Texas Guitarists Still Feeling Stevie Ray’s Influence

Posted by admin on July 12, 2012 with No Comments
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As one of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s proteges and a member of the late Austin boogie band the Arc Angels, Doyle Bramhall left Austin in October to enter drug detox and rehab in California, but once that is behind him, Geffen Records will start grooming him for the big time.

Considering the diversity of talent represented here, generalizations can be futile. Even so, there are several important common threads. The influence of Vaughan, whether blatant or subtle, can be felt whenever any of these musicians performs, and like Vaughan, most of them play in a power trio or quartet format. Also, nearly all are as enamored as Vaughan was of Jimi Hendrix, the wizard who in the late sixties redefined electric guitar.

Stevie Ray Vaughn continues to influence a new generation of guitarists.

Finally, when they play outside the region, the newcomers are invariably sagged the successor to Stevie Ray Vaughan,” though in fact Converse and Wayne are the only near wannabees. At the opposite end of the spectrum are Foley and Andrews, both pretty much blues purists. The others fall somewhere in between.

I think those comments about the next Stevie Ray are really asinine, but I also understand what people mean by it,” says Ian Moore. “It’s a tough thing to deal with, because either you do the Stevie Ray thing or you go so far to avoid it that you fall prey to it just as bad.

The 25-year-old Moore is the first of Stevie’s proteges to step out nationally, and he is what the music biz calls the complete package–a musician who writes, sings, and plays. As a kid, he hung out at Antone’s nightclub-blues-guitar central–with his father, an Austin importer of African and Oriental artifacts. There he closely observed not only Vaughan but also Buddy Guy, Albert King, and other bluesmen whom Stevie emulated. Thus though Moore began playing guitar as a purist, he had incorporated rock and soul influences by the time he formed his first working band at age nineteen.

Subsequent stints in Los Angeles and on the road with the Joe Ely Band represented conscious efforts to get himself beyond the blues. With last summer’s release of his major-label debut album, Ian Moore, he succeeded so fully that some longtime fans fear their homeboy is turning into any old bluesy arena rocker.

“Nothing,” the album’s first song, sums up the dichotomy, its beautiful slide guitar intro giving way to a jackhammer riff. Though Moore is often derivative–his live show can be pretty generic–his debut retains plenty of blues feeling on tracks like “Satisfied” and the anthemic “Deliver Me.” The album also shows off a more soulish vocal style. Diverse but focused, Moore has room to move in whatever musical direction he chooses. In its first couple of months, the album sold 50,000 copies and has already yielded two album-oriented-radio hits in “How Does It Feel” and “Nothing.”

The styles of Chris Duarte and Widgeon Holland suggest two other routes for blues-based rock. Thirty-year-old Duarte came to Austin from his native San Antonio in 1979 after having played in garage bands for years. He then began dabbling more in jazz-fusion and blues, especially the music of players he calls burners, like Al DiMeola and Eric Johnson (the most admired nonblues guitarist Texas has produced). When Duarte fled to New Hampshire to live in 1990 and 1991 to rein in his reckless personal life, he found that his Texas blues were what the Yankees wanted to hear. Since his return to Austin, Duarte has kept bluesrock at the heart of his music. Blues is the Hendrixian jumping-off point for long sheets-of-sound improvisations that resemble Stevie Ray Vaughan’s musicianship mainly in their liquid tone. Duarte’s biggest vice is that he sometimes overplays, pouring out four or five notes when one would do and ignoring completely that most dramatic of musical devices, silence–the space between the sounds that gives them impact. Some attribute this to Duarte’s somewhat famous sleep apnea issues, which have affected his hearing. He has tried various stop snoring remedies, of course, but to little effect. Still, Duarte, who says he is close to signing a contract of his own, remains the most far-reaching of the new guitar slingers. If there were such a genre as bar-band fusion, he would be its ringmaster.

Widgeon Holland’s father, Travis, was one of Austin’s top country-rock bassists during the cosmic cowboy seventies. Young Widgeon (his real name, and it’s a long story) was singing at Sixth Street blues jams before he learned guitar at age thirteen. Now eighteen and managed by Chesley Millikin, the man who guided Stevie Ray’s career, Holland is as congenial as he is cocky, and he has ambition to burn. But so far, his reach exceeds his grasp, with solos that can sometimes ramble aimlessly. His chief asset is his quirky rhythmic sense, which shows on his reading of “The Spank,” by Austin blues journeyman Van Wilks. Indeed, Holland and Millikin have already made a video of the piece in the course of pursuing a label deal.

