Archive for January, 2011

Ok, so here we are at week three in the 52 weeks and this week, I thought Id mention a great singer songwriter I’ve known about for some time. I’ve recently been given some great bands to check out ranging from extreme BLEERUUGGHH metal who can shred paint from the walls to acoustic players who charm the angels with their delicate voices. So, I’ve decided to go with a great, soulful guitarist this week by the name of Dallas Green. Dallas is better known for his “other” band, Alexisonfire. Despite his playing in this band being great, I’m going to concentrate on his side project, City And Colour.

I first heard about City and Colour by total accident.  While I was browsing through a friend of a friends Myspace, I came onto a profile which had the song “Sometimes” playing on it.  The opening chords and melody had me hooked in a second and I had to know more about this guy.  The first album I came across is Bring Me Your Love (which does not feature the aforementioned track) and it remained on my Ipod play list for at least 2 months. (In fact, the track from this album “Sensible Heart” is in my top 25 most played songs on iTunes. )  Essentially, this is stripped down honest guitar songs with a  single voice and a simple guitar.  You can lump it into the singer/songwriter genre easily along with folk rock, acoustic rock but it’s always just plain brillant.  Its strummy, it’s picked, its dreamy and lots of other things that potentially make me sound like a giddy school girl, but its great. One of the highlight tracks from Bring Me Your Love for me is The Girl which is set in two parts. The main song focuses on every mans feelings about how selfless his other half is while he chases his dreams of being in a band and travelling around the world. The second part turns into a thumping sing along with guitars, banjos and harmony vocals stirring the soul. The video sums it up beautifully.

Dallas’s guitar playing is a mixture of strumming and finger picking and nine times out of ten, a capo.  Acoustically, I’ve seen him use a few things but his main stay seems to be an old 1940’s Martin.

City and Colour: A lesson in less is often more.

Check out:

City and Colour Youtube Videos


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So number 2 is going to be an all time fave players of all times, the late, great Dimebag.

I first heard the debut Pantera album, Cowboys From Hell, from a friend of mine back in 1993.  It was metal, but with groove? Unheard of in those times, esp when bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam and The Lemonheads were all the rage back then. Nothing anything even remotely metal was considered good or popular but Pantera changed that. Everything with Pantera had a story which was usually the stuff of legends even down to his own guitar. His lightening blue Dean ML with retro fitted Floyd Rose and custom pick ups.  He originally owned the guitar but sold it on but after some time, he began to miss it and hunted it down to be the guy to sell it back to him. The guy refused to Dimebag resigned himself to never owning it again. Then, one day the guy turned on his door step with the same guitar and handed it over to him saying Dimebag was a much better player than him.  It has been custom painted with the now legendary graphics and became his main guitar for many years.

Playing wise, Dimebag was mainly a metal and blues play, which coming from Texas, he would be.  If you just listen to the main riff of Im Broken, it oozes pure Sour Mash and the lone star state by the bucket load. Cowboys From Hell i defies the listener not to tap their foot along to the stomping riff which all based around the blues scale; a huge fan fave. Aside from the anthems, Dimebag also had his softer side too with such tracks as Floods and Cemetary Gates. End outro solo to Floods has been recognised as one his best solos when it scooped nearly all the awards in its year of release by all the main guitar mags and online polls.

Dimebag even managed to shock me when he started down tuning from standard E to D tuning.  Classic tunes like Walk used Drop D tuning but I had never wanted to down tune until he had started.  If he did it, I would have to do it and this lead to me using heavier tunings and looking to improve my use of pentatonic, blues soloing and straight up metal riffing.

Songs to seek out:
A New Level
Hard Lines, Sunken Cheeks
Domination (This version is classic)

Dimebag was tragically shot and killed while playing with his follow on band, Damageplan.  8th December is always the day I play Pantera albums as much as I can.

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John Lee Hooker is one of the best blues guitarists there has ever been in my opinion.  With such great songs as Boom Boom Boom and This Is Hip, he has a playing style which is rather simplistic at times but says so much, one of the original “Says it all with one note” kinda guys.  Alot of his early work was just him with no backing band, a common thing for early blues guys. Using his foot to keep the tempo, the guitar would be used to play the melody in between vocals or sparingly underneath a simple sung vocal line. An example of this is in Baby Please Dont Go which shows the downright dirty sound he managed to get.

Personally, I think his 1991 album “Mr Lucky” is one of his best and does really show his style off.  The title track featuring Robert Cray has some fantastic playing by Robert but underneath, you can still hear single note solos being played by John which aren’t very high in the albums mix but are still there.  In the track, Robert Cray’s guitar tone is very clean and plays the main melody while underneath, you can hear the slightly overdriven tone of John’s Gibson semi (easy at the back!) creeping out from underneath. He doesn’t seem to take a solo in the song but his little fills and licks underneath are well worth listening out for.  Another song from this album which totally blows me away every time I hear it is “I cover the waterfront” with Van Morrison which has some softly strummed guitar tones and Hammond organ to give a very sparse, simplistic song full of heart and soul. Wonderful.   Mr Lucky: a wonderful blues album which is varied and gives a great example of how blues can be moody and cheerful all at the same time.

Guitar wise, he tended to use Gibson ES-335 or semi’s in the similar style.


Songs to check out:

Boom Boom Boom (FYI: this was featured in the Blues Brothers film, which everyone has seen. And if you haven’t, you better had!)
This Is Hip
I Cover The Waterfront
One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer
Boogie Chillen

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So, welcome to 2011 guys and gals, I hope its everything you want it to be and full of positive things for you!

So I thought for a new blog,  Id try to put something up a little different for you guys to read. So, I have decided to find 52 guitarists (that’s one a week) for a year for you guys to check out.  So, prepare for a second post very shortly and lets see who I pick for week one!




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