Your Daily Dose of Guitar News & Reviews
Rig Rundown with Guthrie Govan
British guitarist extraordinaire Guthrie Govan (rhymes with "oven") recently gave Premier Guitar magazine's Rebecca Dirks a tour of his live rig, while on a tour stop in Chicago, Illinois, with his new supergroup, The Aristocrats, which features drummer Marco Minnemann and bassist Bryan Beller.
To learn more about the band, visit their official web site. To hear them in action, check out the video below the rig rundown.
Dallas Church Helps to Preserve Robert Johnson Legacy
Legendary bluesman Robert Johnson may or may not have sold his soul to Ol' Scratch to gain his otherworldly chops. But that hasn't stopped the First Presbyterian Church of Dallas from purchasing the building where Johnson recorded nearly half of the 29 songs that compose his complete catalog.
"Robert Johnson's signature song is 'Cross Road Blues,' and a lot of people we serve are at the crossroads, too, brushing shoulders with the negative side of life," Rev. Bruce Buchanan, an associate pastor at the church told the New York Times. "Johnson's story isn't foreign to us at all."
The building, which sits at 508 Park Avenue, in downtown Dallas, Texas, was the branch office of Brunswick Records in the 1930s. Don Law, a producer at Brunswick, was the man who recorded the final 13 songs of Johnson's career, including "Me and the Devil Blues," "Love in Vain," and "Traveling Riverside Blues." But for many years, the location of where those recordings took place was a mystery. In 2005, a letter surfaced in which Law named 508 Park as the site.
In 2009, the wholesale distribution company, Glazer's, applied for a permit to level the building, but it was denied. Then First Presbyterian stepped in and purchased the site, promising to renovate the property and thus preserve its cultural and historical significance.
The renovation is slated to begin next year and will include a cultural center, a performance space, an art studio, a music education center called "The Spirit of the Blues," and, fittingly, a recording studio.
For the complete story, visit NYTimes.com.
Steven Wilson Brings Live Surround Sound Show to NYC
So there was a lot of hoopla this past Friday, 11-11-11, about how people were going to celebrate the once-in-a-century date. I was rather fortunate to have spent the evening at the Best Buy Theater in New York City, where prog-rock titan-in-the-making Steven Wilson presented his latest album, Grace For Drowning—in live surround sound!
Wilson, who is also the leader of Porcupine Tree, is not only a tremendous composer, artist, and producer in the progressive rock realm but also quite the audiophile, having mixed and produced his last few PT albums in surround sound. I've been fortunate to have been invited to hear these albums in all their surround glory during special listening sessions at New York City's Avatar Studios, and each has left me totally blown away.
Due to a scheduling conflict, I missed the chance to hear Grace For Drowning when he previewed it earlier this year; however, Friday's performance more than made up for it, as it was the first time I'd ever experienced a live show in surround. In addition to the sort of special sound effects you'd expect to be fed through rear speakers, Wilson also ran various live and pre-recorded backing vocals in surround, resulting in total immersion of pitch-perfect harmonies, particularly on "Sectarian" and "Postcard."
Although the audio certainly held the starring role, this evening was a complete audio-visual experience, with beautiful, penetrating, and sometimes startling visuals produced by filmmaker and longtime Wilson collaborator Lasse Hoile perfectly complementing the evening's soundtrack.
Wilson's stellar band—Marco Minnemann (drums), Nick Beggs (bass/Chapman Stick), Adam Holzman (keys), Theo Travis (sax/flute), and PT touring vet John Wesley (guitar)—met the high expectations and then some. Although Wilson's material is very complex and highly structured, there was still plenty of room for improvisation, and the group capitalized on every opportunity.
There are currently only three dates left on Wilson's brief North American tour: Montreal (11/15), Toronto (11/16), and Chicago (11/18). If you're within 200 miles of any of those shows, go! It's a live concert experience like no other, I promise you.
Greatest Debut Album for Rock Guitar
Considering the incredible bodies of work put together by the top guitarists of the past 50 years or so, it's amazing that so many of them knocked the ball out of the park with their debut albums. From the blues-rock of Are You Experienced and Led Zeppelin I to the fretboard pyrotechnics of Van Halen I and Rising Force, every one of these albums forever changed the landscape of guitar playing. Vote for your favorite below.
To get official guitar tab for each artist, simply click on their name.
Are You Experienced Jimi Hendrix (1967)
Move over, Rover, and let Jimi take over. With his 1967 masterpiece, Hendrix set the bar so high for a debut album that few—if any—guitarists have ever matched it.
Led Zeppelin I Jimmy Page (1969)
Taking the electrified blues work of Hendrix and plugging it into a heavy rock structure tinged with psychedelia, punk, and folk music, Page took Cream's "riff-rock" to a whole new dimension.
