Month: February 2009

ok regardless of the fact that his bus dumped crap on people…

i would be remiss if i didn’t mention one Mr. Dave Matthews in this list of great guitar players.


Dave has his own special style.  he is a beast of a player, but what makes him even better is the band that surrounds him.  these cats can play.  so they complement his unique style of fingerpicking, strumming and playing the hardest chords known to humans.  i believe he has an incredible grasp of theory and coupled with his hand span creates chords that sends the hand of a normal human into spasms.  i love that Dave and his band are passionate about crafting complex, intelligent music.   that being said…here is Dave Matthews….

so i quoted a myth the other day…

about how Eddie Van Halen said Phil Keaggy was the greatest guitar player.  a friend pointed out that the quote was also contributed to Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton, but there is no written, audio  or video proof that it happened in any occasion so it is definitely urban legend.

that being said.  Phil Keaggy is a BEAST of a guitar player.


yes, that IS Sir Paul McCartney in the picture with him

from a post in Six String Lounge

I think the greater story, though,also happens to be why this legend endures: Phil Keaggy is a flat out amazing guitar player. He is on another level to the point that it wouldn’t surprise anyone if Hendrix HAD said the above quote.

The most amazing thing about Keaggy is his versatility. He is equally at home playing blistering blues rock and pensive fingerpicked ballads. As a result, he was a mainstay on guitar magazine’s readers’ polls through the ’80’s and ’90’s*.Anytime we have shared a bill with him at a festival, the side the stage is jam packed with young musicians of all stripes, just wanting a glimpse of what Keaggy can do. Mark Lee guitar player from Third Day

AND this dude only has a thumb and 3 fingers on his right hand!  i would have a hard time holding a pick.  just to show you how amazing he is, here is a video where he basically uses every technique you  could think of.  i encourage you to watch it all the way through, but if you only have a little time, FF to the last 3 minutes.   AMAZING!!

i love creative churches….

and this is one that has been brought to my attention as of late.

NorthRidge Church in Plymouth Michigan.  they have some cool creatives going on.

here is a “rewind” video of their church.  notice the awesome sets and video work.  amazing.

was pointed to their site which introduced me to the church.

this is the best opening i’ve ever seen for a church service!

back to guitar players….

let me say right off that bat.  i’m not a huge fan of country music.  i like certain songs, but the genre as a whole doesn’t excite or really hit me as earth shattering.  i like certain artists and would probably buy a few songs.

that being said, there are some AMAZING musicians and singers in country music.

i thought i would kill two birds with one stone today and talk about Brad Paisley and Keith Urban.


these two masters of the telecaster can certainly rip.

i really like Brad Paisley and his ability to write really witty songs.  i first ran across him with his song “I’m Gonna Miss Her” in which the video featured Kimberly Williams from “Father of the Bride” (he’s now married to her).  I think Brad has an amazing ability to play both acoustic and electric and his electric tone is his signature.  it’s just a fat, vintage telecaster sound.  love it.

i like Keith Urban as well.  i guess my first exposure to him was on “I Wanna Love Somebody Like You”!  What a great song.  amazing banjo and guitar work and one of the best melodies in a song i’ve ever heard.  it also featured former model Nickie Taylor (Urban didn’t follow suit and marry the girl from his video…he stepped it up and married Academy Award winner and fellow Aussie Nicole Kidman)  Urban plays a telecaster as well, but also branches out to some Gibson guitars on occasion.  he has a little edgier tone and style than Paisley, i think he could step into the rock arena just as easily as the country.

i’ve kindof followed these guys through award shows and my occasional foray onto Country Music Television (which actually shows videos)  most recently i like Brad’s song “Ticks” it’s funny and has another one of his blazing guitar solos.  i also like Keith’s song “Sweet Thing”.

Paisley and Urban teamed up most recently on this song.

enjoy both of them playing.  i especially enjoy the front where they “try” to play some classics.

good solo sections and they trade 4’s

i couldn’t help but copy this…this is what i don’t want to be…

Dear Christian,

Please stop complaining about the economic recession in America. Seriously. It’s beginning to bug me. I’m bothered by the mass layoffs as much as the next person, but I just can’t help but be irked by how you’re coping with this so-called crisis. So, if you don’t mind, please stop your whining.

Please stop thinking that the “blessed are the poor” verse in the Beatitudes now applies to you, because you had to stop going out to eat more than once a week. I would appreciate it if you would stop lamenting how you’re strapped for cash and forced to “cut costs” just after you bought your teenager her very own cell phone with text messaging plan. There are real people who are hurting during this time, and it’s apparently not you. Not while your kids play their hand-held video games in the backseat of the Suburban and you and the Mrs. enjoy worship tunes blasting from the iPod. Not while you drink Starbucks coffee after church and spend your Sundays taking naps in a well-heated home.

No, you’re not “hurting” as badly as you’d like to think. So, give it a rest, would you? Your “sufferings” are insults to those who have been laid off and tossed to the curb. Your “trials” are simply offensive to those who have lost their homes in the past six months. Frankly, right now, I’m a little ashamed to be included among you.

However, I’m concerned that there may be more at stake here than just your family’s ability to go on vacation or buy more plasma screen TVs. A world that has been skeptical of evangelicalism for awhile now has an opportunity to be proven wrong, and I’m worried that we’re missing it. Because we’re caught up in the melodrama of our own inconveniences, we’re missing the chance to show those who have yet to see true Christianity in action. I’m not talking about megachurches and light shows. I’m talking about the kind of Christianity that puts generosity above self-preservation. I’m talking about the kind of Christianity that gives not just out of its affluence, but even out of its poverty. I’m talking about the kind of Christianity where solidarity doesn’t just mean being united in orthodox beliefs, but it also means sharing each other’s resources.

There is something else that really puzzles me, dear Christian. If you’re really hurting during this recession as you claim to be, why in the world haven’t you turned off your cable or satellite service in order to make this month’s rent? Why do you still drive that new gas-guzzler all over the suburbs? And why the heck are you still buying brand-name foods and clothing?

Let’s be perfectly clear—I don’t have anything against SUVs, nice restaurants, or even home entertainment. But you said, “Times are tough,” and I’m just failing to see it. If that were the case, wouldn’t your spending habits have changed by now? Wouldn’t you stop going to the mall every Saturday afternoon? Wouldn’t you have been forced to sell something in order to feed your children? Or was that not necessary? Did you mean to say, “I can no longer comfortably consume everything in sight without seeing the natural consequences of my greed”? Is that what you meant?

I’m not trying to be a jerk; I just want you to see that there are bigger things happening than your own excessive wants not being met. Consider the possibility that some families in your neighborhood have recently lost all forms of income. They’re hurt, confused, and scared. A Jesus-follower like yourself could do them a lot of good, if you were aware of their plight. Be warned—it’s impossible to significantly help others, if you’re feeling sorry for yourself.

I am sure that you’ve heard Jesus’ “Parable of the Talents” at some point. You may have even listened to a preacher pontificate on the principle that God doesn’t give us “much” until we’ve proven ourselves trustworthy with “little.” I wonder if maybe the opposite is now happening—that our Lord wants to see what we’ll do with less than we’re accustomed to having. Will we bravely give, even when our own creature comforts take a hit, or will we get caught up in our frustrated pursuits of consumption and excess? I realize that you may have had to make some real sacrifices lately, and I don’t want to make light of that. If that’s the case, then I challenge you (and myself) to consider how God may still be calling us to be courageously generous. Maybe during this recession, He is calling us to bless others. Not because we can afford it, but because we, as members of an invisible kingdom that offers freedom from the world’s system, can’t afford not to be so bold with whatever He has entrusted to us.

another guitar great….

i remember being a 7th grader and hearing the opening synthesizer chords to a song called “Jump” and wondered what is this?  then it got to the guitar solo, then i rewound the tape and listened to the solo again.  i remember thinking i might get in trouble for listening to this because the cupid on the album art was smoking a cigarette and according to people at my church, that couldn’t be good, but i listened anyway.  in fact i began to listen to the songs and i would find the guitar solos.  who was this guy?  he was amazing.  i realized he had also played the guitar solo on Michael Jackson’s “Beat It”.

it was none other than Eddie Van Halen.


i began to do a little research and realized that this guy was a classically trained musician and he could definitely shred.  people would tell me that what he was doing wasn’t that hard and i would tell them, then why don’t you do it?  why was he selling out arenas and making platinum records.  don’t tell me it was because of David Lee Roth (although i prefer him to Van Hagar).  no it was because Eddie could make his guitar explode with notes, and emotion and pyrotechnics.  nobody else plays like him.  people copy and emulate him, but you can always tell a Van Halen song by the guitar sounds.

someone once asked Eddie what it was like to be the greatest living rock guitar player, and he replied, “I don’t know, you would have to ask Phil Keaggy” (we’ll save Phil for another post)

so here we go.  ERUPTION and when Eddie was younger before he had all the back trouble, and played on his famous Kramer with his custom tape and paint job (i still would love to have a guitar like that one)

so i watched the Oscar’s last night…


i was very excited for the 8 wins for “Slumdog Millionaire”.  any time a low budget Indie film about real people can beat the Hollywood machine, i’m all for it.

i thought the actor awards were pretty much ok.  i thought Heath Ledger was great in “The Dark Knight” but if he had still been alive, i don’t think he would have won.  posthumous is a big deal to the Academy’s.

i figured that Kate Winslett would win, and i probably could have told you that Sean Penn would win because controversial roles always, always, always trump GREAT performances.  that being said…Frank Langella, you have a Tony for your performance as Richard Nixon, and i would say that is a REAL acting award.  you don’t need an Oscar although your performance was by far the most outstanding of the group.

my low points of the night were the shameless plugging of Bill Maher by Bill Maher and Sean Penn’s self-serving acceptance speech…why don’t you just thank yourself for being so you?

my favorite parts of the night were basically when Steve Martin and Tina Fey did the whole screenwriter thing and the Hugh Jackman “musical” number.

alright. that’s all i have.  let’s all go get Slumdog when it comes out on DVD.  more Guitar Greats tomorrow.

well…until Jason Bradford sends me some footage….

of him shredding, we will have to move on with my other favorite guitar players.

today i want to talk about a guy that you probably don’t know, but you may know his work.

he’s actually a buddy of mine here in Dallas.  we haven’t gotten to hang out lately which is sad, but that doesn’t diminish his guitar prowess.

his name is Mark Akin


Mark is one of the best guitar players i’ve ever had the pleasure to meet.  not only is he a great guitar player.  he is an amazing teacher and clinician.  i first met him at a Jackson guitar clinic at Fuller’s Guitar’s in Houston.  he can actually impart what he knows to others.  if you asked him what you should do to become better, he will tell you, “Learn Your fretboard bro”!

Mark is actually a platinum selling artist.  he is the sole instrumentalist behind the insanely popular anime series DRAGONBALL Z!


well since i still haven’t written that “grammy” post yet…

i thought i might continue with something i started yesterday…

for the next little bit, i’m going to write about my favorite guitar players…

these might be obscure session guys, or some guitar player from a band.  or they may be some huge global artist.

genre doesn’t matter because a great guitar player is a great guitar player, so here we go.

This guy has to be my FAVORITE artist in addition to being an amazing guitar player….yes i’m talking about….



now let me say.  i think John is an amazing blues/rock electric player, but what originally drew me to him was his ability to make an acoustic guitar sing.   specifically on this song.

that is such a young, fresh faced John.

i literally wore out the “Room for Squares” album and thought to myself how can this guy top himself?  then he comes out with “Heavier Things”, the John Mayer Trio and finally what i think might be some of his finest work “Continuum”.  i even have his indie album “inside wants out”.  i think i have pretty much every song he’s done that is on CD or iTunes.

i love the way he plays on this song “Heart of Life”

one of my favorite things he has ever done is team up with Brad Paisley (spoiler alert!!!!future post) to do CMT CrossRoads.  since you can’t find any video footage from CMT (cheap jerks) then all you get is audio and pictures.  enjoy “Why Georgia”

a new guitar player i’m jazzed about…

i’ve been a fan of Saturday Night Live as long as i’ve been old enough to make sure my parents went to sleep so i could sneak back into living room to watch it in the dark on Saturday nights.

one of the mainstays throughout the seasons has been an amazing band of professional-world class musicians.

the first band was headed up by none other than Canadian Wonder Boy Paul Shaffer.


great pic of him with hair

after Paul left to go be with Big Dave Letterman, Howard Shore came into the picture…


amazing composer and arranger, he left the show in the early eighties.  this is where G.E. Smith comes in and also when I start watching the show.


since Smith, the current band leader has been former “Tower of Power” member Lenny Pickett.  He’s an AMAZING sax player.  his altissimo riffs have been a mainstay during the 90’s and the 2000’s.


i find that on SNL, whatever instrument the band leader plays is typically the “featured” instrument in most of the commercial breaks.  i.e. Smith was an amazing guitar player so he gets all of the camera/solo time.  people who watch the show know that Pickett’s sax is the voice of the band.

lately however in watching the show i’ve noticed a trend…there is a young, long haired guitar player who is getting a lot of down front, camera/solo time.  he plays a sweet powder blue Tele with a Bixby tremolo.

I did a little research last night and his name is Jared Scharff.


and he RIPS!  i couldn’t find any SNL footage of him so you’ll just have to see him rockin with his band “the Royals”