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alternate (Tunings) Universe


TABLE OF CONTENTS

JAZZ STARS ALIGN

10

Thanking our lucky stars…it’s Henry Johnson LESSONS

Written by Brad Wendkos

LESSONS SKILL LEVEL - INTERMEDIATE

FINGERSTYLE

SKILL LEVEL - INTERMEDIATE

STEADY BASS

FINGERSTYLE

STEADY BASS

CONTENTS

FINGERSTYLE GROOVE: SELF-CONTAINED RHYTHMFINGERSTYLE SECTION GROOVE: SELF-CONTAINED RHYTHM SECTION

RHYTHM

RHYTHM

Written by Brooks Robertson

Written by Brooks Robertson

One of the beautiful things about playing fingerstyle guitar is that the raw techniques themselves One of the beautiful things about playing fingerstyle guitar is that the raw techniques themselves open up a world of possibilities that aren’t physically or musically possible with a pick alone open or up a world of possibilities that aren’t physically or musically possible with a pick alone or without the use of multiple fingers on the picking hand. Having multiple digits simultaneously without the use of multiple fingers on the picking hand. Having multiple digits simultaneously working together and or independently allows you to play multiple parts at once, including bass,together and or independently allows you to play multiple parts at once, including bass, working chords, rhythms / polyrhythms, counterpoint, contrary lines, and chord melody. Just give a listen chords, rhythms / polyrhythms, counterpoint, contrary lines, and chord melody. Just give a listen to Chet Atkins play “Yankee Doodle Dixie”, in which he plays two songs at the same time, Jerry to or Chet Atkins play “Yankee Doodle Dixie”, in which he plays two songs at the same time, or Jerry Reed performing “Two Timin’”, “Blues Land”, or “Swingin ’69”, where you can hear moving lines in Reed performing “Two Timin’”, “Blues Land”, or “Swingin ’69”, where you can hear moving lines in the bass, chords, contrary motion, and melody, all executed simultaneously with mesmerizing the bass, chords, contrary motion, and melody, all executed simultaneously with mesmerizing musicality. Another mind-bending example demonstrating the possibilities of what canmusicality. be Another mind-bending example demonstrating the possibilities of what can be achieved high up in the fingerstyle stratosphere is legend Lenny Breau with his innovations of high up in the fingerstyle stratosphere is legend Lenny Breau with his innovations of achieved techniques for playing fingerstyle Jazz, especially the piano-like feat of comping for himself techniques for playing fingerstyle Jazz, especially the piano-like feat of comping for himself while improvising at the same time. while improvising at the same time.

5 A WORD FROM THE PUBLISHER Shinichi’s Gift + The Guitar

With the proper techniques, some clever thinking, and ingenious arranging, a good fingerstyle With the proper techniques, some clever thinking, and ingenious arranging, a good fingerstyle player can essentially boil down various parts of a band to become a solo performer, without player any can essentially boil down various parts of a band to become a solo performer, without any lack of groove, harmony, or melody. This is what Brazilian innovator João Gilberto did by taking lack of groove, harmony, or melody. This is what Brazilian innovator João Gilberto did by taking the sounds of Samba that were traditionally played by a large ensemble and distilling them the sounds of Samba that were traditionally played by a large ensemble and distilling them into a method of suggesting all those parts on one guitar. While there are endless possibilities into a method of suggesting all those parts on one guitar. While there are endless possibilities spanning across various styles, it is the implementation of raw techniques that makes spanning these across various styles, it is the implementation of raw techniques that makes these complex musical ideas playable, and importantly as efficient as possible. While the above complex musical ideas playable, and importantly as efficient as possible. While the above mentioned guitar giants are utilizing some very advanced concepts, this lesson will explore a few guitar giants are utilizing some very advanced concepts, this lesson will explore a few mentioned possibilities of how to build a foundational groove with bass and chords utilizing intermediate possibilities of how to build a foundational groove with bass and chords utilizing intermediate advanced fingerstyle patterns which make it all possible on one guitar. advanced fingerstyle patterns which make it all possible on one guitar.

6 RIFF RAFF WITH SHANE THERIOT:

FINGERSTYLE GROOVE - SELF CONTAINED RHYTHM SECTION

SPRING 2018 | ISSUE 14

PODCAST EPISODE 05 WITH ADAM LEVY

Essentially we want to break out of being a rhythm section player to becoming the entire rhythm we want to break out of being a rhythm section player to becoming the entire rhythm Essentially section on one guitar. We need to roughly imitate some basic idiosyncrasies of the drummer section on one guitar. We need to roughly imitate some basic idiosyncrasies of the drummer (rhythm), piano or guitar player (harmony), and bass players’ parts. Buster B. Jones explained (rhythm), piano or guitar player (harmony), and bass players’ parts. Buster B. Jones explained to me that his own funky style, which was full of groove and syncopation, came from this waythat his own funky style, which was full of groove and syncopation, came from this way to me of thinking, with much influence from his years of playing drums. He viewed the right hand of thinking, with much influence from his years of playing drums. He viewed the right hand (picking hand) as the drum set and the left hand (fretting hand) as the piano. To hear this type of (picking hand) as the drum set and the left hand (fretting hand) as the piano. To hear this type of thinking in a musical situation listen to Jones perform his compositions “Live at Five”, “Buster thinkingB.in a musical situation listen to Jones perform his compositions “Live at Five”, “Buster B. Boogie”, or “Funky Fingers”, and for a great example of becoming the entire rhythm section as I or “Funky Fingers”, and for a great example of becoming the entire rhythm section as I Boogie”, mentioned above, listen to the Jerry Reed’s groove-driven guitar parts on his original recordings mentioned above, listen to the Jerry Reed’s groove-driven guitar parts on his original recordings of “Guitar Man”, “Last Train To Clarksville”, “Tupelo Mississippi Flash”, and “Wabash Cannonball”, of “Guitar Man”, “Last Train To Clarksville”, “Tupelo Mississippi Flash”, and “Wabash Cannonball”, where even though there is a rhythm section in the commercial recordings, Reed is carrying wherethe even though there is a rhythm section in the commercial recordings, Reed is carrying the groove, harmony, and all essential musical material in his guitar part alone. groove, harmony, and all essential musical material in his guitar part alone.

