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Friday, February 17, 2012

Drugs and music

Well another very talented musician died. Whitney Houston was such an amazing singer, but her life was shortened by drugs. Why do some people get into drugs? The moth flying too close to the flame. There are so many people in the music business that have died from drugs or alcohol directly or inadvertently. Among them, Jimi Hendrix, Chet Baker, Brian Jones, Gram Parsons, Charlie Parker, Janis Joplin, John Bonham, Bon Scott, Mike Bloomfield, Keith Moon and Jaco Pastorius. As a musician, I just don't get it. I have seen drugs and certainly lots of drinking on gigs, sessions and tours, but most musicians I play with have families and take their playing very seriously. You can't be practising constantly and striving to be the best player you can be when your high or hung over. Simple as that. The strange mystique that heroin had back in the 40's when Charlie Parker was shooting and younger players thought they could play like him if they shot heroin like him, doesn't fly today. The players that are actually living that have had serious drug and drinking problems regret it. Just ask Eric Clapton. He even hosts a day long event called Crossroads, an all-star concert which raises money for an addiction rehab clinic of the same name.

The media is making such a huge deal out of Whitney Houston's death. Any death that is premature is a sad thing but when drugs are involved it becomes much less sad for me. She was a grown woman who decided to go down that road. She became a different person and lost that beautiful voice but she decided that fate. Everybody knows that drugs are a descend to hell yet she did it anyway. She was also a mother which makes that decision even more horrible. I don't want to sound cold but are we really surprised at the outcome. Same goes for Amy Winehouse. Waste of talent.

On a better note I had a nice gig with my country group Echo and Twang last Friday. Really enjoy playing country music and have been practising my country chicken pickin'. Listening to guys like Brent Mason, Steve Gibson, Vince Gill, Albert Lee and Danny Gatton.

Listened to:

Ricky Skaggs "Life is a Journey" - A great country recording by the great Ricky Skaggs who is not only a great guitar and mandolin player but also a great singer and songwriter. This recording features Brent Mason on electric guitar, Jerry Douglas on dobro, Stuart Duncan on fiddle and David Hungate (former Toto member and LA session musician) on bass among many others.

Randy Travis "Always and Forever" - Country singer Randy Travis became a huge hit in 1986 when his first record "Storms of Life". He was a breathe of fresh air in the country world and sounded like a modern Lefty Frizzell. This record features Mark o'Connor on fiddle, Brent Mason and Steve Gibson on acoustic and electric guitars, Jerry Douglas on dobro, Paul Franklin on pedal dobro, Doyle Grisham on pedal steel and David Hungate on bass. Fantastic record.

That's all for now.


  1. David Hungate plays on so many Nashville records now. I also have some Vince Gill records that have Willie Weeks on bass and Carlos Vega on drums. Amazing... and Lyle Lovett's brand new album has Russ Kunkel, Dean Parks and Viktor Krauss on it. I guess Nashville is now, what LA was in the 70s!

    1. You're right. Huge recording scene in Nashville and more than just country which it's obviously known for. Guitarist Dan Huff who is a former LA session guy is now one of the biggest country music producers in Nashville. Deep talent pool in that city. Guys like guitarist Brent Mason and dobro player Jerry Douglas can stand toe to toe with the best anywhere. Larry Carlton and Michael McDonald have also lived there for years.