Friday, October 1, 2010

Short but SWEET.

Been very busy since the last update on here... I wanted to take a minute to post this short film, made available this week to everyone via Neil Young on youtube.  It's a short film featuring Neil performing solo electric guitar songs off his new record, "Le Noise."  You don't have to be a big Neil Young fan to appreciate this music, or this film.  The record was produced by Mr. Daniel Lanois, most famously known for his production of U2 and Peter Gabriel's albums.  Don't let the 39-minute run time scare you.  The least you can do is cue through the film and see if any of it catches your eyes, your ears.  It will.

"Le Noise" - Neil Young

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Michael Hedges: acoustic guitar visionary

Upon discovering a rash of early video clips of one of my all time musical heroes recently posted on youtube, I decided it is obligatory that Michael Hedges be my next blog entry.

First and foremost, a special note of thanks goes out to Mr. Randy Lutge for both taking the time to post all of this video footage, and for being willing to share his vast collection of rare video of the legendary guitar visionary Michael Hedges.

What many people don't know is that Michael is almost solely responsible for revolutionizing the approach to modern acoustic guitar composition and performance.  It was said that Michael did for the acoustic guitar what Jimi Hendrix did for the electric.  I back this statement 110%, having been a longtime fan of Michael's, having seen him perform numerous times over many years, and having listened to his entire body of work many times over.  What I can also add with fair certainty is that nobody else will come along in my lifetime who can play the instrument with such astonishing skill and exacting mastery as Michael did.  Sadly, in the peak of his flourishing career, Michael died in a car accident in the Fall of 1997.  The news of his passing was extremely shocking, and a devastating blow to an enormous body of fans, friends, and his family.  Personally, I have never felt such a strong impact as Michael's death had in comparison to any other musician's passing.  The man was an absolute musical genius, pioneering the use of string-stopping, among many other fascinating skills he employed on the steel string guitar.  Hammer-ons, pull-offs, plucked harmonics, tapping, and many other techniques were the foundation of everything Michael did on the guitar.  He was also very into high-end amplification for his guitars, using both magnetic pickups and transducer pickups, the latter which turned the guitar body into a microphone, picking up all of Michael's thumps and slaps and the guitar.  He had incredible ears, and a knack for mixing the house sound at live shows to near perfection.

I could go on, but mainly I hope to introduce new listeners to his music, helping his legacy live on.  You can check out the rare video clips I mentioned earlier at Randy Lutge's youtube page:  

Michael Hedges' website:
Here are two more select clips that I feel are essential viewing.  The final clip was amateur footage taken from one of Michael's final concerts in November 1997.  It illustrates where he was with his playing at the time he left us, and perhaps a very subtle hint at the quirky character he was.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


If you haven't heard of José James, we're off to a great start.  His recent rise in fame is owed much in part to British über-DJ extraordinaire Gilles Peterson, a man responsible for launching many musicians' careers over the years, and who has an inherent knack for seeking out the freshest voices and sounds in music.  Gilles met José James in 2006 in London, and in 2008 James was signed to his Brownswood Recordings label and released his first record, "The Dreamer."  Two years later, after strong positive reception by critics for his debut, James is back with his sophomore release, "Blackmagic."
First and foremost, the secret weapon behind everything James touches is his amazing vocal chops.  I can truly say I haven't heard such an incredibly gifted male singer as this since I became exposed to Kurt Elling in the 1990's.  He has absolute control over his instrument, pitch perfect and controlled with the skill of a virtuoso horn player.  "Blackmagic" has a broad appeal that will not only scoop up fans of Jazz, Soul, Hip-Hop, and Electronic music for the ride, but is sure to snatch up new fans from all over the musical map.  Mr. James has an extensive background in jazz singing, but don't let this fool you.  This is some of the freshest music I've heard in years; enough variety to make the entire disc enjoyable, and you won't find yourself skipping tracks while listening.  This record has been in my collection now for six months, and it continues to thrill my ears today as much as it did in February, if not more.
Do yourself a musical service and listen to samples of "Blackmagic" on the internet:  When you fall under the Blackmagic spell, you'll know it's time to head out to your local independent record store and snag a copy of your own.