Black Sabbath Tony Iommi (1970)
With Iommi's ominous tritone riff of the opening title track, heavy metal—in all its forms—was born.
Van Halen I Eddie Van Halen (1978)
Like Hendrix 10 years prior, Eddie Van Halen turned the guitar-playing world on its ear with his monster tone, frenetic lines, and what is still the greatest 1:42 of rock guitar playing in history.
Blizzard of Ozz Randy Rhoads (1980)
Combining Van Halen's highly saturated blues-based rock lines with neoclassical influence, Randy Rhoads set the table for the shred movement that would officially begin just four years later.
Texas Flood Stevie Ray Vaughan (1983)
With his stunning debut, Texas titan of tone Stevie Ray Vaughan essentially became the Eddie Van Halen of blues guitar. Though his lines were steeped in the work of Albert King, Lonnie Mack, and other blues greats, SRV added a fiery touch of rock attitude and singlehandedly revived the blues genre.
Rising Force Yngwie Malmsteen (1984)
The greatest shred guitar album by the greatest shred guitarist of all-time. Like Van Halen before him, Malmsteen did things on the guitar previously thought impossible.
Appetite for Destruction Slash (1987)
At a time when point-headstock guitars, spandex, Aqua Net, and high-octane quasi-shred guitar ruled the rock roost, along came a '70s-styled, top-hatted, Les Paul-wielding "anti-guitar hero" playing blues-based lines that harkened back to the days of Zeppelin and Aerosmith, reminding guitar players everywhere that it was OK if you weren't prettier than your girlfriend.
Texas Blues Legend Doyle Bramhall Dies at Age 62
Texas blues legend Doyle Bramhall died from heart failure in his sleep Saturday night (11/12), at home in Alpine, Texas, at the age of 62. He reportedly had been suffering from pneumonia in recent days.
Bramhall was famous for his work in Austin, Texas, with both Jimmie Vaughan and Stevie Ray Vaughan, as well as his great solo efforts. A top-notch drummer, singer, band leader and songwriter, over his 40-year career Doyle helped to define the Austin blues scene. Many of his songs, such as "Change It" and "Lookin' Out the Window," became staples of Stevie Ray Vaughan's repertoire, and the two eventually formed a songwriting partnership that yielded such classics as "The House Is Rockin'" and "Tightrope," among others.
Bramhall's son, Doyle Bramhall II, continues in his father's tradition as a major musical force, both as a solo artist and as collaborator/guitarist for Eric Clapton from 2004-2009.
To read more about Bramhall's illustrious career in the blues, visit his artist page at Yep Rock Records. Doyle will forever be considered an influential and important figure in Texas blues, and he will be deeply missed by his legions of fans.
Here's Bramhall's "Too Sorry," taken from his 1994 release Bird Nest on the Ground. The tune was written and sung by Bramhall with Stevie Ray Vaughan on guitar, Lou Bovis on piano, Tommy Shannon on bass, and Chris Layton on drums.
Van Halen to Play 2012 Grammys
Amy Sciarretto of Noisecreep.com reports that Van Halen will headline the 2012 Grammy Awards show, set to take place in February 2012. The official announcement is expected at the Grammy Nominations Live! concert that takes place on November 30.
Still no new news on when the group's first album with singer David Lee Roth in 27 years will hit the streets, though it's still purported to be sometime in early 2012.
Creed to Perform First Two Albums in Special Engagements
It's hard to believe that nearly 15 years have passed since Creed released their 1997 debut album, My Own Prison. The album, which was originally recorded by the band on a $6,000 budget, went on to sell over 6 million copies on the strength of modern-rock tracks like "One," "What's This Life For," "Torn," and the title track, thus setting the band up for one of the most successful runs in modern rock history.
To commemorate the 15th anniversary of their stunning debut, Creed has announced that they will hold special intimate two-night events in Chicago, New York and Philadelphia in April 2012 to perform My Own Prison and their second, even more successful record, Human Clay, in their entirety. The band will perform one album on each night of the special engagement along with hits from their albums Weathered and Full Circle. Tickets will be available on November 19th. For more information and pre-sale info visit www.creed.com.
"My Own Prison and Human Clay are very special albums for us and I look forward to performing them for our fans," said singer Scott Stapp. "The songs bring back a lot of great memories for me and I hope for them too."
Special Show Dates:
April 13 Chicago, IL (My Own Prison)
April 14 Chicago, IL (Human Clay)
April 16 Philadelphia, PA (My Own Prison)
April 17 Philadelphia, PA (Human Clay)
April 19 New York, NY (My Own Prison)
April 20 New York, NY (Human Clay)
Creed guitar tab books: