Derek Trucks (Eric Clapton, Allman Brothers Band, Derek Trucks Band, Tedeschi Trucks Band) is one of my favorite guitarists. I recently saw him perform at the Beacon Theater along with the rest of the Allman clan, and it was the most magical concert experience I’ve ever had. I couldn’t even bring myself to write about because I didn’t (and still don’t) have words for it.
I stumbled upon this video of a 13 year-old Trucks playing Duane Allman’s legendary slide guitar solo from Layla. Even at 13 the guy was unbelievable.
What’s so interesting is that his stoic and professional manner is completely unchanged.
Almost two decades later here he is alongside his wife and one of my favorite vocalists Susan Tedeschi performing another Derek & the Dominos song, Anyday.
Two of the most moving concerts I’ve ever had were seeing this Derek Trucks live. As great as he is on a record or YouTube, they really don’t capture the power of seeing him perform. Treat yourself next time he’s in town. I promise you won’t regret it.
Insane guitar duo, and my favorite band Rodrigo y Gabriela (RyG) have released a new live album called Live in France.
It basically captures their latest tour, and most of their second studio album 11:11 (minus Atman, Logos & Master Maqui).
RyG are the only band I know of where I at the very least like every song they have released. I absolutely love their music, and Live in France is no exception.
Five songs stand-out:
Hanuman (dedicated to Carlos Santana) – This rocking first track will get your blood flowing
Gabriela’s Solo – Gabriela is easily one of the most incredible guitarists playing today. Her approach to playing rhythm guitar while filling in percussion blows me away even after years of watching her play. Most guitarists, I can watch and feel confident that if I practice my ass off, one day I could play like that… I have never once felt I could, or ever will be able to reproduce a single bar of her work. Ever. Needless to say, her solo is spectacular.
11:11 (dedicated to Pink Floyd) – Spacey and beautiful, whenever I listen to this song I find myself wishing it would last for 20 or 30 minutes.
Rodrigo’s Solo – The dude can shred, and this solo rocks. Most shredders play on electric guitars with a ton of distortion, Rodrigo does it on an acoustic guitar without distortion. If you don’t play guitar, let me assure you, what he does is incredibly difficult.
Tamacun – My favorite track on the album, Tamacun is a party in song form.
This may sound ridiculous, but I’m upset that there isn’t more on this album.
I saw RyG on this tour at Radio City Music Hall, and two of the standout performances for me were Atman performed with Alex Skolnick, and Orion performed with Metallica’s Rob Trujillo. I desperately wanted recordings of those performances on this album, and I’m very disappointed by their absence.
To be blunt, as great as Live in France is, the show they put on in New York was better.
This album is so good that my only complaint is that it isn’t longer. RyG manage to create difficult and unique music that is also very intense and beautiful. It’s a rare feat.
Regardless of your musical tastes, I think you will find something to love on this record.
Buy Live in France:
Jonny Lang & openers Moreland & Arbuckle
June 28, 2011 @ BB King’s Blues Club
This was an odd show for me for two reasons.
- I didn’t know any of Lang’s material
- I got stuck near the most disrespectful audience members I’ve ever encountered
Why’d I go to the show?
I know Jonny Lang from his collaboration with other artists. I’ve heard him play, and he’s always been good. Plus, any guitarist who has earned the respect of Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton & Carlos Santana is a guitarist worth watching.
The Opener - Moreland & Arbuckle
Every so often an opening act takes you by surprise. Moreland & Arbuckle almost knocked me on my ass.
They’re a stripped down, hard rocking, heavy blues band. These guys all clearly live and breathe rootsy blues music. They were all excellent, but what stood out to me was the band’s synergy, passion & guitarist Aaron Moreland.
Moreland played most of the show on a four string cigar box guitar. It sounded like he had a bass string on it, and three guitar strings (I could be wrong). He played the hell out of that thing with a metal slide, and damn near melted my face off. It was fun to see.
The M&R guys successfully sold me a few albums, and I hope I get to see them again soon.
Their new album Just Had a Dream is due on August 23.
Moreland & Arbuckle set the bar really high. Fortunately Jonny Lang & Co. put on one of the finest shows I’ve seen.
Jonny is a psychotic guitarist, and man is his voice soulful.
Then there was his band. I can’t get over how much talent he packed on that stage. These guys were total monsters, and when they got to jamming, they made the music soar. When they took solos they each displayed a terrifying amount of technical skill, class and soul. It’s hard to find the balance, and they all did.
Finally, there was Barry Alexander, Jonny’s drummer. He combines raw power and total control in unspeakable ways. No one as big as Alexander should be that nimble and quick.
(Watch the whole thing to get an idea of his range, watch the second half if you just want to be impressed)
Alexander’s solo made my week.
