People often ask my who my guitar heroes are. I have the obvious answers: Leo Kottke, Michael Hedges, Tuck Andress, Christopher Parkening, Steve Stevens, etc. But the original guitar hero for me was my Dad. When I was a kid, my Dad would get out his guitar and play little concerts for me and it was the most mesmerizing thing in the world for me. It was just amazing. My Dad could strum an acoustic guitar and sing like no one else I've ever heard, to this day. Imagine Jim Croce with a lot more rhythm and a…Read more
I go back and forth and back and forth on this issue. My early years of playing guitar, from the age of 12 to about 16, I only ever used a flat pick to play the guitar. I rarely finger picked. Then, when I started to learn solo jazz guitar at 16, I started to use a flat pick in conjunction with some basic finger picking with my middle, ring, and pinky fingers. A few years later, I got really into playing classical guitar and some basic "fingerstyle" guitar. Then, eventually I sort of stopped using a flat…Read more
Like many others, I was shocked to hear of Eddie Van Halen's untimely passing this last year. What an amazing guitarist. Due to the acoustic and mellow nature of my music, some people might be surprised to learn that I listened to and tried to play Eddie Van Halen's music as much as I could when I was younger. What an incredible musician. Eddie Van Halen changed everything for electric guitarists, actually all guitarists. Acoustic guitarists tap pretty regularly now, and say what you want, but very few…Read more
O.K. This is a big topic with guitarists. Guitarists generally seem to compose original music fairly easily. I've worked with a lot of music students and it seems like guitarists always write original music of some kind while that is rare with other instrumentalists for some reason. Maybe it's because the guitar is such a visual instrument in which you can sort of "see" all the notes right there on the fret board. But, and you guitarists know what I'm going to say here, guitarists resist reading music more…Read more
Today is Christmas Eve at the tail end of the strangest year any of us have ever seen.
As many of you know, I released a solo guitar Christmas album a few years ago that has been surprisingly popular. It sure surprised me how popular its been.
I've heard it played in many places at Christmas time. It's a very strange experience to hear music over a sound system in a store and not know why the music is grabbing my attention until I realize it's me playing over the speakers. That's really strange when I hear…Read more
In the last few years, I've developed a habit of tracking down and purchasing collectible memorabilia from my youth. The internet has made this pretty easy and it's amazing what you can find. My worst habit here is tracking down collectible Star Wars memorabilia (comic books, action figures, toys, etc.). But another area that I like to track down are artifacts from my early life with the guitar. That sounds weird. I don't know how else to say it, but now that I wrote that sentence, it just gave me some…Read more
I'm sort of known for playing a lot in alternate tunings these days so it might come as a surprise that I resisted alternate tunings for years and even considered alternate tunings to be "cheating" on the guitar. Wow. How funny when I remember that opinion. It was just a fear of something unfamiliar, envy of a technique that seemed unfathomable to me, and some weird thought that it was was "wrong." That seems crazy to me now, but I inhabited that frame of mind for years.
For those of you who are unfamiliar…Read more
I just put out a new album titled "Symmetry." It's a little different. It has sort of mix of styles, 12 string, classical, folk, world, spacey stuff, etc. It's got a pretty good variety of songs, all solo guitar. Please check it out on Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, or where ever you listen to music.
Musicians perform music for people to listen to.
There, I said it. I know a lot of musicians bristle at an idea like this. Many musicians feel that they perform music only for themselves. I understand that, and there always has to be a very personal element to it, and you have to play what makes you happy. But, I think that many musicians (myself included), often lose sight of the idea that if they're performing or selling music, someone else, a listener, who isn't performing with you, needs to able to…Read more
What a year? We are living through certainly the strangest time I've ever lived through.
I put out a few new albums this year/end of last year.
The Hymns Album
Jazz on a Classical Guitar
Christmas Guitar, Volume 2
Lots of work. Recording an album can drive a person crazy. There's several different phases of an album.
1. You write the music, or in the case of covers, you come up with arrangements. I do this by writing out all the songs on tablature paper. I read standard notation but I greatly…Read more