed Clampett" from "The Beverly Hillbillies," the popular TV series that debuted in 1962. Jerry Scoggins did the singing.

After the breakup, Scruggs used three of his sons in The Earl Scruggs Revue. The group played on bills with rock acts like Steppenwolf and James Taylor. Sometimes they played festivals before 40,000 people.

In a July 2010 interview, Scruggs said in the early days, "I played guitar as much as I did the banjo, but for everyday picking I'd go back to the banjo. It just fit what I wanted to hear better than what I could do with the guitar."

Scruggs will always be remembered for his willingness to innovate. In "The Big Book of Bluegrass," Scruggs discussed the breakup with Flatt and how his need to experiment drove a rift between them. Later in 1985, he and Flatt were inducted together in the Country Music Hall of Fame.

"It wasn't a bad feeling toward each other as much as it was that I felt I was depriving myself of something," Scruggs said. "By that, I mean that I love bluegrass music, and I still like to play it, but I do like to mix in some other music for my own personal satisfaction, because if I don't, I can get a little bogged down and a little depressed."

He said he enjoyed playing because "it calms me down. It makes me satisfied. Sometimes I just need to pick a few tunes."

At an 80th birthday party for Scruggs in January 2004, country great Porter Wagoner said: "I always felt like Earl was to the five-string banjo what Babe Ruth was to baseball. He is the best there ever was, and the best there ever will be."

In 2005, "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" was sel ected for the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry of works of unusual merit. The following year, the 1972 Nitty Gritty Dirt Band record "Will the Circle Be Unbroken," on which Scruggs was one of many famous guest performers, joined the list, too.

Scruggs had been fairly active in the 2000s, returning to a limited touring schedule after frail health in the 1990s. In 1996, Scruggs suffered a heart attack in the recovery room of a hospital shortly after hip-replacement surgery. He also was hospitalized late last year, but seemed in good health during a few appearances with his sons in 2010 and 2011.

In 2001 he released a CD, "Earl Scruggs and Friends," his first album in a decade and an extension of The Earl Scruggs Revue. Over 12 songs, he collaborated with an impressive stable of admirers: Elton JohnDwight YoakamTravis TrittSting,Melissa EtheridgeVince GillJohn Fogerty, Don Henley, Johnny Cash and actor Steve Martin, a banjo player, were all featured.
Scruggs, born Jan. 6, 1924, in Flint Hill, N.C., learned to play banjo at age 4. He appeared at age 11 on a radio talent scout show. By age 15, he was playing in bluegrass bands.

"My music came up from the soil of North Carolina," Scruggs said in 1996 when he was honored with a heritage award from his home state.

He and Flatt played together in Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys, then left to form the Foggy Mountain Boys in 1948.

Their popularity grew, and they even became a focal point of the folk music revival on college campuses in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Scruggs' wife, Louise, was their manager and was credited with cannily guiding their career as well as boosting interest in country music.
Later, as rock 'n' roll threatened country music's popularity, Flatt and Scruggs became symbols of traditional country music.

In the 1982 interview, Scruggs said "Bonnie and Clyde" and "The Beverly Hillbillies" broadened the scope of bl uegrass and country music "more than anything I can put my finger on. Both were hits in so many countries."

Scruggs also wrote an instructional book, "Earl Scruggs and the Five String Banjo."
In 1992, Scruggs was among 13 recipients of a National Medal of Art.

"I never in my wildest dreams thought of rewards and presentations," he said. "I appreciate those things, especially this one."

Louise Scruggs, his wife of 57 years, died in 2006. He is survived by two songs, Gary and Randy. Gary Scruggs says funeral arrangements are incomplete.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Jimmy Page and Robert Plant interviewed by Chris Evans' - TFI Friday

This is a great interview with Jimmy Page and Robert Plant that was conducted prior to the release of Walking to Clarksdale. The interview was completed on 03/27/1998. The interview is brief and insightful but not as wondrous as Chris Evans' swami head covering.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Jimmy Page's Lucifer Rising and other sound tracks

On Tuesday 20th of March, Jimmy Page will be exhuming a musical diary of avant-garde compositions and musical experiments and releasing to the public. One track was written exclusively for the movie Lucifer's rising. The music will be available exclusively through This release will be on heavyweight vinyl.

In addition, there will be 418 numbered copies. The first 93 copies will be signed and numbered.

The tracks will be as follows:
Side one

  1. Lucifer's rising (main track)
Side Two

  1. Incubus
  2. Damask
  3. Unharmonics
  4. Damask (ambient)
  5. Lucifer's rising (percussive-return)
There are three versions of Lucifer Rising available:

Standard edition - £20
Deluxe edition - £30
Signed Deluxe edition - £195

'Lucifer Rising and Other Sound Tracks' will be available exclusively from at 14:00 GMT (UK time) on Tuesday 20th March 2012.

As with Death Wish II, we anticipate a high volume of traffic to the website on release day and, while we shall provide additional hosting support, we appreciate your patience in advance if is slower than normal during this period.

Visit at 14:00 GMT on Tuesday 20th March 2012 to buy 'Lucifer Rising and Other Sound Tracks'.

In addition to the standard release of 'Lucifer Rising and Other Sound Tracks' there will be a Deluxe edition of the album available, limited to just 418 copies. The Deluxe edition is distinguishable from the standard album by its subtle artwork variations and each copy is individually hand-numbered.

Jimmy Page has signed the first 93 copies of the Deluxe edition.

For fairness, Deluxe and Signed Deluxe editions of 'Lucifer Rising and Other Sound Tracks' will only be available through a pre-registration system in advance of the release day.

On Monday 19th March 2012, will randomly select 418 registrants from these lists - 93 from the Signed Deluxe list and 325 from the Deluxe list - to gain exclusive access for 48 hours to purchase the corresponding product.

Those wishing to purchase either a Deluxe or Signed Deluxe edition can register their interest below. Only successful registrants will be able to purchase a Deluxe or Signed Deluxe edition within the 48-hour window. Any remaining Deluxe or Signed Deluxe editions not purchased by successful registrants during this period will then go on general sale at 14:00 GMT on Thursday 22nd March 2012.

1. Register 
Register your interest in purchasing a Deluxe or Signed Deluxe edition between now and 23:59 GMT on Sunday 18th March 2012.

Please note: You can register for both products - once for the Deluxe edition and once for the Signed Deluxe edition - but duplicate registrations per product, per account will be invalid.

2. Selecting 418 registrants
We will randomly select and email 418 successful registrants by 18:00 GMT on Monday 19th March 2012 to confirm that a Deluxe edition or Signed Deluxe edition of 'Lucifer Rising and Other Sound Tracks' has been reserved for them.

Please note: Due to expected volume it will not be possible to notify unsuccessful registrants.

3. Exclusive 48-hour access
Each successful registrant will automatically be assigned exclusive access for 48 hours to purchase either the Deluxe or Signed Deluxe version of the album in the shop and be able to purchase their copy from 14:00 GMT on Tuesday 20th March 2012 until 14:00 GMT on Thursday 22nd March 2012.

Please note: Only successful registrants will be able to gain access to these products during the 48-hour window.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Imelda May - Oh Darling

Nice? You bettcha!

It should be on a album.

Ronnie Montrose RIP

Cease and desist! Hence forth, no more cool guitarists are allow to die without permission! We have all been surprised by unexpected passing of public figures but this one caught me by surprise. Dignified and private to the end, Ronnie's illness was mostly kept quiet. In a world where people are more concerned with other people's business, this gentle guitar giant passed away at age 64. Ah yes, it's much more fun to point at what others have done or have so the masses can explain the chip on their should. Not Ronnie!

A transplant from Colorado, the San Francisco Bay Area became Ronnie's home. On planet earth; Ronnie was a riff king. What? You need proof?? Without revealing my age, there was a time in my life when I bought my first press of the Montrose Album but there was another band that I heard about named ZZ Top. I made a tape of the Montrose Album and then traded a kid at school for ZZ Top's Fandango. My brother already had the Montrose album and it was a safe trade, in my myopic view of life at the time thought I would always have access to those songs and huge riffs. My point is that, the only band that could even hold a candle to Ronnie Montrose band is ZZ Top. That little band from Texas is the only band that in my mind even compare to Montrose. Ultimately, I bought the Montrose discography collection twice, once on vinyl and once on CD.

Wild night. The opening to Van Morrison's Wild Night was a riff that Ronnie made up and it caught Van Morrison's ear. Great song? Yes, certainly but the opening riff is the type of riff that when people hear three chords they are already locked on to the song and jumping around. That my friend is a riff, hook, ostinato, phrase or whatever you'd like to call it. B-line is that your hooked and probably going to remember that group of notes until your rust or die. What? Still not a believer? Listen to Montrose - Rock Candy, Bad Motor Scooter, I got fire, One and a half, One Thing on my mind, and Rock the nation - If those songs don't do it for you then you aren't a fan of rock and roll. Ronnie's discography is modestly stated the underpinnings of heavy metal as we know it. Wild night was just one riff, another was Frankenstein by Edgar Winter. Too many great riffs to list - Get culture look up Ronnie Montrose!

The world doesn't know what it has until it's gone. Ronnie seemed to disappear from the scene during the late 80's until recent. He wasn't in the monsters of rock tour, Warped tour,  but he was on one Day on the Green in 1978. Ronnie had various project bands like GAMMA. Gamma albums were awesome but the first two especially seemed to really be earth shattering in terms of integrating the guitar, keyboard and special effects. Even the cover of the Gamma Albums seemed to have mystic appeal to me and my friends. There were other bands that I listened to that in my view were largely influenced by Ronnie Montrose. David Meniketti and Y & T had huge riffs like Montrose. No offense to Y & T but they seemed like Montrose light even though they blew the doors of the house - Ronnie Montrose was that good! Even without the monster tours, Ronnie's music remained relevant.

Ronnie - we miss you! One met never forgotten! This series of interviews are really interesting and you can learn while listening.

RIP Ronnie Montrose!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ronnie used Baker Guitar elusively!

This video is simply awesome!

More !

Rock The Nation ! Uptown Theater in Napa California - February 2012

Friday, March 2, 2012

Imelda May and Darrel Higham are expecting a baby this year! Hoo Ray!

Great news for the handsome couple! A little one is on the way!!! I am super happy for this brilliant couple, I have been watching them tear up the scene for a bit of a while now. Their tour schedule has been hectic and I am sure they can use the time to get their feet grounded and work on new material while mucking in the garden, doing diapers and doing less road running. They are expecting the bundle of joy in August this year and they are said to be over the moon about this momentous news!
In light of Imelda May's recent joyous news that she and her husband are expecting their first child later this year, she has been advised against further international travel and regretfully will be cancelling her forthcoming US shows! It is only my selfishness which brings me the slightest despair as I have been anxiously looking forward to seeing the band stateside this May.