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Monthly Archives: January 2006

Michael Franks – Watching the Snow


It’s the time of year when you may be looking to make a “Eclectic” addition to your collection of Christmas records. Michael Franks is the perfect complement for Christmas. Light pop-jazz with subtle twists and a sensuous quality that oozes through his music. Ten originals, all good, with fine playing. They show his usual influences […]

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Chris Thile – Deceiver


The only disappointing thing about Chris Thile’s fifth solo album is its length – 34:23. Highlighting his songwriting and arranging skills, Deceiver displays the strong influences of not only fellow Mutual Admiration Society member, songwriter Glenn Phillips, but also classical chamber music, avant-garde jazz, rap, and South American Chioro music. The final result comes across […]

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Keb’ Mo’ – Peace… Back By Popular Demand


Keb’ Mo’ is swimming upstream, issuing a new CD with a picture of peace sign prominently displayed on the cover. Not that the disc largely consists of ’60s protest songs, but it comes at a time when flag-waving patriotism is in vogue. That Mo’ (real name Kevin Moore) would be moving beyond the country blues […]

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Fleetwood Mac – Rumors


Considering Fleetwood Mac’s enormous popularity in the 1970s, which can be traced to the moment Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks joined the waning band, Buckingham would have to rank as one of the most underrated guitarists in rock. He is also one of the more unorthodox. An ex-folkie who displays his acoustic fingerpicking on “Landslide” […]

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Metropolitan Tanglewood

A Rare Modern Map

Many guitar aficionados are aware of the instruments proffered by Houston’s Alamo Music. The Texas manufacturer has created unique low-end (sonically, that is) items, some as regular production basses, others as prototype and/or custom-orders. Among the most unique and rare were no more than a half-dozen map-shaped Metropolitan Tanglewood basses created in the mid/late ’90s. […]

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Epiphone U.S. Map


The idea of making “presentation- grade” guitars – special instruments meant as much for marketing as for rich customers – probably goes back to the beginnings of guitarmaking. Certainly by the late 19th century, when industrial expositions and World’s Fairs proliferated, and prizes were awarded to superior instrument makers, it was common for guitar builders […]

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Crafters of Tennessee Prodigal 5

Return of the Prodigal Mandolin

During his tenure at Gibson, Lloyd Loar oversaw the production of over 250 F-5 mandolins. But he produced just one A-5 model – a special order for The Griffith School of Music in Atlanta. In those days, most Gibson instruments were sold through music schools and teachers, a method that populated mandolin orchestras with Gibson […]

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Danelectro Free Speech

"Do You Feeeeel"?

Well, we’ve all had the fun of trying to mimic – even on the worst of nights – a Peter Frampton tune featuring the dreaded “talk box,” possibly even venturing into the dreaded Joe Walsh territory, and usually with lots of laughs and little success. The reasons for our failure could be many, including a). […]

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Chicago Blues Box Roadhouse amp

Hot Windy City Tone

Illinois-based Butler Custom Sound recently introduced its Chicago Blues Box amp series with the blues player very much in mind. Company president Dan Butler has repaired and modified countless tube amplifiers for many years, for many great players. From this experience, he has come to understand that most players would just as soon forget the […]

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Merlefest Live – The 15th Anniversary Jam CD/DVD


Doc Watson. If you aren’t familiar with him you can’t consider yourself any kind of expert on American music. He’s simply the most influential acoustic guitarist this side of the Fertile Crescent. Blind at birth, self-taught on guitar, Athel Watson gained the surname Doc because of his ability to fix or doctor almost any object […]

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