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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!


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Showing posts with label Billy Gibbons. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Billy Gibbons. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Supersonic Blues Machine Return with CALIFORNISOUL on October 20 - Featuring Special Guests Billy Gibbons, Steve Lukather, Eric Gales, Walter Trout and Robben Ford


SUPERSONIC BLUES MACHINE ANNOUNCE THE GLOBAL RELEASE OF 
CALIFORNISOUL ON OCTOBER 20 VIA MASCOT LABEL GROUP / PROVOGUE

ALL-STAR CAST INCLUDES BILLY GIBBONS, STEVE LUKATHER, ERIC GALES,
WALTER TROUT AND ROBBEN FORD

Los Angeles, CA – Supersonic Blues Machine, featuring Fabrizio Grossi (bass / producer), Lance Lopez (guitar / vocals) and Kenny Aronoff (drums) has announced the global release of CALIFORNISOUL! On October 20 via Mascot Label Group / Provogue Records.  The title, available on CD, double vinyl, download and streaming, presents the sound the band spent much of 2017 sharing with audiences from Texas to Holland and India to St. Petersburg, Russia, picking up right where the they left off on their well-received debut record, West of Flushing, South of Frisco. Grossi shares, ““CALIFORNISOUL! That’s exactly what it is. It’s the missing soundtrack to a summertime drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 1971!”

Recorded at Fab’s Lab in North Hollywood, California, the repertoire is all about great songs.  “Cry” is a soul searching, simmering piece of poetry and Lance Lopez preaches it in the most righteous way. “I Am Done Missing You” is another number that reaches down deep with a message that will resonate with both spurned lovers and those who have left their bad habits and ways in the past. Californisoul is a study and celebration of the human condition, and “This Is Love” could be the lovechild of Bob Marley and War with some stinging guitar action spread on top. We’re living in times in which it’s hard to keep on keeping on, and it’s easy to fall prey to habits, vices, and distractions - “Elevate” takes a close look at the “high” life, and how one must raise above the temptations and tribulations if the music is to be made.

Fabrizio Grossi talks about a soundtrack for an imaginary road trip up the California coastline in the heady, halcyon days of the early 70s, and that really captures the vibe and mojo that is Californisoul. The songs Grossi has written for this album are as top notch as they are diverse. This machine covers a lot of ground. As the ever-tighter core of Lopez, Grossi, and Aronoff comes together with the elite of the modern-day blues rock community, this is much closer to Woodstock and Watkins Glen than it is to a cut and paste A-list vanity session. This is about friendship, the brotherhood of the blues, and bringing the blues up to this moment in time.

Lance Lopez is once again at the front and center.  His guitar work is as hot and gritty as anything ever cooked up down in Texas, and his singing evokes memories of the great soul, blues, and rock vocalists. You’ll hear the influence and heritage of Bobby “Blue” Bland, the funk of Sly Stone, and the world-weary rumination of the late, great Gregg Allman, but Lopez never really sounds like anything but himself. Kenny Aronoff is truly one of the most in-demand drummers on the planet, and his work on the album is one of the ingredients that make the record so special. Aronoff has also brought along his substantial arranging and compositional skills to great effect.   Whether performing with John Fogerty, BoDeans, Sir Paul McCartney, John Cougar Mellencamp, The Smashing Pumpkins or Supersonic Blues Machine, he is simply one of the best players on the planet.

Guests on the album include Billy Gibbons, who returns with pen and guitar (“Broken Heart”), Steve Lukather (Toto / Ringo’s All-Starr Band) throws down some stunning licks (“Hard Times”), Eric Gales is back in the fold (“Elevate”), Robben Ford brings his bag of soulfully sophisticated chops (“Somebody’s Fool”), Walter Trout brings some silky slow blues (“What’s Wrong”), and the party is rounded out with Alessandro Alessandroni Jr. on keyboards, Serge Simic (co-writer and background vocals on “Love” and “Hard Times”), and Andrea and Francis Benitez Grossi (background vocals). You may come for the stars, but you’ll stay for the whole show.