Paradoxically, the two guitarists who most closely resemble Vaughan are not mere imitators. In fact, both can really jolt a room, and both flaunt the raw, out-of-control edge missing from much of contemporary rock. Signs of wannabee ambition aside, both players bring something of themselves to their blazing bluesrock interpretations. Vince Converse, the twenty-year-old guitarist for the trio Sunset Heights, has cloned Vaughan’s gypsy cowboy look right down to the jeans tucked into laced boots, white peasant blouse, black hat, turquoise and silver jewelry, and peach-fuzz stubble on his chin. The resemblance is so deliberate that Houston critics routinely pan Sunset Heights as hopelessly unoriginal. But in live performances, Converse makes dazzling use of his arsenal of special effects, from wahwah pedal to whammy bar, and his solos move gracefully from noisy and flashy to quiet and meditative.

He can play a long break without running out of ideas, even if his showy technique sometimes freezes out emotion, and his rhythm section of Jason Young-blood and Little Joe Frenchwood is more flexible than most in the genre. Texas Tea, the trio’s debut album, which features such original sizzlers as “Moving On,” is due to hit record stores in the United States soon on Viceroy, a New York independent label. Texas Tea was produced by Peter Brown, who co-wrote for the original sixties power trio, Cream.

Kenny Wayne took up guitar after sitting onstage at a Stevie Ray concert produced by his father, Shreveport deejay and station manager Ken Shepherd. Today, sixteen-year-old Wayne works in a Vaughan-derived style in which he holds his bent notes just a tad longer than normal, producing a catchy off-kilter effect that has become his personal stamp. His Texas shuffles alternate with New Orleans second-line rhythms, and on a song like “While We Cry,” he begins with a Hendrix-like line that resolves into more-conventional blues. His manager-father reports they have just signed with Giant Records. But if anything gets in Wayne’s way,it will be that he doesn’t yet sing much; at the moment, his rhythm guitarist, Joe Nadeau, handles vocals, which pulls attention away from the man for whom the band is named. But when Wayne’s guitar comes to the fore, there’s no doubt who’s the star.

When Sue Foley arrived in Austin from Canada in 1990 at the invitation of Austin blues caretaker Clifford Antone, she was 21 years old and a five-year veteran of the white blues circuit. At first she seemed ordinary in every way except her gender; her early-1992 Young Girl Blues debut album showed her to be a tentative guitarist and an ineffectual vocalist. early two more years of steady work have matured Foley considerably, and her recent album, Without a Warning, spotlights more-assured guitar playing (including a solo on “Ruby Duby Du” that’s full of surprises) and stronger material (more originals than remakes). Even her vocals work better, perhaps because she can tailor her original songs to her slight, limited voice. In concert, Foley’s trio hits relaxed mid-tempo grooves that hold up against anybody’s, especially when she solos over them in a soft, high, single-note purr.

Jake Andrews, who is thirteen, is a tough call. He made his stage debut sitting in with Albert King five years ago, and right now, he has no peers near his own age: He has jammed with King, Buddy Guy, Albert Collins, and Gatemouth Brown; fronted a band of Antone’s all-stars at a blues festival in the Netherlands; and recorded with Austin stride-piano master the Grey Ghost. He has also completed an album of his own, with the help of producers Tary Owens and Jonathan Foose and his guitarist father, John Andrews (who played with the sixties bands Tracy Nelson and Mother Earth). At the moment, the producers are still trying to decide how the album can be marketed tastefully while Jake is still so young. Though he mostly performs blues standards like Freddy King’s “Hideaway,” Andrews also has some Hendrix in his twenty-song repertoire, and he has written one song. His blues fundamentals couldn’t be more solid, and his improvisations are fluid. But there’s still something disconcerting about a thirteen-year-old singing a blues number like Albert King’s sly “Personal Manager,” which hints, “I wanna be your personal manager, babe./I wanna do all I can for you. ” Perhaps jake agrees that he is too young for the part. Lately, he has been listening to Seattle rock and planning to form a grunge band of musicians his age. Now there’s a foolproof way to escape the inevitable Stevie Ray Vaughan analogies.