Shane and Adam share stories, Adam’s approach to melody and make music

Simple steps to multi-dimensional fingerstyle playing with Brooks SKILL LEVEL - INTERMEDIATE Robertson

LESSONS

FINGERSTYLE

10 HENRY JOHNSON: JAZZ STARS ALIGN 26 The story about how TrueFire connected with FINGERSTYLE GROOVE: SELF-CONTAINED RHYTHM SECTION

STEADY BASS

RHYTHM

jazz guitar monster, Henry Johnson

Written by Brooks Robertson

Vibrato puts power in the tips of your fingers and allows you to pour emotion into any note that you play. SPRING 2018 | ISSUE 14 This technique can be subtle or dynamic; it can build tension or offer release. Vibrato can add warmth, depth and sustain to a note and can be used to create space within a phrase, allowing the phrase to breathe without losing energy.

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20 LESSON: BLUES GRIT - BUILDING BLOCKS

EXAMPLE 2

FOR BLUES SOLOS

By learning and incorporating Kelly Richey’s three techniques and concepts, your ability to play blues guitar solos will explode

TITLE

With the proper techniques, some clever thinking, and ingenious arranging, a good fingerstyle player can essentially boil down various parts of a band to become a solo performer, without any lack of groove, harmony, or melody. This is what Brazilian innovator João Gilberto did by taking the sounds of Samba that were traditionally played by a large ensemble and distilling them into a method of suggesting all those parts on one guitar. While there are endless possibilities spanning across various styles, it is the implementation of raw techniques that makes these complex musical ideas playable, and importantly as efficient as possible. While the above mentioned guitar giants are utilizing some very advanced concepts, this lesson will explore a few possibilities of how to build a foundational groove with bass and chords utilizing intermediate advanced fingerstyle patterns which make it all possible on one guitar.

Reading offline? Be sure to visit: www.riffjournal.com/links-v2 for EXAMPLE 3 an easy link directory to all online Shane assets Theriot hangs out with Adam Levy and we all get to join in.

BLUES GRIT - BUILDING BLOCKS FOR BLUES SOLOS

RIFF RAFF: FEAT ADAM LEVY

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Kelly Richey’s got some serious blues grit and wants you to get some too RIFF

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26 LESSON: FINGERSTYLE GROOVE - SELF-

Essentially we want to break out of being a rhythm section player to becoming the entire rhythm section on one guitar. We need to roughly imitate some basic idiosyncrasies of the drummer (rhythm), piano or guitar player (harmony), and bass players’ parts. Buster B. Jones explained to me that his own funky style, which was full of groove and syncopation, came from this way of thinking, with much influence from his years of playing drums. He viewed the right hand (picking hand) as the drum set and the left hand (fretting hand) as the piano. To hear this type of thinking in a musical situation listen to Jones perform his compositions “Live at Five”, “Buster B. Boogie”, or “Funky Fingers”, and for a great example of becoming the entire rhythm section as I mentioned above, listen to the Jerry Reed’s groove-driven guitar parts on his original recordings of “Guitar Man”, “Last Train To Clarksville”, “Tupelo Mississippi Flash”, and “Wabash Cannonball”, where even though there is a rhythm section in the commercial recordings, Reed is carrying the groove, harmony, and all essential musical material in his guitar part alone.

CONTAINED RHYTHM SECTION

Brooks Robertson demonstrates how you can boil down various parts of a band to become a solo performer

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Example #3: Rakes & Slides RIFF

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Rakes are an excellent way to kick off a solo or a phrase. They add dynamics, punctuation, and articulation and they create a focal point to a series of notes played. By adding a rake just before playing a note, allows you to make a statement. The force of the attack, whether subtle or dynamic, determines the impact and sets the stage for what’s to follow.

SPRING 2018 | ISSUE 14 SPRING 2018 | ISSUE 14

RIFF

One of the beautiful things about playing fingerstyle guitar is that the raw techniques themselves open up a world of possibilities that aren’t physically or musically possible with a pick alone or without the use of multiple fingers on the picking hand. Having multiple digits simultaneously working together and or independently allows you to play multiple parts at once, including bass, chords, rhythms / polyrhythms, counterpoint, contrary lines, and chord melody. Just give a listen to Chet Atkins play “Yankee Doodle Dixie”, in which he plays two songs at the same time, or Jerry Reed performing “Two Timin’”, “Blues Land”, or “Swingin ’69”, where you can hear moving lines in the bass, chords, contrary motion, and melody, all executed simultaneously with mesmerizing musicality. Another mind-bending example demonstrating the possibilities of what can be achieved high up in the fingerstyle stratosphere is legend Lenny Breau with his innovations of techniques for playing fingerstyle Jazz, especially the piano-like feat of comping for himself while improvising at the same time.

| ONLINE LINK DIRECTORY | RIFFJOURNAL.COM/LINKS-V14 RIFF

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

THE GUITAR IS ALIVE & KICKING Johnny Hiland’s got a new (kickin’) axe

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LESSON: THE DOMINANT PENTATONIC

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LESSON: DOUBLE STOP CHOPS

46

Learn why it’s Rob Garland’s favorite go-to scale of recent years

Robbie Calvo illustrates how to create full, harmonically rich double stops for improvisation SPRING 2018 | ISSUE 14

THE GUITAR IS ALIVE & KICKING

46

TITLE

Hear from Johnny Hiland and his tale about his new signature Kiesel Guitar

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur Phasellus lobortis

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STEPHEN MOUGIN: THIS MOJO IS WORKIN’

Get to know bluegrass artist and producer, Stephen “Mojo” Mougin

RIFF’S CLASSIC VIDEO VAULT

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Classic video performances from the archive: Valérie Duchâteau

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RIFF JOURNAL ARTIST DIRECTORY

Full listing and interactive links from the featured artists and educators

STEPHEN MOUGIN: THIS TITLE Lorem dolor sit amet, MOJOipsum IS WORKIN’ consectetur adipiscing elit. Get a little bluegrass mojo Phasellus Mougin lobortis

RIFFAGE: FEATURED ALBUM COMPILATION

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Get your FREE download of featured music from Riff artists

54

CLOSING SNAPSHOTS

68 RIFF

Photos from backstage, behind-the-scenes and on the road 55

| ONLINE LINK DIRECTORY | RIFFJOURNAL.COM/LINKS-V14

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CONTRIBUTORS “Inspiration is for amateurs - the rest of us just show up and get to work!” - Chuck Close

Meet the Riff Band. We can’t wait to present our edition to you and share our passion with readers each quarter. In the meantime, shout out to us anytime online with feedback, questions and tasty tidbits.

RIFF BAND

riffjournal@truefire.com

@riffjournal

ALISON HASBACH Editor-in-Chief

Ali (a.k.a. prioress of the ‘Fire) is a founding partner and chief shooting & branding officer who likewise holds a M.B.A. (master of brewing administration) in Coffee Imbibement. She is fanatical about all things artistic (especially TrueFire Artists).

BRAD WENDKOS Publisher

Born in a cross-fire hurricane to itinerant Appalachian mountain people and then sold for a barrel of gunpowder to a wandering clan of Eastern European gypsies, Brad (thankfully) found his way home at TrueFire.

TOMMY JAMIN

Studio Department Editor

Tommy Jamin is a graduate of the Recording Arts program at Full Sail University and has been crafting top-quality video and audio content as a professional digital media producer over the last 14 years. In addition to being Director of Production at TrueFire, he’s also a singer-songwriter, production gear & tech enthusiast and family man.

AMBER NICOLINI Creative Director

Amber is a easy going pixel crafter with a flair for all things typographical and music related. She holds a BFA in Graphic Design & Digital Media from the University of North Florida and has cozied into her niche as Creative Director here at TrueFire. SPRING 2018 | ISSUE 14

facebook.com/riffjournal

JEFF SCHEETZ

Educational Department Editor

Jeff is the Director of Education at TrueFire, has released 8 music CDs, and 6 video instruction courses. He’s been a teacher for over 30 years and brings his own method and style to students from around the world. He has written guitar columns for many magazines and conducted workshops and clinics throughout the US, Europe and Mexico.

ZACH WENDKOS

Technology Department Editor

Zach holds a real M.B.A. and scavenges the planet for the latest and greatest in online marketing and technology applications. He leads the charge in honing the student online experience at TrueFire and dreaming up the new and cool.

KYLER THOMANN Music Editor

With Creative Utility Knife skills, Kyler bridges web and print, video, and digital images and has a passion for live events and all things musical. With his finger on the pulse of the live music scene, Kyler brings a keen editorial spirit to the magazine..


A WORD FROM THE PUBLISHER

SHINICHI’S GIFT

“T

alent Education has realized that all children in the world show their splendid capacities by speaking and understanding their mother language, thus displaying the original power of the human mind. Is it not probable that this mother language method holds the key to human development? Talent Education has applied this method to the teaching of music. Children, taken without previous aptitude or intelligence test of any kind, have almost without exception made great progress.”  Violinist, philosopher, and humanitarian, Shinichi Suzuki served as director of the Talent Education Research Institute, which pedagogy he was instrumental in developing; the Suzuki method. “Musical ability is not an inborn talent, but an ability which can be developed. Any child who is properly trained can develop musical ability, just as all children develop the ability to speak their mother tongue. The potential of every child is unlimited.” Children were immersed in a nurturing musical environment, listening to recordings, making friends with other music students, teaching each other, attending concerts together — no tests, no auditions, no pressure of any kind. Children would learn to play their instrument, before learning how to read music. Music was fun, social, an activity the children looked forward to.

Over the past many decades, The Suzuki Method had earned the highest respect by demonstrating its effectiveness as an alternative music teaching methodology. The approach remaining in such sharp contradiction to the methods that many of us experienced in school band or with the piano teachers forced upon us as young children, which most of us perceived as a form of punishment.   It strikes me that so many of us learned how to play guitar following the very same pedagogy. We learned songs, licks and chords from our friends, we attended concerts together, we formed bands, and we read liner notes and listened to new records together. There were no exams or pressures of any kind. And we certainly didn’t learn how to read music before we learned to how to play (most of us are still working on that!). We may have heard about the Suzuki Method in passing, but few of us had any idea that we were actually practicing many of its key learning philosophies as our love and passion for the guitar grew. Shinichi Suzuki lived to be 99, but he left behind a system and philosophy of education that hopefully will live on, and perhaps even find its way into other educational pursuits. “Every child grows; everything depends on the teacher.” This Riff’s for you!

Brad Wendkos || Head Smoke Jumper

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ABOUT RIFF RAFF Hi there, my name is Shane Theriot. I’m a professional musician and guitarist. I like stories. I mean I REALLY like stories. Over the years, I’ve been lucky to work with many amazing people and musicians who have amazing stories. I want to capture these stories for other people to enjoy. Some people like to garden, or take photos…I like to document these stories. I hope that you enjoy them as much I enjoyed getting them together for you. This podcast is about the creative process, and yes, being a guitar player we do talk shop, gear, life in general…oh yeah…and we usually jam a bit too! – Shane Theriot

PHOTOS BY ALISON HASBACH

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D A V I D

G R I S S O M

E P I S O D E

My guest today is Mr. Adam Levy. Finesse, feel, restraint and taste. That’s what I think of when I hear Adam play. Perhaps best known for being a member of Norah Jones band in the late 90’s/early 2000’s, Adam has also done other high profile gigs, among them playing with Tracy Chapman (remember “Gimme one reason to leave here?” - then you’ve heard Adam cause that’s him playing the guitar solo on that tune), he’s also worked with Dan Hicks, Amos Lee and others. But it’s his own solo material that is the most inspiring to me. Not content with putting all his eggs into the often-tempting and lucrative sideman basket, Adam has consistently put out many of his own solo records over the years. Starting with Buttermilk Channel (what a great title) he kept on going - including “Get Your Glow On”, “Washing Day”, “Town and Country” and many others - up to his latest release “Blueberry Blonde” (featuring drummer Jay Bellarose.) At present he has a stunning 16 solo records to his name. He was also the former Chair of Guitar Performance at Los Angeles College of Music. (CORRECTION - I said in the intro that he was currently at LACM, but Adam stepped down not too long ago to focus on other projects.) And if that isn’t enough, Adam also posts the popular “Guitar Tips” mini lessons every week where he shares his knowledge in an informal, but powerful YouTube clip. In this interview Adam and I play a few tunes and share a few stories including how he first started working with Norah Jones. He also

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talks about playing melodically, things he learned from listening to Jim Hall, his Gibson 335 that he’s had since he was a kid, studying with the legendary Jimmy Wyble, (Adam also studied with Ted Greene, but we didn’t get to discuss that) and much more! I got up early the night after my crazy gig at the Staples center with Hall and Oates and took an Uber over to Adam’s friend Tyler’s studio in a section of Los Angeles known as Glassell Park. Formerly a converted garage, funky is the right word to describe it now, but a good, cool, hip funky. I liked the vibe - packed with cool gear. I plugged my old 330 into a vintage Fender Champ and Adam plugged his 335 into a converted Bell and Howell film projector/turned guitar amp. For you audiophiles out there - throughout the show, Adam’s guitar is on the left side and I’m on the right side - you’ll hear a tiny dropout after Adam’s solo, but it goes away quick and I faded into my solo. Not bad for an early morning folks as this is done live. After one sip of Starbucks to get the energy flowing we turned the tape on...enjoy! (Correction - I mistakenly called the John McLaughlin record with the 3D cover - “Now you see it”, it’s not!!...it’s “The Promise”. I think on the inside cover of that CD is says “now you see it” and that’s the confusion. Anywhooo.... Recorded in Los Angeles, CA - by Tyler Chester at Paperchaser Studio NYC snapshot provided by Shane Theriot

Episode No 5: Adam Levy RIFF

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Written by Brad Wendkos

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KNOWING THE HISTORICAL PATH OF WHERE YOUR INSTRUMENT CAME FROM WILL PUSH YOU TO WANT TO SEE WHERE ELSE IT CAN GO.

a

ll things come to those who wait,” so said British poet Violet Fane, back in 1892. Heinz spinned it with “The best things come to those who wait.” Whoever gets the credit, that’s the moral of the story about how TrueFire connected with jazz guitar monster, Henry Johnson.

Henry had been on my personal radar screen for a very long time. I’d always been a big fan of the organ trios from the sixties, which featured legendary guitarists like Howard Roberts, Grant Green, Kenny Burrell, George Benson and Wes Montgomery. From my viewpoint, their guitar work in those organ trios had monumental impact on the guitarist’s role in every band setting to come. It featured: long improvised solos, blazing fretwork, and sophisticated comping. As a guitar player, how could you not be drawn to that music? Henry certainly was. “I started playing guitar at a very early age -- mostly gospel and R&B -- but when I started listening to the music of Wes Montgomery, Kenny Burrell, and George Benson, I knew immediately that was the direction I wanted to go myself.”

Henry’s debut album, You’re the One, won a five-star rating from Downbeat magazine, was nominated for a Grammy, and was described by a JazzTimes review as “a thoughtful piece of work, which may well become a jazz guitar classic.”

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P H OTO S BY A L ISO N H AS BAC H

Henry’s first tour was with Jack McDuff, the seminal organ trio leader. He went on to work with Hank Crawford, Freddie Hubbard, Ramsey Lewis, Jimmy Smith, Sonny Stitt, Stanley Turrentine, Joe Williams, and many other groundbreaking artists. Old enough to have played with artist such as these, Henry was also young enough to carry the torch forward and craft his own signature sound.


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HAPPINESS FOR ME IS SEEING AND MEETING PEOPLE WHO ARE AFFECTED IN A POSITIVE WAY BY MY MUSIC; THIS IS WHY I PLAY MUSIC.

Henry has recorded a number of other albums and has recorded and performed with luminaries such as Ramsey Lewis, Vanessa Ruben, Richie Cole, Nancy Wilson, and Dizzy Gillespie, among others. I’ve followed Henry’s rise almost from the beginning, and was finally introduced to him through a mutual friend. Naturally, I practically begged the man to come and do a TrueFire project with us. That was almost ten years ago. Henry was open to the idea, but he was (and still is) a very busy cat. We’d touch base with each other a few times a year. I’d dangle whatever carrot I could to get him to carve out time for us. But the stars just didn’t align…that is until just a few months ago, and we leapt on that opportunity with everything we had. We filmed his Jazz Expressions course and launched it as quickly as we could. Response was through the roof (as I knew it would). Sometimes, you just don’t know how a project will be received, but I had no doubt about this one. Sure, a commercial success is always rewarding. But for me, getting to spend some quality time with a guitar hero of mine; getting to see him in the flesh do his thing; getting to know him a little better — that was the big payoff. Truth is, there was no better time to do this project with Henry, and we wouldn’t have achieved what we did if we attempted it ten or even five years ago. So yea, I’ll go with Heinz on this one, “The best things come to those who wait.”

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We asked Henry if he would answer our Proustlike questionnaire so that Riff readers could get to know him a little better and of course, he happily complied. What is it about the guitar that attracted you to it originally, and still fascinates you today?

IF YOU KEEP ADDING MORE MUSICAL KNOWLEDGE TO WHAT YOU DO KNOW, YOU’LL JUST KEEP IMPROVING AND GETTING BETTER

What continues to fascinate me about the guitar is its ability to fit into so many roles in all genres of music. It can be an unaccompanied solo instrument, a featured instrument, part of the rhythm section, an instrument which can accompany, and an instrument to compose on as well. It can be musically, almost anything to anybody. I guess that’s one of the reasons why it has maintained its long-standing popularity. Your idea of happiness? Happiness for me is seeing and meeting people who are affected in a positive way by my music; this is why I play music. Hopefully, I can leave the world a better place than when I came into it. Whether living or dead, who would you like to have dinner with? LOL. Well, that list is a LONG one indeed, and seems to change every week with me. But, at this moment, I would love to have dinner with Wes Montgomery. Everyone who knew him told me that he was a very funny guy, but very wise, as well as being an outstanding musician. Name three things a player can do to improve their musicianship. Well I guess the first thing would be to LISTEN to a lot of the great music that came before you. As boring as it may sound, a solid knowledge of where your particular instrument’s place is in history will help you grow as a musician. Knowing the historical path of where your instrument came from will push you to want to see where else it can go. This goes for ANY genre of music. The second thing I would say is to become a

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student of the music you like. I don’t mean in a book kind of way, I’m talking about developing a curiosity about the music. Finding out why and what it is that gives you so much pleasure and joy when you listen to music. Why does it make you feel the way it does? Can you learn to use that in your music? Yes? Then, borrow those elements for yourself as well! The third thing I would mention is to think of music like a language; how do you learn to improve any language skills? Learn more vocabulary, and how to use it! Music is a life long journey; you’ll NEVER know everything there is to know about it, but if you keep adding more musical knowledge to what you do know, you’ll just keep improving and getting better, and that’s really what we’re all trying to do.

NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU TRY TO SOUND OR PLAY LIKE SOMEONE ELSE, YOUR DNA ONLY ALLOWS YOU TO BE YOU.

If not yourself, who would you be? Hmmm, that’s an interesting question. Both of my parents did a pretty good job of teaching me how to be accepting of myself and comfortable in my own skin. I was taught this at a very early age, so the thought of being anyone else has never crossed my mind. It’s like the thing with your own shadow; wherever YOU go, there YOU are. Given the changing business landscape of the music business and how tough it is to sell records etc. — what are the positives about the current evolution of the music business? I have to say that the music business has changed so much, that it’s almost unrecognizable to older artists who came up with record retail stores, record companies, and radio stations not owned by corporations. But, having said that, technology and social media have leveled the playing field for independent musicians everywhere. Successful live gigs have always been about filling up seats in a room. Back then, the only way of getting to people was advertising on the radio, TV, newspapers, and word of mouth. But now, artists have direct access to their fans and all it takes is an email blast to get the fans to come.

I would say that’s a definite plus, because it can lead to more opportunities for work, where you can sell your products to your fans who support you. As your fan base grows, so does your name value. It’s always been tough for independent artists without a label to sell records, but now it’s tough for everybody. It’s great to see how these young artists have learned how to market themselves to their fans, and use it as a means to succeed without getting ripped off by big labels. Hey, even Dolly Parton has her own label! Your favorite motto? “Energy follows thought; and powerful thoughts will turn into things” What do you dream about? Literally. I use my dreams to solve musical problems, or any other issues that I may be dealing with. For me, if I think of the issue as I fall off to sleep, my subconscious mind is free to work on solving it for me. Some sort of answer usually comes to me during the day when I’m awake.

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What are your aspirations?

Your favorite food and drink?

To keep doing what I’ve been doing all my life; play music, share it with other people in the world, and hopefully, try to make a difference in someone’s life from playing it.

I have been traveling the world since 1976, so I have way too many favorite foods and drink to list here, but we can start with Cajun food from New Orleans.

What one event in music history would you have loved to have experienced in person?

In your next life, what or who would you like to come back as and why?

That one is easy; I would’ve LOVED to witness “Smoking At The Half Note” being recorded live by Wes Montgomery and the Wynton Kelly Trio!

Well, that poses the question of, how do I know who I was in my last life, and how could I be sure I wasn’t repeating some of them? I can’t answer yours without answering this one first. Sorry, got to be sure, you know? LOL

Your favorite heroes in fiction? I don’t normally do a fiction thing, but I did grow up liking the Marvel Universe and DC Universe super heroes. The fact that technology has advanced to the point where these super heroes can be presented in movies in the same fashion they were conceived is really a lot of fun for my generation. What or who is the greatest love of your life? That would be my wife, Lynn. We were looking for each other when we met. We knew it right away. Her having almost the same LP collection that I had, was a dead give away too! Even now, when she comes to hear me play, she will later tell me what song melodies I sneaked into some of my solos. She knows more songs than me!

The natural talent you’d like to be gifted with (other than music)? Hands down, I would like a photographic memory. In life or in music, what is the one central key learning that you’d like to pass on to others? I would pass on this: learn to accept yourself and your uniqueness as an asset; don’t worry about trying to be different when you were already born that way. Ever wonder how ten pianists can sit down at the SAME piano, and all sound totally different? It’s ten different personalities! No matter how much you try to sound or play like someone else, your DNA only allows you to be YOU. Take your hero’s knowledge, and allow it to emerge through your unique personality. Be proud of your own uniqueness.

www.henryjohnsonjazz.com

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LESSONS

SKILL LEVEL - LATE BEGINNER , INTERMEDIATE

HAMMER-ON BLUES SOLOING

BENDS

P H OTO P R OV ID E D BY G R EG R E ES E

BLUES GRIT: BUILDING BLOCKS FOR BLUES SOLOS Written by Kelly Richey

The two biggest mistakes I see students make when learning how to play guitar is failing to master their fundamentals and not developing good technique. My Blues Grit course with TrueFire is broken down into three sections: Fundamentals, Essential Techniques & Concepts, and Performance Studies. Each of these sections was designed to take students through the process of learning how to play blues guitar from the ground up. In this lesson, I’d like to focus on three of the ten techniques and concepts found in section two: hammer-ons & pull-offs, bends & vibrato, and rakes & slides. These three techniques are the building blocks for playing blues guitar solos!

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Example #1: Hammer-Ons & Pull-offs Hammer-ons & pull-offs can be used throughout your solos to make your phrasing fluid. There’s no picking required when you’re hammering on or pulling off a note, making it easy to access speed and to weave licks together with less effort than when picking each note. Hammer-ons & pull-offs can be played together as a stand-alone lick; or used to embellish almost any solo section.

EXAMPLE 1

Example #2: Bends & Vibrato Bends and vibrato can be used to make your guitar weep and moan. A bend, when played properly, can move a listener to the edge of their chairs more than any technique I know. Learning to bend in pitch is no small task. When bending a note, I like to add a touch of vibrato as the note reaches its desired pitch. This adds a touch of grace to each bend as it allows the player to dial in the perfect pitch of the note and to milk it for everything it’s worth. Never underestimate the power of just one note!

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Vibrato puts power in the tips of your fingers and allows you to pour emotion into any note that you play. This technique can be subtle or dynamic; it can build tension or offer release. Vibrato can add warmth, depth and sustain to a note and can be used to create space within a phrase, allowing the phrase to breathe without losing energy.

EXAMPLE 2

EXAMPLE 3

Example #3: Rakes & Slides Rakes are an excellent way to kick off a solo or a phrase. They add dynamics, punctuation, and articulation and they create a focal point to a series of notes played. By adding a rake just before playing a note, allows you to make a statement. The force of the attack, whether subtle or dynamic, determines the impact and sets the stage for what’s to follow.