Fabrizio Grossi adds, “Lots of people have been saying to me ‘why does Supersonic Blues Machine always bring guests around? You guys can stand your own ground’, and there are three answers to that – first, we’re all super friends and we're having a blast; second, most of them don't give lessons and for us it's only way to learn their secret "ways"; and thirdly, because the inspiration and the challenge they bring to the table!”  Supersonic Blues Machine is truly a family as well as a band, and these guests don’t mail it in, they stay for dinner. The community aspect is very real, and one of the band’s great treasures.


The complete track listing features: “I Am Done Missing You,” “Somebody’s Fool” (featuring Robben Ford). “Love,” “Broken Heart” (featuring Billy Gibbons), “Bad Boys,” “Elevate” (featuring Eric Gales), “The One,” “Hard Times” (featuring Steve Lukather), “Cry.” “The Stranger,” “What’s Wrong” (featuring Walter Trout), “Thank You,” “This Is Love.”

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Jeff Beck Plays Screaming Slide on an Oil Can Guitar

The guys at Bohemian Guitars just posted this live concert video of Jeff Beck playing one of their oil can guitars. Is there anything Beck can't play? (-----ah....no!) BTW, Beck's very first instrument was a cigar box guitar he built as a child. Here's a close-up shot of Beck and his Bohemian oil can guitar. A certain cigar box guitarist stands beside him.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Texas '51 Records artist: Van Wilks - 21st Century Blues - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, 21st Century Blues, by Van Wilks and it's quite good. Opening with Strange Girl you immediately hear strong,Texas blues rock framing and pop styling. Singer, songwriter, guitarist, Van Wilks is joined by Tommy Taylor on drums, Reggie Witty on bass and Billy Mason on keys for a clever opener. Billy Gibbons penned, Drive By Lover, has a lot of the drive of ZZ Top and there is actually quite a bit of similarity between Wilks' and Gibbon's voices. With a driving bass line and fluid blues guitar riffs, Wilks shows his stuff. On Golddigger, the band has a strong swagger and warm guitar rhythm. This is a super track and sans a few hot pinched harmonics and other stylistic guitar tricks, this could be ZZ Top. Very nice! One of my favorite tracks on the release, Just Walk Away, is a bluesy ballad with a lush melodic melody and nice guitar underpinnings. There's A Sin In There Somewhere has a much more primitive feel on the intro with an acoustic resonator and vocal but cranking to a full blown rocker. Cutting loose with super bass runs and hot rock guitar riffs, this track is smoking. Title track, 21st Century Blues, has a pop style melody with a strong chorded structure. Wilks keeps the overall guitar work and airy with harmonics and light slide. Who's Foolin' Who is a strong rocker with a cool hook. Never shy on interesting guitar riffs and solid rhythm from Dave Ray on bass and Charlie Fountain on drums, this track is consistent with the overall feel of the release. Hot Texas rock. She Makes Me Crazy is a straight forward rocker with additional guitar work from Christopher Cross and Manford Milligan on vocal. Fluid guitar runs, drums by Scott Linningham and bass by Andy Salmon and keys by Stefano Intelisano, another solid rocker. Quiet ballad, If I Were A Rich Man, shows off some of the most sensuous guitar riffs on the release, with howling slide work and easy paced vocals. Can't Stop Thinking is really straight down the middle pop rock in the vein of 38 special or such. It has a solid beat, a catchy tune (and you can dance to it) with some hot guitar riffs to close it. Living On Borrowed Time is a polished rocker with twin guitar leads and a solid melody. Wilks takes his guitar for a nice walk on this one backed by Tommy Taylor on drums and Reggie Witty on bass, with nice vocal harmonies between Wilks and Witty. Wrapping the release is Midnight Crossing, a surreal track with lots of space and guitar reverb and added percussion by Wilks . A cool melody on this one with only the voice of a Mexican Angel, Maria Estela Rafffone, creates a cool and unique closer.