Which is as it should be. Each generation produces its own stars, who embrace and extend the sounds they grew up hearing. None of these artists will replace Vaughan, but with this many prospects, you can be sure at least two or three will keep the Texas guitar tradition going strong.

Rockin’ With Eliot Fisk

Posted by admin on July 4, 2012 with No Comments
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Those heavy metal fans who voted Eliot Fisk and his furious fingers Best Classical Guitarist in last year’s twenty-sixth annual Guitar Player magazine readers’ poll just won’t know what to make of his newly incorporated finesse. The entire disc, on MusicMasters, moves at such a splendidly slow and refined pace, it seems the kind of august work usually reserved for an aging master.

Jammin’ with E-Money.

Fisk’s touch and phrasing are so convincingly reminiscent of Segovia that there are times you may even mistake Fisk for the Maestro himself. Of all the guitarists who studied with Segovia and have recorded his repertoire, John Williams and Christopher Parkening included, no one has ever captured the Platonic ideal known as the Segovian sound. Not until dead ringer Fisk, that is.

“I really come out of the Segovia school more than anything else”, he says. “What an education for me to go back over Segovia’s work. You can’t roll back the clock and you can’t be somebody you’re not, but I’m so full of his spirit that I feel very, very close to him.”

While Fisk frames the record with four homages to Segovia, including Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Tonadilla on Segovia’s name, the bulk of the disc is Segovia’s own romantic miniatures. Like most guitarists, Segovia wrote pieces but rarely played them in public, the notable exception being his tiny encore Estudio sin luz. Segovia collated a set of 22 folk song arrangements (16 of which are on the disc) while riding out World War II in Montevideo. Fisk isn’t certain how many of the song settings belong to Segovia and how many he may have taken from another source, though he is quick to add, “They’re so idiomatic for the guitar, it seems quite possible that he may have done them all himself. That’s when he might have had time to have done these harmonizations.”

The pieces, scheduled for publication in 1941 by German-based Schott, did not appear, owing to the obvious wartime factor. The manuscripts were put aside for reasons unknown, and were finally discovered by Segovia’s widow, Emilia, who promptly offered them to Fisk, insisting that he be the only one to play them.

“Someone like Segovia, traveling around so much, doesn’t even know what he’s got and where”, suggests Fisk. “I think he may have just forgotten about them. And I think he did not consider himself a composer. He always said ‘Well, I’ve committed the sin of composing.’ These folk songs intrigue me first of all because it’s a completely new side of Segovia you wouldn’t have expected to have even existed. The other thing that’s interesting about these songs is the countries they come from. There’s typical England and Ireland and Scotland. But then come Serbia, Croatia, and Slovenia.”

In fact, Fisk has been using the Segovia tunes in concert as a message for world peace. That includes a recent Amnesty International benefit and a coming December recital at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. “Musically, you can put Serbia and Croatia right next to each other and there’s no problem, which I think is the way it ought to be.”

Fisk, who now lives in Granada, may seem an atypical heir to the Segovia mantle, but don’t tell that to Emilia Segovia, who considers Fisk a spiritual son of the Maestro. She’s been so enamored with Fisk that she gives him something of Segovia’s whenever he visits. Gifts, or icons as Fisk refers to them, so far have included one of Segovia’s watches, a footstool, a letter opener, and even a pair of suspenders. “She was extremely complimentary and sweet and supportive”, says Fisk of Emilia. “I’m not allowed to give even a note of Segovia’s folk songs to anyone else.”

Upon hearing a Segovia record at the age of 7, Fisk knew he had found his calling. In 1974, as a teen, he was finally introduced to the Spaniard by Rose Augustine, the editor of Guitar Review. “I went up to his hotel room, knocked on the door and there he stood. I couldn’t believe it. I was about 19, he was 81. And that’s pretty amazing that, at the age of 81, you can let somebody new into your life as he did with me.”

