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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Life in the pit. Playing musicals.

Sorry for the long delay between posts. I've been busy playing and teaching which is good in this industry.

Just finished a run of the musical "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" here in Toronto and man was that fun. The band was in the pit which means we never actually saw the play. We would hear it above and behind us but I have never seen the musical "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels"! It was a fourteen piece orchestra with strings, horns and percussion along with a rhythm section consisting of the usual electric bass, drums, keyboards and yours truly filling the guitar chair. Challenging charts with lots of stylistic changes. Country, rock, jazz, samba, and even a tango. That makes for an interesting night and keeps it interesting. I used my Fender Blues JR. tube amp with my Boss "63 Fender Reverb pedal, Boss DD-3 delay, Seven Sisters "Eve" tremolo pedal, Wampler "Hot Wired 2 " Brent Mason  Overdrive/distortion pedal and a volume pedal. The Wampler Hot Wired is basically two pedals in one with an overdrive and a distortion section plus you can blend both if need be for a "peel the paint off the wall" sound. Great pedal which I used to it's fullest on this show. I also used nothing but telecasters because I think they are the most versatile guitars and easy to switch between pickups and volume etc. Leo Fender really nailed it when he invented the Telecaster. I have 4 teles and used all of them for the show but just one per night. The butterscotch '52 re-issue (third from the left) I've had for twenty years and has probably been on almost every session I've done and countless gigs with the road scars to prove it. They are all great teles.

As far as listening goes, I have been really enjoying two Marty Stuart CDs "Tear the WoodPile Down - Nashville 1" and "Ghost Train" ,both with his band the Fabulous Superlatives". Marty Stuart is not only a killer guitar and mandolin player but a great singer. He used to play guitar with Johnny Cash in the 80's  as well as being a successful solo artist since the 90's. The band features Kenny Vaughan on guitar and this guy's fantastic. Chicken picking' at it's best! Great tele sounds. Harry stinson plays drums and Paul Martin on bass. Well worth checking out. No songs about "cracking open a Bud and sitting' on any pickup trucks", just good country music. You notice the best modern country artists like Marty Stuart, Vince Gill, Ricky Skaggs, Randy Travis, Steve Warner, Dwight Yoakam  etc don't feel a need to tell you they are country guys?

Also listening a lot to "Bakersfield" by Vince Gill and Paul Franklin which is a fantastic tribute to the Bakerfield sound (Bakersfield California) of Merle Haggard and Buck Owens. Paul Franklin is probably the best if not one of the best pedal steel players to ever touch the instrument and Vince Gill plays all the guitar parts on the record, and very well I might add as well as sings beautifully.

Check out all three of these great recordings if you like or want to get to know good country music.
Glad to be back in blogland!
Take care.