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Monday, August 10, 2015

Silvertone/RCA Records artist: Buddy Guy - Born To Play Guitar - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Born To Play The Blues, from Buddy Guy and it's terrific! Opening with title track, Born To Play Guitar, Guy starts at his roots with a primitive blues track with basic blues picking supplemented by Rob McNelley on resonator and Guy on strat and super blues vocals. Terrific start! Wear You Out is a great boogie featuring Billy Gibbons trading vocals and guitar riffs with Guy. Backed by Tom Hambridge on drums, Rob McNelley on guitar, Kevin McKendree on Clav and Glenn Worf on bass this track rocks! Classic styling on Back Up Mama features McNelley on slide and Guy on strat trading riffs. Buddy is just such an exceptional performer and his vocals are tight. His calling card frenzied guitar riffs kick this track in the back side giving it that extra punch and McKendree's piano is tight. Kim Wilson joins Guy on swing track, Too Late. His harp riffs blend nicely with Guy's vocals. Whiskey, Beer & Wine has a great groove driven by Doyle Bramhall II, McNelley, Hambridge and Michael Rhodes (on bass). Reese Wynans lays in some real nice B3 and Clav and Guy switches off to an uncharacteristic ES335 for a rounder tone blending nicely with his vocals. Shuffle track, Kiss Me Quick, shows some of Guy's best vocals on the release and his guitar tone from the 335 have a real nice roundness. Kim Wilson adds some hot harp riffs and McKendree's piano work is hot! Crying Out Of One Eye is a cool track with a trace riff from Otis Rush. With an overall R&B feel, this track has a clever concept in title. It reminds me of something that I supposedly said to my parents when I was a kid "I'm laughing on the outside but crying on the inside" as I was taking my punishment for a bad deed. Guys uses the one eye crying for the foolishness of someone who really doesn't hurt. I really like it. With it's almost BB King like guitar riffs and backed by the Muscle Shoals Horns this track packs a punch. On classic R&B track, Baby You Got What It Takes, Guy is joined by Joss Stone and her vocals are clear and sweet as honey. I'm not a big "star collaboration" guy, but Stone has joined another of my favorites, Jeff Beck, on his performances and in both cases she has shown not to be just a calling card on a piece of paper but a real cool singer who can hold her own with the real heavyweights. Turn Me Wild has a real nice strut with Guy nicely punctuating his own vocals on guitar and Billy Cox driving the groove on bass. Some of the slickest guitar work on the release is on this track with Guy taking his strat for a nice walk. Crazy World is an easy soulful ballad with Reese Wynans holding the course with B3 and Guy just singing his guts out. Short meaningful guitar work by Guy is smooth and articulate with a lot of grip. Smarter Than I Was has a vibrant rhythm part by Hambridge, and a cool underlying guitar part by Rob McNelley... and crisp guitar bursts from Guy set this track on fire. Excellent! The big R&B hammer is dropped with Thick Like Mississippi Mud. "Good Whiskey and Women"... shoot...you got me already! Guy gets into one of his classic grooves (Think Damn Right I've Got The Blues) and there's no holding him back. Guy works up a real guitar frenzy on this track literally blowing the lid off! McKendree on piano, Worf on bass and the Muscle Shoals Horns prod him along and he responds with flames! Easy going ballad, Flesh & Bone, in concert with Van Morrison is a nice ballad of both men's style. Trading lead vocal spots, this is probably (after Thick) the most radio likely track on the release. Thick because of it's power and F&B because of it's natural tenderness and melodic sensibilities. Wrapping the release is Come Back Muddy, a stripped down blues number featuring Wymans on upright piano, Bramhall II on 12 string, Michael Rhodes on electric bass and Guy on acoustic guitar and vocal. Classic blues chords and lines give it a primitive feel but it's "modern Guy" getting into a real nice acoustic groove with tight guitar solo's. The release is opened in easy style and closed in easy style. This is a really nice release from Guy and one with a lot of heart. Check it out!

