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Monthly Archives: November 2005

Audioslave – Audioslave


The news that former Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell was joining the three musicians in Rage Against the Machine, the hard rock/hip hop group that lost rapper Zack de la Rocha, was a true headscr-atcher. Would Cornell start rapping? Would the Rage guys go soft behind a singer? No. And No. Cornell still wails and the […]

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Michael Bloomfield – If You Love These Blues, Play ‘Em As You Please


I’ve had more than one conversation with a colleague when The Paul Butterfield Blues Band album came up, and we said in unison, “That album changed my life.” A big reason for the 1965 LP’s impact was lead guitarist Michael Bloomfield, who, to me and my friends, was the first American to cut the figure […]

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George Harrison – Brainwashed


It’s become cliché to say a particular guitarist is recognizable after just one note, but in the case of George Harrison, it’s true. Because along with his many hats and talents – singer, songwriter, guitarist, Beatle, icon – he was also a great, albeit underrated, slide guitarist with a truly unique sound and approach. Think […]

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Tommy Castro – Gratitude


Tommy Castro goes for the throat, emotionally, no matter if he’s playing straight blues, funk, or good old-fashioned rock and roll. This album is a good case in point. It’s set up as a “thank you” to folks who have influenced Castro through the years. Anyone familiar with his music won’t be surprised to find […]

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Various artists – Crossroads Guitar Festival


Talk about piquing one’s curiosity. The promos for the truncated pledge-drive version of the Crossroads Festival that aired on PBS in December began, “Sixty-five guitarists… 87 guitars … came to play with one man.” Cut to Eric Clapton playing the opening riff of “Layla.” Exciting? You bet! The promo, that is. If only the actual […]

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Leslie West – Blues to Die For


Mountain had just one real hit – the two-and-a-half-minute blast of “Mississippi Queen” can still be heard on classic rock radio. And while it has a 12-bar structure, it isn’t a blues song. In fact, a look at the Mountain catalog shows no real blues songs, but rather music that is quite sophisticated – a […]

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Alison Krauss and Union Station – Alison Krauss + Union Station Live


Although fine female bluegrass singers and songwriters like Hazel Dickens and Emmylou Harris have achieved success, Alison Krauss must be considered the first woman bluegrass superstar. Ever since her first release, Krauss’ CDs have maintained a remarkably high level of musical and technical consistency. Her latest, Alison Krauss + Union Station Live, shows why the […]

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Steve Earle – Jerusalem


Here are a couple of records from one of America’s best songwriters. One is a batch of cuts made for movie soundtracks, or for some other reason didn’t fit on his albums. The other is brand spanking new, and causing controversy for no reason. The controversial one is Jerusalem‘, and the controversy is over a […]

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National Model N-720

Star of an Era's End

Most acoustic guitar players will likely show disdain for any instrument with a bolt-on neck. Even though there have been many great guitars – from Maccaferri (and before) to Seagull – sporting respectable versions. In my more naïve younger years, I used to attribute such ungainly guitars to Japanese manufacturers, or maybe the Italians, as […]

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Brother Oswald’s Dobro

Country Music History Maker

The melodic, evocative warbling of a resonator guitar has for decades been a fixture in country music, and knowledgeable fans will tell you there’s one primary individual to thank for it – Pete “Bashful Brother Oswald” Kirby. Kirby was born in Sevierville, Tennessee, in 1911. His introduction to the resonator occurred circa 1929, thanks to […]

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