For many years after, when Segovia visited New York, Fisk would phone him for a lesson at his hotel room. “He never said to me ‘Don’t come’. To take that much time and interest in a young player is really extraordinary, particularly when I think about the middle generation, of whom the great guitarists are Julian Bream and John Williams, and how little interest they’ve ever shown in helping anybody, for all their wonderful attributes as players and people. It certainly hurt my generation a lot in that there has been nothing passed on from them. It’s very unfortunate, particularly when you contrast that with Segovia’s generosity.”

Fisk’s tutelage can be heard all over the Segovia disc. He even forgoes his own interpolations and lets Segovia’s fingers (or fingerings) do the walking. Only a few years back, one could never imagine Fisk capable of the rich, sentimental passing chords that characterize the Czech Tranquillo, for instance. Yet Fisk understands the tender heart of these little pieces like no one since, well, Segovia.

Now in the process of being published 55 years after the fact by Berben, Segovia’s folk songs are not only timely reminders of how ideal an arranger Segovia was, they’re also a wake up call to the lost approach of making music as a romantic art.

“It’s a general problem in classical music that the romanticism has faded away. It must come back because it’s the only thing that matters, the only thing that will ever attract the public”, insists Fisk. “Segovia changed everything whether it was written for guitar or not, but always to make it sing. And he improved things usually by simplifying in such a brilliant way that it sounded more expressive. He had the combination of extreme intelligence and extreme feeling. As an artist, you try to bring together the best aspects of being human. Segovia embodied that to me.”

Bringing Snoring To A Stop

Posted by admin on June 24, 2012 with No Comments
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Snoring is an issue that certainly a lot of people face. Despite not seeming dangerous, a person should try to solve his or her snoring problem. Snoring will lead to sleep deprivation that might cause heavy fatigue and further health complications. In some cases, snoring might be the symptom of potential heart disease. But do not fear, as there are many snoring remedies such as the snoring mouthpiece to help you solve the problem.

One of the solutions you can try is to change your pillows on a regular basis. Pillows are the home to dust mites. And once there is too many dust mites nesting in your pillow, allergens from these mites may actually cause you to snore. So, make it a habit to change to a new pillow every once in awhile. Another remedy that you can try is to not consume alcohol or other sedatives before you go to bed. Taking alcohol before sleeping will cause your muscles to relax. And when your tongue and the soft palate relax, it will cause a narrower airway in which air can flow to your lungs.

Start by trying each home remedy for a small period of time. Soon, you will begin to understand what works for you.

Snoring is a kind of sleeping disorder that is being found in people more than ever as the population increases. Nowadays people of all age group undergo this problem and you could say it has become a perpetual syndrome found among the common man. Snoring can happen due to various kinds of reasons. Sometimes fatigue and excessive nasal pressure can be the reasons for snoring. However, with the improvement of medical science, one can get rid of snoring habit very easily. A few easy snoring remedies are that can be undertaken by individuals are like usage of nasal strips, which are very easily available in the market. These nasal strips are very easy to wear and work wonders. These strips are very light in weight and it can be said that these are the ultimate solution for snoring remedies. One can get these nasal strips online and can order these strips with the help of internet sitting at home. These strips are so effective that the manufacturer offers a money back guarantee to all its customers in case it fails to work. All together, it can be said that nasal strips are the best solution that are available in the market, which fights snoring problem and eventually helps the individual to get rid of snoring.

Medicines typically will not cure snoring. This is because all snoring is not caused by a single factor. The reason for snoring varies from person to person. Age and gender difference can be a common factor for snoring. Once people reach their middle age, snoring usually seems to gradually become part of their sleep. It is also often noticed that men are more prone to snore than women are. Whatever be the reason for snoring, the right snoring remedies  can help eradicate this issue in course of time.

One of the best snoring remedies is proper food intake. A heavy dinner can be a surefire cause for snoring. So, be careful to have a light dinner as far as possible. Changing the sleep posture can also be of great help in reducing snores. Intake of alcohol is another common reason for snoring in sleep because it relaxes muscles and leads to the narrowing of the passage of air. Here it must be noted that though various things contribute to snoring, the root cause is always the narrowing of the air passage while breathing during sleep. When the passage is narrowed, air comes out with an audible sound. Therefore, snoring remedies focus on understanding what causes this narrowing in individuals and arrive at the specific lifestyle change that can make a definite difference.