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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Garbage Man Blues - Buddy Guy & Billy Gibbons

Along with the late Stevie Ray Vaughan, ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons is unquestionably one of the finest blues-rock guitarists to ever emerge from Texas. Born on either March 4 or December 16, 1950 (both dates have been given in the past), and raised in Houston, TX, Gibbons grew up in a home that favored both classical and country sounds, but upon discovering Elvis Presley via an appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, Gibbons became transfixed by rock & roll. It wasn't long before he discovered other early rock & rollers (Little Richard) as well as bluesmen (Jimmy Reed) via a local radio station. Soon after receiving a Gibson Melody Maker electric guitar and a Fender Champ amp for Christmas in 1963, Gibbons began emulating his heroes -- forming his first band when he was 14 (the Saints). The guitarist later joined a group around the mid-'60s called the Coachmen, who specialized in more psychedelic-based sounds, inspired by the likes of Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, and the local Texas outfit 13th Floor Elevators (led by a young Roky Erickson). Gibbons' band eventually changed their name to the Moving Sidewalks, issuing a lone album in 1968, Flash, although an early single, "99th Floor," would later receive attention when included years later on the Pebbles: Vol. 2 compilation. While the Moving Sidewalks never made a splash outside of Texas, Gibbons must have been pleased when Jimi Hendrix (with whom the Sidewalks toured with around this time) began endorsing the guitarist as one of his favorite new players to the media. Rio Grande Mud When the Moving Sidewalks folded in 1969, Gibbons sought to form a more straight-ahead, boogie/blues rock-based band, and after hooking up with a pair of other fellow Texans, bassist Dusty Hill and drummer Frank Beard, ZZ Top was born. The power trio slowly but steadily built up a solid following, largely due to Gibbons' tasty guitar playing and muscular riffs (especially evidenced on such renowned tracks as "La Grange" and "Tush"). Over the course of five classic albums over a six year's span (1970's self-titled debut, 1972's Rio Grande Mud, 1973's Tres Hombres, 1975's Fandango, and 1976's Tejas), ZZ Top became one of the country's top rock bands before taking a three-year break. When they returned, the musical climate had changed considerably, and ZZ Top opted to change with the times -- as a more modern, electronic sound was merged with their blues rock roots on such albums as 1979's Deguello and 1981's El Loco. But with the release of 1983's Eliminator, the new approach came together for the group, while both Gibbons and Hill happened to come across a gimmick that will be forever associated with the group -- long and stringy beards that grew down to their chests. It didn't hurt that the group was responsible for some of MTV's most popular video clips of all time (which always seemed to primarily focus on good looking girls and a snazzy 1933 Ford three door coupe, rather than the bandmembers) - "Give Me All Your Loving," "Sharp Dressed Man," and "Legs." Gibbons and Hill also became known for their assortment of matching and outlandish guitars, which were also always on display in their videos. Feel This But the trio's newly acquired commercial direction caused some consternation amongst longtime fans, and by the mid-'90s, new ZZ Top's albums failed to sell as well as their earlier titles had, although a large and loyal following still flocked to their shows. A long-time vintage guitar collector, Gibbons owns some of the world's most cherished and rare guitars, including a particular instrument that he's become synonymous with, a 1959 Sunburst Les Paul Standard (which he dubbed "Pearly Gates"). In addition to music, Gibbons supposedly owns several automotive-related patents in his name, is an avid painter, and collects rare African art and artifacts, amassing so many that he was forced to store them in a warehouse in Houston. Besides recording with ZZ Top, Gibbons has been known to go by the alias Justis Walkert -- appearing on recordings by Jeff Healey (Feel This) and the Rainer & Das Combo (The Texas Tapes). But it's obviously Gibbons' exceptional playing with ZZ Top that he's best-known for, as the guitarist has influenced a wide variety of players over the years, including the Meat Puppets' Curt Kirkwood and Pantera's Dimebag Darrell, to name but a few. If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, ”LIKE” ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorite band!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

All-Star Cast of Musicians Joins Les Paul Trio Guitarist Lou Pallo on Special CD/DVD Tribute to the Guitar Master, "Thank You Les"


An All-Star Cast of Musicians Joins Les Paul Trio Guitarist Lou Pallo on Special CD/DVD Tribute to the Guitar Master, Thank You Les

Special Guests Include Keith Richards, Steve Miller,

Billy F Gibbons, Jose Feliciano, Slash, Bucky Pizzarelli, Nokie Edwards, Melinda Doolittle plus More Notables and Members of the Les Paul Trio