Thursday, August 5, 2010

music i've seen

I thought I'd start off with a list of some of the artists I've seen in concert.  There have been so many shows over the years that it would be impossible to remember every one of them, but this list should give a good feel for what I've been into in the past.  Here goes:

2. Depeche Mode
3. Metallica
4. The Pixies
5. M.C. Hammer + En Vogue
6. John Denver
7. James Taylor
8. Charlie Hunter (solo, duo, trio, quartet, quintet, etc...)
9. Pat Metheny Group (also solo, trio)
10. Pantera
11. Neil Young
12. Pearl Jam
13. Red Hot Chili Peppers
14. Goldfrapp
15. Peaches
16. Jamiroquai
17. Kaki King
18. Michael Hedges
19. O.M.D.
20. Metric
21. Faith No More
22. Dave Matthews Band (first in ’94 at Good Times in Eugene)
23. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
24. Blind Melon
25. UB40
26. Michael Franti & Spearhead
27. Diana Krall
28. Tuck & Patti
29. Air Supply
30. Bebel Gilberto
31. Liz Phair
32. Alice In Chains
33. Soundgarden
34. Steely Dan
35. AC/DC
36. Cat Power
37. Dan Fogelberg
38. Van Halen and Van Hagar
39. Lily Allen
40. Blackalicious
41. Sonic Youth
42. Patricia Barber
43. R.E.M.
44. U2
45. St. Vincent
46. Tori Amos
47. Jimmy Smith
48. Beth Orton
49. Steve Miller Band
50. Grateful Dead
51. Santana
52. John Scofield
53. Joe Satriani
54. Medeski, Martin & Wood
55. Stanton Moore
56. Soulive
57. Leo Kottke
58. Alex DeGrassi
59. Indigo Girls
60. Dar Williams
61. Blues Traveler
62. Ottmar Liebert & Luna Negra
63. Don Ho
64. Stanley Jordan
65. Morphine
66. The Go-Betweens
67. Billy McLaughlin
68. Michael Manring
69. Matt Sheehy
70. The Black Keys
71. Elysian Fields
72. Amadan
73. Asleep At The Wheel
74. John Renbourn
75. Pierre Bensusan
76. Adrian Legg
77. String Cheese Incident
78. Anne Murray
79. P.J. Harvey
80. Sleater-Kinney
81. Storm Large & The Balls
82. Quasi
83. Dan Balmer
84. Tom Grant
85. Michael Allen Harrison
86. Dan Faehnle
87. Ben Wolfe
88. Thara Memory
89. Bernard Purdie
90. Viva Voce
91. The Crazy 8’s
92. Dan Reed Network
93. Johnny Limbo & The Lugnuts
94. The Gossip
95. The Bad Plus
96. Ben Taylor Band
97. Tommy Emmanuel
98. Norah Jones
99. George Winston
100. Gin Blossoms
101. Widespread Panic
102. Charlie Musselwhite
103. Jackson Browne
104. Phish
105. Master Musicians of Jajouka
106. Spyro Gyra
107. Mike Clark
108. Mose Allison
109. Clarence Gatemouth Brown
110. KVHW
111. Tenacious D
112. Los Lobos
113. Garaj Mahal
114. Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe
115. Robert Randolph and The Family Band
116. Keb’ Mo’
117. John Hiatt
118. Mark O’Connor
119. Throat Singers of Tuva
120. Kylie Minogue
121. DJ Logic
122. Fat Freddy's Drop
123. Os Mutantes

Some of these are obscure, some are based out of Portland, Oregon, my hometown, some are no longer with us.
There you have it.

birth of the blog

Upon the suggestion by many of my friends over the years, I've finally decided to start a music blog.  One of my greatest joys in life is telling others about great music, usually stuff that you don't really hear on the radio or see on television, save for a few select radio stations and cable channels out there.  I listen to a lot of music, and would describe my tastes as eclectic.  I will listen to anything once, and enjoy combing the entire music spectrum on the road to new musical discoveries.
A word on "genres:"  as we move forward in time, music seems to have become more and more difficult to categorize into musical genres (e.g. Jazz, Rock, Pop, Blues, Classical, Gospel, Country, etc.).  There is a great deal of "cross-over" where, for example, you might find an artist who is equal parts Jazz and Electronic, making it difficult to categorize them as one or the other.  Which brings me to the goal of this blog:  to inform people of what I vaguely refer to as "quality music."  Exciting, goosebump-inducing, adrenaline-stirring aural stimulation.
I may occasionally mention films and other art medium on here, but foresee the main medium to be music.  Hopefully my words will encourage and expand others' tastes in music, and help steer popular music to a much higher standard, where the listeners dictate what we hear, rather than corporations.