Snoring is a problem that may be affecting about half of the population. The problem is usually common in men who smoke or are overweight. Here are some its main causes and remedies that will definitely show you the proper way of how to stop snoring. During sleeping, if you are not able to breathe properly then it can cause snoring. Sleeping on your back also cause snoring. Having large tongues or tonsils can also be a reason for this problem. Usage of alcohol, cigarettes and sleeping pills also cause snoring. The following are some remedies that are effective for snoring treatment.

  • Change the pattern of your sleep.
  • Avoid sleeping on your back. It will help you to breathe properly.
  • Lose your weight. It will help you to reduce the intensity of snoring problem.
  • Avoid taking any pills without doctor prescription.
  • Avoid usage of alcohol and quit smoking. Start breathing exercises.
  • Avoid dairy and fried products because these are a key reason for congestion in people.

Snoring can be a sign of a serious problem if it is persistent. You should consult your doctor in this condition. The physician will evaluate the actual problem. Call your doctor now if you have problems such as daytime, loud or heavy snoring. If your breathing stops during sleep and you experience inappropriate timing of sleeping, be quick and talk to your doctor about it.

Snoring Is Treatable

Many people have snoring problems but fortunately, now we have many snoring cures as well that help us to reduce or eradicate the snoring problem easily. Here are some cures that will surely work for some. Keep in mind that snoring can be serious sometimes and cause many problems for the sufferer. Therefore, you should know how to stop snoring fast.

A simple tip that can reduce your snoring problem is to bring some change in your sleeping position. If you sleep on your back, you restrict your air passages during breathing. This cause a sound we recognize as snoring. If you are overweight then try to lose weight. This will help you to reduce or completely stop the snoring problem. Along with it, stop using alcohol as well. Quit smoking, because cigarettes damage your throat passages and partially block the airway during sleep. There are some few cures that will definitely help you to reduce snoring. If you find that your snoring problem is persistent then you need proper treatment. You should not take it lightly. Consult with your doctor immediately. Good sleep is an important and necessary part of our life. So, take proper medications to solve this problem.

Those Conservative Guitarists…

Posted by admin on March 26, 2012 with No Comments
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It doesn’t make a lot of sense, but the musicians with the most nonconservative reputation are really a little fuddy duddy when it comes to their purchase choices. Other pastimes, like Hockey, Tennis and Golf continue to embrace new tools, new materials and performance enhancing equipment, whereas the world of the guitarist remains startlingly the same. It’s almost like time has stopped with guitarists.

Classic, or snoozeworthy?

The kid walking into the store may have a blue mohawk, a nose ring, tattoos, and a burning desire to rebel against “all the hypocritical conventions of our decaying society.” But, when it comes to buying his guitar, chances are he’ll come down on the side of the convention, play it safe, and pick one of the forty-plus-year-old designs that represent the mainstay of the guitar business. As popular musicians in every genre strive to lead the cutting edge, it’s more than a little ironic that they all seem to rely on guitars that predate the Lawrence Welk show. So much for the power of tradition.

As the accompanying chart illustrates, approximately 67% of new guitar sales are generated by three basic model types, the newest of which made its debut in 1955: the height of the accordion boom. In broad strokes, the three major guitar varieties, which are now produced by scores of manufacturers include: the dreadnought acoustic, first produced by Martin Guitar in 1916; the Les Paul type electric, characterized by two humbucking pickups and a set neck, and first introduced by Gibson in 1952; and the Strat type, which features a bolt-on neck and three single-coil pickups, first introduced by Fender in 1954.

The success of the these three mainstays has nothing to do with a lack of alternatives. Despite the market’s affinity for the tried and true, creative luthiers and designers continue to offer unique new instruments. Some gain visibility and commercial acceptance, like the completely original Steinberger headless bass. Unfortunately though, most are passed over by retailers and musicians alike. All of which calls to mind Winston Churchill’s observation about one of his political opponents. “He offers sound and original ideas. Unfortunately, the sound ideas aren’t original and the original ideas aren’t sound.”

The shockingly high failure rate of genuinely new guitar designs has done little to deter luthiers. On the following pages, we present a gallery of some of the more novel “sound and original” ideas that range from the sublime to the ridiculous, and end with a rhethorical question: why is it that guitarists are so remarkably averse to change?