DOVER, NJ – An amazing array of all-star musicians join guitarist Lou Pallo in paying tribute to the legendary Les Paul with the September 11 release of a unique CD/DVD titled Thank You Les, produced by Showplace Music Productions in Dover, NJ, and distributed in the U.S. and Canada by the Allegro Corporation. The exciting new release plays as a love letter to the iconic guitar player and recording innovator from these artists who were influenced and inspired by his artistry and innovation. The music covers styles ranging from pop and jazz, to country, rock and blues. The guest artists include guitarists Keith Richards, Billy F Gibbons, Steve Miller (who also penned the package’s liner notes), Jose Feliciano, Slash, Johnny A, Bucky Pizzarelli, Arlen Roth, Nokie Edwards (The Ventures), Frank Vignola, Bob Leive, Tommy Doyle and Jon Paris, as well as singers Eddie Brigati, Jr. (The Young Rascals) Blondie Chaplin (Rolling Stones), Nicki Parrott (Les Paul Trio), Lexie Roth, Melinda Doolittle (finalist on “American Idol” season six) and members of the Les Paul Trio.

The 21 tracks of pure guitar bliss on Thank You Les, including many of Paul’s personal favorites plus others from the great American music songbook, were recorded organically on analog tape by Ben Elliott, Chief Engineer at Showplace Recording Studios. Thank You Les will be available as an individual CD and DVD, as well as in a combo package including both discs. The DVD documentary is a full-length, fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the making of the album, and is loaded with interviews, rare photos, musical performances and bonus features.

The musical thread that runs throughout the CD and the DVD film documentary is the relationship between Les Paul and his long-time friend and rhythm guitarist, New Jersey-based Lou Pallo, who many credit with helping Les Paul revitalize his career as a live performer after they first met in 1963 and soon after began performing together. It was Pallo who stood on stage with Les for his extended run of weekly performances in New York City starting in 1984, first at Fat Tuesday’s in Greenwich Village for 10 years, and later at the Iridium on Broadway, which became the “hot ticket” destination for not only thousands of music fans, but also for any musician in town who wanted to tip their hat and worship at “The House that Les Paul Built.”

“Les was my guitar idol and I was honored to work beside him and call him my friend for so many years,” says Lou Pallo. “This tribute allows Les’ musicianship and sense of humor to take center stage giving everyone the opportunity to experience the Les Paul we knew well and the music he adored.”

In his loving remembrance of Les Paul in the package’s liner notes, guitar great Steve Miller fondly recalls not only Les Paul the musician, but also the family friend (Les was Miller’s Godfather) who spent part of his honeymoon with Mary Ford visiting at the Miller family’s house in Wisconsin. “Even after becoming one of the most influential musicians and inventors of the 20th century, Les Paul always had time for everyone from Tony Bennett to Johnny Rotten and anyone in between,” writes Miller. “He never judged you by how you looked or what kind of music you played, but by your character and your commitment to music. It’s a tribute to the kind of human being Les was that he was always willing to share his spotlight with any musician brave enough to come forward to say hello.”

“So, this album is a tribute to Les Paul, truly one of the most enjoyable and creative musicians to ever live. He was a modest man who always gave more than anyone I’ve ever known. It’s a heartfelt thank you from just a few of his many friends for his wonderful music, inspiration and friendship.”

Plans are in the works to celebrate Thank You Les with a CD/DVD release show in New York City featuring Lou Pallo and special guests. To view a trailer from the Thank You Les DVD: http://www.thankyoules.com/index.php/component/allvideoshare/video/highlight-reel For more information, visit www.thankyoules.com

Thank You Les – Partial Recording Credits

1) Avalon – featuring Frank Vignola – guitar; Lou Pallo - guitar

2) Mr. Day/Tell Me What's the Reason – featuring Steve Miller - guitar and vocal;

Lou Pallo - guitar

3) Caravan – featuring Nokie Edwards – guitar; Lou Pallo - guitar

4) Tennessee Waltz – featuring Lou Pallo – guitar; Nicki Parrott - bass and vocals

5) September Song – featuring Billy F Gibbons – guitar; Lou Pallo - guitar

6) It's Been a Long, Long Time – featuring Keith Richards - guitar and vocal; Lou Pallo - guitar and vocal

7) I'm Confessin' That I Love You – featuring Eddie Brigati, Jr. – vocal; Bucky Pizzarelli – guitar; Lou Pallo - guitar

8) Mister Sandman – featuring Arlen Roth – guitar; Lou Pallo - guitar

9) Bésame Mucho – featuring José Feliciano - guitar, vocal, congas, shaker; Lou Pallo - guitar

10) Brazil – featuring Frank Vignola – guitar; Lou Pallo - guitar

11) Vaya Con Dios – featuring Lexie Roth – vocals; Arlen Roth – guitar; Frank Vignola – guitar; Lou Pallo - guitar

12) Deep in the Blues – featuring Slash – guitar; Lou Pallo - guitar

13) Nature Boy – featuring Steve Miller – vocal; Lou Pallo - guitar

14) Memories of You – featuring Tommy Doyle – guitar; Lou Pallo - guitar

15) Smile – featuring Blondie Chaplin – vocal; Lou Pallo - guitar

16) Carioca – featuring Frank Vignola – guitar; Lou Pallo - guitar

17) Just One More Chance – featuring Bucky Pizzarelli – guitar; Lou Pallo - guitar

18) St. Louis Blues – featuring Jon Paris - vocal, slide guitar, harmonica; Lou Pallo - guitar

19) Sweet Georgia Brown – featuring Johnny A – guitar; Lou Pallo - guitar

20) Out of Nowhere – featuring Nokie Edwards – guitar; Lou Pallo - guitar

21) Over the Rainbow – featuring Melinda Doolittle – vocal; Lou Pallo – guitar

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Deep Ellum Blues - Blackberry Smoke with Billy Gibbons


You can call Blackberry Smoke’s music southern rock and you wouldn’t be wrong. Or you could call it country and you wouldn’t be wrong, either. But you would be selling both the band and its legion of fans short by trying to fit them solely into one genre. With influences that run the gamut from country to bluegrass to metal to gospel and yes, southern rock, Blackberry Smoke is more than the sum of its diverse parts.

“None of us have ever said, ‘Let’s be a southern rock band or a bluegrass band or a country band’,” Blackberry Smoke front man Charlie Starr explains. “We all love the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Stones and the Faces and Hank Williams and Bill Monroe. It’s not about what kind of music it is, as long as it’s good and it’s honest. When we get together it just sounds the way it does.”

The group, which is made up of Starr, sibling rhythm section Richard and Brit Turner (bass and drums, respectively) and guitarist Paul Jackson, formed in 2000 and quickly made an impact. Thanks to individual and shared reputations for entertaining, the foursome hit the road hard. “We had gigs right away,” says Richard, who with Brit had been in a popular Atlanta band that opened for national touring acts.

One of the fledgling group’s early supporters was Jesse James Dupree of Jackyl, who invited the group to tour with his band. “He’d heard a demo and thought it was fantastic,” remembers Charlie. “It was trial by fire. We played every scary dive between here and there… and a few real nice ones, too. From that tour we made relationships with club owners, promoters and DJs that we still have today,” says Charlie.

Touring soon became a way of life for the band. Among the many acts the group has shared the stage with are ZZ Top, Montgomery Gentry, The Outlaws, Marshall Tucker Band and Cross Canadian Ragweed.

While the group has deep southern roots—Starr is from Alabama, the Turners are from Georgia and Jackson hails from Florida—it first found success north of the Mason Dixon line. “We got big in Wisconsin and Michigan and worked our way back to Georgia,” Brit says with a smile.

Not only did the band mesh when it came to touring, they also clicked when it came to musical aspirations. “We had an unspoken vision of what the band should sound like,” Charlie says. Paul agrees, “Everybody brings something to the table.”

The group found inspiration in some of the greatest bands of all time. “The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin would make records with great rockin’ songs and also some honky tonk country and blues,” explains Charlie. As such, diversity is important to Blackberry Smoke. “It makes it more enjoyable for the listener than staying in a little narrow hallway,” Brit says. “And for the players, too.”