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P H OTOS BY A L IS ON H AS BACH

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Slides are like glue. The more comfortable you become as a player, the more naturally they begin to show up. I use slides to start or end a solo or a phrase. Slides can be used to tie two notes together or to weave together a tapestry of licks. Slides connect your hands to the neck of your guitar and your soul to its strings.

EXAMPLE 4: RAKE WITH SLIDE (5TH FRET)

EXAMPLE 4: RAKE WITH SLIDE (12TH FRET)

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P HOTO P R OV ID E D BY G REG REES E

There are countless guitarists that can play a 12-bar blues song, but how many of them make you feel something, how many of them do you remember, and how many of them inspire you to go home and practice? These techniques and concepts will allow you to breathe life into your playing and make each note come to life. Blues songs all have the same basic foundation; it’s you that makes the difference. By learning and incorporating these three techniques and concepts, your ability to play blues guitar solos will explode!

ABOUT THE EDUCATOR Kelly Richey Kelly Richey is a master blues guitarist who has been playing and touring worldwide for over 30 years. Richey has been a guitar instructor just about as long as she’s been playing, with over 1,000 students, to date. With near 4,000 shows under her belt, Richey is a seasoned pro, who has a solid understanding of blues and blues-based rock guitar techniques. Richey is an outgoing, deeply dedicated guitar instructor.

VIEW KELLY’S COURSE LIBRARY

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LESSONS

SKILL LEVEL - INTERMEDIATE

FINGERSTYLE RHYTHM

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STEADY BASS


FINGERSTYLE GROOVE: SELF-CONTAINED RHYTHM SECTION Written by Brooks Robertson

One of the beautiful things about playing fingerstyle guitar is that the raw techniques themselves open up a world of possibilities that aren’t physically or musically possible with a pick alone or without the use of multiple fingers on the picking hand. Having multiple digits simultaneously working together and or independently allows you to play multiple parts at once, including bass, chords, rhythms / polyrhythms, counterpoint, contrary lines, and chord melody. Just give a listen to Chet Atkins play “Yankee Doodle Dixie”, in which he plays two songs at the same time, or Jerry Reed performing “Two Timin’”, “Blues Land”, or “Swingin ’69”, where you can hear moving lines in the bass, chords, contrary motion, and melody, all executed simultaneously with mesmerizing musicality. Another mind-bending example demonstrating the possibilities of what can be achieved high up in the fingerstyle stratosphere is legend Lenny Breau with his innovations of techniques for playing fingerstyle Jazz, especially the piano-like feat of comping for himself while improvising at the same time. With the proper techniques, some clever thinking, and ingenious arranging, a good fingerstyle player can essentially boil down various parts of a band to become a solo performer, without any lack of groove, harmony, or melody. This is what Brazilian innovator João Gilberto did by taking the sounds of Samba that were traditionally played by a large ensemble and distilling them into a method of suggesting all those parts on one guitar. While there are endless possibilities spanning across various styles, it is the implementation of raw techniques that makes these complex musical ideas playable, and importantly as efficient as possible. While the above mentioned guitar giants are utilizing some very advanced concepts, this lesson will explore a few possibilities of how to build a foundational groove with bass and chords utilizing intermediate advanced fingerstyle patterns which make it all possible on one guitar. Essentially we want to break out of being a rhythm section player to becoming the entire rhythm section on one guitar. We need to roughly imitate some basic idiosyncrasies of the drummer (rhythm), piano or guitar player (harmony), and bass players’ parts. Buster B. Jones explained to me that his own funky style, which was full of groove and syncopation, came from this way of thinking, with much influence from his years of playing drums. He viewed the right hand (picking hand) as the drum set and the left hand (fretting hand) as the piano. To hear this type of thinking in a musical situation listen to Jones perform his compositions “Live at Five”, “Buster B. Boogie”, or “Funky Fingers”, and for a great example of becoming the entire rhythm section as I mentioned above, listen to the Jerry Reed’s groove-driven guitar parts on his original recordings of “Guitar Man”, “Last Train To Clarksville”, “Tupelo Mississippi Flash”, and “Wabash Cannonball”, where even though there is a rhythm section in the commercial recordings, Reed is carrying the groove, harmony, and all essential musical material in his guitar part alone.

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Let’s take a look at a few of the possible pathways to achieve our one-person-band sound. The first pathway is to start with a picking pattern. In this first example a syncopated Reedstyle pattern will repeat and serve as the rhythmic foundation for the groove. Note: the notation in Ex. 1 is showing the rhythm of the pattern (1 2 3+ 4+) as well as the fingers of the picking hand, not the standard TAB, see legend:

EXAMPLE 1: RIGHT HAND (PICKING HAND) LEGEND T = THUMB 1 = INDEX 2 = MIDDLE 3 = RING

First play through the pattern in Ex. 1. Strive for accuracy, good tone, even 8th notes, and play it until you’ve memorized it, focusing on the picking pattern itself, not on the chords or fretting hand (use open strings, or mute the strings). Make sure your thumb is playing steady quarter notes and you’re using the exact fingering shown. Once you’ve got the raw picking pattern under your fingers try applying it in Ex. 2 over a single chord E7(9). (Ex. 2 is notated in standard TAB / Notation):

EXAMPLE 2

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This pattern creates a nice groove with syncopation and built-in double stops. Double check that your thumb is playing steady (this means it doesn’t stop!) quarter notes on the 4th, 5th, and 6th strings. The ring, middle, and index fingers are on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd strings respectively. Triple check that when you’re playing the pattern the middle and ring finger are paired together on the “and” of beat 4. Now let’s take the picking pattern from Ex. 1 and apply it to an 8-bar chord progression in Ex. 3. Please be aware that the thumb plays the root of the chord on beat one of each measure (similar to what a bass player may do).

EXAMPLE 3

(Experiment with applying the pattern from Ex. 1 to any progression(s) of your choice). At the core of our groove here we are subtly emulating the basic rhythm section “band” members. The underlying rhythm itself suggests a drum groove, our thumb playing on quarter notes is suggesting a simple bass part (and or a four-to-the-floor bass drum part), and finally the fingers are playing a syncopated harmony part that suggests something that might be played by a piano or guitar.

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To take this concept another step further we will explore the “double picking� technique where the thumb and index finger will share a common string. This will be accomplished by moving the ring, middle, and index fingers down one string, from the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd strings respectively, to the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th string. The double picking will come out of necessity since the thumb and index finger will both be playing the 4th string, which will present an opportunity to vary or alternate the note(s) being played on that string. Ex. 4 will show our first pattern from Ex. 1 modified into a double picking pattern to prepare us for the next step, which is to create a more melodic line in the bass. Closely compare Ex. 4 to Ex. 1 to see the shift of the fingers on the picking hand.

EXAMPLE 4

Ex. 5 shows the double picking pattern applied to an E7 chord in first position.

EXAMPLE 5

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Throughout the measure we play the 4th string three times in close succession (within two and a half beats). This doubling or tripling of the same note can sound repetitive so to give more motion in the bass we can alternate that note as demonstrated below in Ex. 6. Utilizing this type of technique will effectively help create a simple repeating melodic line in the bass, an ostinato. Note that on the “and� of beat 3 you will need to play the open 4th (D) string before returning a finger to fret the 2nd fret, 4th string on beat 4.

EXAMPLE 6

Ex. 7 demonstrates another rhythmic pattern placing the chord tones played by the middle and ring finger on beats two and four, thus emulating a snare drum hitting on the backbeat. (Note only the picking hand fingering is shown, not TAB)

EXAMPLE 7

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Once you’ve got the raw picking pattern down from Ex. 7 try applying it in Ex. 8 over a single chord E7 in first position. Notice the combination now of an open string being followed by a fretted note on beats 3 and beats 4, which will require you to modify your fingering during the measure.

EXAMPLE 8

Ex. 9 takes the general pattern and concept from Ex. 8 and applies it to a 16-bar bluesy-etude in the key of E. You’ll want to pay special attention to keeping the picking pattern consistent (i.e. the same rhythm and same fingers playing on specific beats) with the fingerings shown in Ex. 7. It will be necessary however to vary which specific string a given finger will play, for example in measure 2 the index finger will pluck the 5th string on the “and” of beat four, and so on, in measure 3 the middle and ring finger have shifted to the 1st and 2rd string respectively, etc. Take your time, refer to Ex. 7, and these modifications should make more sense. You’ll also have to be intuitive and clever with your left hand fingerings throughout the etude to play it fluidly and efficiently.

ABOUT THE EDUCATOR Brooks Robertson The protégé of Buster B. Jones, Brooks Robertson wowed guitar fans even as a child. At age 14, he appeared on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion,” where he won first place in a talent competition. In 2014 he was awarded a full tuition scholarship to Berklee College of Music. At 25 years old, Brooks continues perfecting his craft, as well as composing his own groovy and soulful original music.

VIEW BROOK’S COURSE LIBRARY

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EXAMPLE 9

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LESSONS

SKILL LEVEL - INTERMEDIATE

PENTATONIC

SCALES

SOLOING

THE DOMINANT PENTATONIC Written by Rob Garland

One of my favorite go-to scales of recent years, especially when playing in the context of a dominant 7th chord is a rather splendid hybrid pentatonic scale that we could call the dominant pentatonic. Well actually we could call it anything we want to, just depends how silly we’re feeling today!

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The scale fits the dominant 7th chord so well because it contains all 4-chord tones from that chord plus a 4th. Take a C7 chord for example, which is spelled root-3rd-5th-b7th, the notes C-E-G-Bb. The C dominant pentatonic scale has the notes C-E-F-G-Bb. Because there is no second, it doesn’t sound as scale-y as the major scale or major pentatonic and the 3rd-4th degree gives you a hip, almost eastern quality, reminiscent of the melodies of George Harrison and the fast runs of the Mahavishnu Orchestra guru John McLaughlin. Sprinkle in a little tonal magic from Eric Johnson and you’ve got an idea of where you might have heard this scale before. To practice the scale and to really get it under your fingers I suggest taking the one octave patterns as presented in Fig. 1 and Fig. 2.

FIGURE 1

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FIGURE 2

Try overlapping them and moving between the positions connecting them on the neck. As for musical applications if you find yourself with any kind of static C7 vamp, a funky C9 (hello James Brown!) or even a hard rocking C power chord, experiment with it by jumping into the scale with both feet, or rather both hands.

Audio Clip 1

Check out the improvised playing in Audio Clip 1, where I’m using the C dominant pentatonic scale over a static C7 rock jam. Another application I really enjoy is over the blues. Whereas many players reach for the more traditional minor pentatonic in a blues context by playing the dominant pentatonic on the I chord of the blues the 3rd is targeted and then by switching to minor pentatonic (on the IV chord) there is a nice movement of chord tones and therefore a change of mood to the more traditional blues/rock sound on the IV chord. Variety is the spice of life and all that.

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So for example on a C7 blues, play the C dominant pentatonic on the I chord, which against C7 yields root3rd-4th-5th-b7th and then Cm pentatonic (C-Eb-F-G-Bb) on the IV chord (F7) which gives you the 5th-b7throot-2nd-4th of the IV chord, F7. Tasty!

Audio Clip 2

Check out the improvised playing in Audio Clip 2, where I’m using the C dominant pentatonic scale over the I chord of a C7 blues. Don’t forget to practice this in different keys and if you’re aware of the mixolydian mode think of this as it’s melodic younger brother, friendly and with eastern tendencies.

ABOUT THE EDUCATOR Rob Garland Rob Garland is as completely obsessed with music and the guitar now as he was as a teenager! He has performed hundreds of gigs across Europe and the US, worked as a session musician, written an instructional book for Cherry Lane, given tuition clinics and been featured in magazines such as Guitarist & Guitar One. Rob is extremely proud to be a TrueFire Artist with a new course “The Guitarists’s Pentathlon,” 3 workshops and an interactive classroom “Guitar Babylon,” which he describes as “twenty years of teaching all in one place.” He currently lives in sunny Los Angeles where he teaches and performs live with several bands. His original music is available through his website, iTunes, Spotify, etc.

