Solos, Soli, Flat Picking, Shredding, Mind Blowing, And Cetera

While explaining to me the merits of John Mayer, my friend, who has not similar but overlapping tastes, said he was first drawn into the sordid world of Try! and Continuum when he heard a John Mayer song on the radio, and it had an actual guitar solo. Music for the past ten years has focused on vocalists and not bands, so a guitar solo in a song on the radio can be cause for jubilation, but a solo good does not a song make.

Equadoran musician and friends perform

Canterbury House, an Episcopal campus ministry offers a concert series open to all. This Tuesday, the Winona Taxo University for Cultural Exchange, a unique educational initiative between North and South America will be holding its first concert at Canterbury House. Ecuadorian musician, Oscar Santillian, Ann Arbor folk musicians Laz and Helen Slomovits and students from The University of Michigan School of Music Jazz Department will play music that features a blend of both cultures. Canterbury House offers a great mix of innovative musical performers from jazz, electronic and folk genres.

Want Radiohead's new album? Name your price!

"In Rainbows," the latest album by consummate alt rockers Radiohead, is garnering attention. Unlike with the now legendary OK Computer, however, it's not for it's musical brilliance. In fact, the album isn't even out yet. Instead, Radiohead's getting press because they're letting you name your own price to buy it.

Aside from the obvious pricing mechanism, Radiohead is innovating in several other ways. First, the album is only available for digital download on the band's website. Second, the album will be DRM-free. Third, the band is bypassing the traditional gatekeepers of music, the recording industry.

Like Prince's July 2007 scheme with his latest album Planet Earth, Radiohead's actions are likely to anger an industry exec or two. But should they be afraid? Might artists be able to bypass them altogether and get their music out to the masses? Will such promotions only work for musical demigods like Prince and Radiohead? What do you think?

Rodrigo & Gabriela

rodrigo y gabrielarodrigo y gabriela

Quite the year for Rodrigo Y Gabriela, making the top 10 new bands best album of the year in Rolling Stone Magazine (Mexico) and currently they're nominated for an MTV Leftfield "Woodie" award.
The two met as teenagers in Mexico City, but are currently living in Dublin. Influences range from family salsa records to their passion for metal music. Treat yourself to a sampling of their sound on myspace.

The Diversifyin’ Late 60s/Early 70s, Part IV: Hot Burritos

No group was on the front of the country-rock movement more than The Flying Burrito Brothers. After Gram Parsons’s brief stint with The Byrds, where his influence resulted in the country Sweetheart of the Rodeo, he pilfered Byrd Chris Hillman and formed the new band. Unlike blues-rock, country-rock is ultimately indistinguishable from country and caters to the same crowd. Parsons brought his high lonesome voice and songs about heartache and drinking into a bona fide country group, whose sound was highlighted by the amazing work of Sneaky Pete Kleinow on pedal steel. Though FBB albums are hard to find, the library has a greatest hits.

Coffee House Series Presents...

Looking for some folk music this weekend? Check out the Green Wood Coffee House Series concert at the First United Methodist Church on Green Rd. tonight, Friday, September 28. Ellen McIlwaine will be demonstrating her amazing blues slide guitar and vocal skills. A Canadian native, Mcilwaine only does a few gigs in the U.S. So don't miss her performance. Also, take advantage of the homey atmosphere and reasonable cost of concerts in this series.

The Diversifyin’ Late 60s/Early 70s, Part III: Why Isn’t There Rock-Blues

If rock is blues and country, then is blues-rock just bluesy blues and country? How blues is blues-rock in comparison to rock? Of course, if someone in 1956 called a group or artist “blues-rock,” it most certainly would have been redundant, but by the time of the sub-genre explosion in rock music (or as I like to call it, The Great Rock Schism) in the late sixties, all sorts of groups like Cream (and for that matter, any of Eric Clapton’s groups,) The Spencer Davis Group, The Rolling Stones, J. Geils Band, Fleetwood Mac (Peter Green’s version,) and hoards more identified themselves as blues-rock.

Great Lakes Myth Society playing in town this Friday

Southeastern Michigan’s Great Lakes Myth Society bring their blend of folk, pop and rock music back to Ann Arbor this Friday for a performance at the Blind Pig. A common theme throughout many of GLMS’s songs is Michigan and its natural surroundings. Singer/Songwriter Timothy Monger explains, “to reference our home in song has always been a natural reaction. It was only when we noticed how strong the themes were that the desire to center our project within the Lakes took hold."
Check it out for yourself on their latest album. Side note: In the song “Marquette County, 1959” the singer croons “Jimmy Stewart came to Marquette County in 1959.” This is true and references the film Anatomy of a Murder which Jimmy Stewart did indeed film in Marquette in 1959. (It’s a gem of a film costarring Lee Remick in a sassy roll.)

The Diversifyin’ Late 60s/Early 70s, Part II: Never Mind The Sex Pistols

Truly, as far as punk rock is concerned, we must remember two things:
1) Never say you like punk because you like The Clash. That’s like saying you like rap because you like Run-DMC. Of course you like The Clash. They rule. That goes unsaid. Saying you like The Clash is going to make people think you don’t know what you’re talking about.
2) The Sex Pistols are awful. If you haven’t heard their one record displaying how truly bad and nonsensical their music is, don’t bother, because the Pistols are not the end all, be all of punk. Near the end of the punk’s prominence, a London clothier fabricated this band to capitalize on the punk fashion scene.

The Diversifyin’ Late 60s/Early 70s, Part I: The Name of The Band Is Yes

Most people (rightfully) believe rock music came from the hybridization of country and blues music. After all, the early rock and rollers like Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Jerry Lee Lewis played nothing more than twelve-bar blues with a country backbeat. But toward the end of the sixties, rock music had a sub-genre explosion, with rock and roll giving way to [blank]-rock (the blank filled with some adjective, e.g. “hard,” “country,” “blues,” and cetera.) Progressive rock, though, while still in the blanket term of “rock,” has little to no blues background. Yes, especially by the time they hit their stride with The Yes Album and Fragile, were little more than a classical music ensemble playing rock instruments.

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