Good music is good music, the band believes, no matter the style. “There are moments in our show that are straight out of a Jimmy Martin or Flatt & Scruggs set list,” Charlie says. “Bluegrass is a beautiful form of American music. Just like southern rock, bluegrass is about really good songs and good musicianship,” he adds. “You just spread out and see where it will go.”

The quartet, which has built an international following thanks to the Internet and a universal love for good music, self-released its debut, Bad Luck Ain’t No Crime, which was produced by Dupree, in 2004. A few years later, they followed up with the country-centric EP New Honky Tonk Bootlegs.

Acclaimed producer Dann Huff (Bon Jovi, Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts) agreed to produce Blackberry Smoke’s second album after coming to see the band live. “We were excited because we knew what a great musician Dann is,” says Charlie. “He said, ‘I love what you guys do and it’ll be great when we go into the studio that I don’t have to bring in studio musicians to play on it.”

True to his word, Huff encouraged the band to bring their road show into the studio. “We did not use any gear that we don’t have on our trailer, except for a 12-string acoustic,” remembers Charlie.

“Dann’s impressive in every aspect,” Charlie says of Huff. “He’s such a great musician and producer, with great ideas and great ears, and he has such a love for music. If we were arguing with one another, he would always help us find a middle ground.”

The result is Little Piece Of Dixie, a fresh yet familiar collection that fuses Blackberry Smoke’s diverse influences with its road-honed musicianship.

The band, which pens most of its own songs, is also astute enough to realize that a great tune can come from outside its four walls. “Everybody should tip their hat to Hank Williams as the greatest songwriter that ever was,” Charlie says.

To that end, the album is a complementary mix of songs written by the band and some of Nashville’s top songwriters, including Lee Roy Parnell, David Lee Murphy, Gary Nicholson, Craig Wiseman, Randy Houser and Rob Hatch.

The music is already spawning reaction—the hard-driving, layered riffing of “Up In Smoke” popped up in EA Sports’ NASCAR 08, and anthemic first single “Good One Comin’ On” was featured prominently in the Kevin Costner political comedy Swing Vote.

Keyboardist Brandon Still from Lancaster, SC was added to the band’s line up in 2009.

The final piece to the puzzle came when Zac Brown signed the band to his Southern Ground label in the Spring of 2011.
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Friday, January 20, 2012

Tech Talk - ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons Rig Rundown


If anyone likes guitar gear more than me...it's Billy Gibbons. Here's a rare chance to look at a bunch of Billy's current gear. Elwood Francis who gives us a look at ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons' array of guitars, including the famous fur guitar, and lets us in on how Billy has everything set up for their tour.
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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Unusual Suspects - Leslie West - New release review


I just received a copy of Leslie Wests new recording, Unusual Suspects. The release is well put together and has all the pyrotechnics expected from a Leslie West recording. I don't know how many of you have been keeping up with West's recent releases but his last 4 or 5 releases have been primarily blues recordings and really spectacular. West has a great voice for blues and of course then there's his guitar tone!! Alas no videos from these releases so I'm happy to be able to finally present you with some real footage!!

This release is more rock in nature but still has the blues overtones and plenty of guitar to go around.

Leslie West, Legendary guitarist and the founder of one of rocks most influential bands, Mountain, will release a brand new solo album, 'Unusual Suspects', on Monday September 19th.
The album features West alongside a hand-picked line-up of the world's finest guitar players; including Slash, blues-rock guitarist Joe Bonamassa, Black Label Society front man and ex-Ozzy guitarist Zakk Wylde, ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons and Toto's Steve Lukather.

Released by ProvogueRecords, the album follows the shocking news that, in late June, West underwent life-saving surgery, when his leg was amputated above the knee. While such an ordeal would surely deter lesser artists, West insisted on honoring the 'Unusual Suspects' album’s September release date and is gearing up for a US tour in October.

"These guys don't just show up to play on everybody's albums," says West on his special guests and the album's title. "They're all stars in their own right, and fantastic players - everyone with their own sound and style, about as far from the usual suspects as it gets."

If you like your blues with a flavor of rock you'll wanna give this a listen and if you want hot nasty blues that screams make sure that you catch one of his most recent releases. They are all killer!
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