I see a lot of live music, and I’ve dealt with my fair share of obnoxious drunks, but last night I met the most disruptive concert attendees I’ve ever encountered.
We had a pair of couples next to us who wouldn’t stop talking. The music got loud, they got louder. The music got quiet, they stayed loud. If you’ve never listened to Lang, he pretty much plays as much quiet music as he does loud.
My girlfriend and I took turns politely asking them to keep it down. After all, it wasn’t a cheap show to see. Each request worked for about a minute before they returned to conversing at the top of their lungs.
After about four polite requests, they were yelling over a beautiful acoustic piece and in desperation I yelled, “WOULD YOU PLEASE JUST SHUT UP!”
They yelled back, “We’re in church.” Which was true, but besides the point.
Then, the cherry on this insane sundae came a minute or so later when one of the guys approached me and expressed his desire to assault me. Now most people don’t know this, but I don’t take kindly to threats of physical violence, and years of being a scrawny geek taught me that backing down from people like this usually makes matters worse.
I hate fighting, but I’m not a pacifist. I’ve learned that most fights can be avoided by scaring the shit out of the aggressor. I turned on the crazy eyes and explained to him with some rather colorful language what would happen should he choose to throw a punch. It worked again, and he backed off.
But seriously, who the hell tries to start a fight during a quiet emo-bluesey acoustic song at a Jonny Lang concert?
Bunch of savages in this town.
The show was great in spite of the disruptions. I didn’t know Lang’s music, and I still loved the show. He made a fan out of me.
I’d love to see Moreland & Arbuckle and Jonny Lang again soon. Hopefully next time I won’t have to deal with nasty, self-important drunks.
Regrettably it’s been a while since I’ve gone for a guitar lesson, but for three years I consistently studied with Billy Roues.
Billy’s very talented guitarist, and a great teacher who plays with a number of bands in as many styles. Rock & roll, cajun zydeco, rockabilly, country, blues, he plays it all with his own unique style.
I just learned that one of Billy’s bands, The Roues Brothers has a song featured in the hit video game, Fallout: New Vegas. Their song, I’m Movin’ Out can be heard in the game world on two different radio stations, Mojave Music Radio and Black Mountain Radio.
I haven’t played Fallout: New Vegas largely due to the time commitment that the game requires… It’s time I would rather spend writing or playing guitar these days. Nevertheless, it’s really fun to hear Billy’s music in such a great video game.
Here’s a video I recorded of Billy’s band the UpSouth Twisters performing Canned Heat’s hit song, Going Up the Country.
To purchase some of his albums check out:
The Roues Brothers (iTunes)
(Via Fallout Wiki)
Steve Jobs took center stage at the Apple iPad Event and presented the iPad 2 to the world.
The iPad 2 is evolution, not a revolution like it’s predecessor, but it’s clearly the 800 lbs gorilla of the tablet market.
They gave the iPad a specs boost to rival the top tablets being released by Motorola, HP & RIM. They also kept the price low and beat the competition; which is unusual for Apple.
Cover (not a case)
One of the new features that Apple revealed was a nifty magnetic cover that unlocks the device when you open it. The cover also allegedly cleans the screen.
The cover is cool, but at $40 for a plastic cover, and $70 for a leather cover, the prices are fairly insane. The profit margins on those covers must be outrageous.
iMovie & GarageBand Apps
The standout of today’s press event were the iMovie & GarageBand apps. They look gorgeous and functional.
My biggest complaint about the iPad and tablets in general is that they are terrible for content creation. If you want to code or write, the damn things are basically useless. However if you play to the hardware’s strengths and turn it into a movie and music creation platform, you might be able to make some really cool things with them.
I had an iPad from work, and it didn’t do much for me. For the first time I’m thinking about buying a tablet of my own specifically because of these two apps.
I really like Android phones, but looking at the current and upcoming batches of Android tablets nothing is really blowing me away.
The Motorola Xoom is competitive with the iPad on specs, and Android Honeycomb is nice, but the app market isn’t there for Android tablets, and the Xoom is way too expensive when compared with the refined experience that Apple is offering.
Motorola seems like it is trying to make the Xoom a premium product, but I think it’s generally unwise to attempt to out-premium Apple. It’s a losing battle.
The HP Touchpad and Blackberry Playbook have some cool features, but they are too late to the market. They may rival their competitors with a few features, but I doubt they will introduce anything so magical as to even dent Apple’s tablet dominance.
If you really want a tablet now (or in the next six months), the iPad 2 is the way to go.
If you’re willing to wait a while, I bet there will be some sick Android tablets available around Christmas.
If you wait a year (maybe less?), the iPad 3 is already rumored as a full revolution of the tablet market.