VIEW ROB’S COURSE LIBRARY

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LESSONS

SKILL LEVEL - LATE BEGINNER, INTERMEDIATE

SOLOING

DOUBLE STOPS

CHORD FRAGMENT

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DOUBLE STOP CHOPS Written by Robbie Calvo

I play approximately 200 solo performer gigs a year with an acoustic/ electric guitar, percussion loops, vocals and a looper. Physically it’s a challenge to play 3 hours a night and improvise over the loops on an acoustic guitar, so, I found myself developing my guitar playing style for those live shows to incorporate more double stops. The double stops give me a range of melodic options that are full, harmonically rich and can be repeated as motifs when I improvise. This approach gives me an identifiable sound that is much fuller than single note options and takes a lot less physical energy when improvising. Double-stop Major and Minor 3rds, Major and Minor 6ths, Perfect 4ths and Octaves are the most typical intervals that you’ll hear in modern music. Phrasing, tonal properties and techniques are then applied to create genre specific results. The Major Scale is used to build chords by stacking major and minor 3rds. The result is a set of seven chords built from the root note of each of the 7 major scale tones - the Harmonized Major Scale. We can also build each of the aforementioned double-stop intervals based on the Major Scale. In my TrueFire course Double-Stop Chops I go into full detail on how to locate each of the double stop intervals in relation to the Major Scale / Harmonized Scale and lay them out visually as diagrams across the fretboard and along the length of the strings. Double stops can also be considered chord

fragments, which make them ideal to outline chord progressions and create solid consonant hooks and riffs. Two note chords are also referred to as dyads, however those are typically root and fifth power chord ideas that are played as a solid unit. However, in theory, double stops could also be considered dyads and you would be correct if you referred to them that way. In this lesson, I would like to give you another approach to locating double-stop shapes and ideas based around your chord shapes and chord tones - in effect, double-stop “sweet notes.” I strongly believe that having a strong visual sense of shapes within shapes (doublestop shapes within chord shapes) will help you create lines and motifs that you can transpose to other keys. You will also have a keen sense of the chord tone resolution points, as you’ll be able to see those shapes within the chord shape itself. Double-stop shapes occur on adjacent strings in the case of Minor/ Major 3rds, Fourths etc, (or with a string between them in the case of Major/Minor 6ths and Octaves). It is possible to articulate double-stop ideas using a pick but I strongly advocate using your thumb and first or second finger because you’ll be able to attack both strings at the same time without having to worry about the string in between the double-stop shapes. I also think you have a better chance of controlling the dynamic expression of each individual tone. For example, you may want the lower voice in the double stop to be softer than the upper voicing or may want one note to decay or mute before the other.

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Let’s take a look at the first fretboard diagram of an A7 chord and visually dissect the chord into doublestop chord fragments.

Diagram 1 - This is a typical A7 chord shape at the 5th fret (if you’d like to name the notes in the chord).

Diagram 2 - The top 2 notes of the A7 chord constitute a perfect fourth double stop. Play the lower note E with your thumb and the upper note, A with your first or second finger. Try playing them together and then alternated between the two notes to get the sound in your head…visualize the shape within the chord.

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Diagram 3 - This shape is a Minor 3rd double-stop interval. Play the 2 notes together and hear the sound. Now, use your thumb and fingers to articulate the 2 notes. The lower note is C# and the upper note on the second string is E. Try sliding into the shape from one fret below.

Diagram 4 - This shape is a Minor 6th double-stop interval. This is a very popular sound you’ve heard a million times and will be a “go to” shape for most guitarists. Play the tones together and then separate the tones by picking them one at a time and let the notes ring together. Try sliding into the lower note, C# from one fret below…let the note ring and then pick the upper note, A. Let both notes sustain and ring together.

Diagram 5 - This is a double-stop Major 6ths interval and will be a very popular shape within your A7 shape. Articulate the tone at the same time and then play them separately…try sliding into the shape from two frets above (7th fret position).

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Diagram 6 - This is a Major 6th double-stop interval. Experiment with how you articulate the notes, visualize the shape and them try sliding into the shape in a variety of different ways‌experiment and use your ears to see what works best. As you can probably see, there are other double-stop shapes and opportunities within the chord shape but these will be dissonant in tonality and we want to focus on the ones that produce sweet consonant resolutions.

Diagram 7 - Re-reference the A7 chord. Play each of the individual chord fragments over the A7 chord shape and re-reference the chord. Let’s take a look at some nice glissando and slides into some typical double-stop shapes over the A7 chord.

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Diagram 8 - This is a nice double-stop Major 6th move. Form the shape on the fretboard at the 7th fret (open dots) using your 2nd finger for the lower note and your 3rd finger for the upper note. Pick the low open dot and slide up to the 9th fret black dot…pick the upper black dot and slide the two notes back down to the 7th fret. Play this in time as 8th notes. Make this move really nice and smooth and let the notes ring together once you’ve picked them both at the 9th fret. This a cool move but isn’t resolute…if you want it to resolve slide up to the 9th fret as the E and C# notes (black dots are chord tones of A7.

Diagram 9 - These are double-stop Minor 6th interval shapes. Form the shape on the fretboard using your second finger for the lower note and first finger for the upper note. Pick the lower open dot and slide up to the 6th fret black dot on the same string…pick the upper note and slide both tones back down to the original position. Make sure the 2 notes are ringing together. This is a super cool sound over the A7. Partially resolved to the b7 (G) and partially unresolved on the 9 (B). If you’d like this to be fully resolute slide up to where I’ve indicated the 2 black dots…these are chord tones of A7.

Diagram 10 - These shapes are double-stop Major 6ths. You know the drill by now…form the shape using 2nd and 3rd fingers…pick the lowest note first…slide up 2 frets and without re-picking the note pick the upper note and slide the whole unit back down 2 frets to the original fretboard position. Let the 2 notes ring together. This is a very strong resolution and can rest there at the 5th fret. This is one of my favorite moves on an A7 chord. RIFF

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Diagram 11 - These double-stop fragments are Major 6th shapes. I suggest using your 3rd finger for the lowest tone in the shape and your 2nd finger for the highest. As with the last examples, start by picking the lowest tone (open dot) and slide up 2 frets then pick the higher tone and slide the shape back down to the original position while both notes ring out. The chord tones are indicated by the black dots, so remember those are your resolution points.

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Diagram 12 - This extended shape is a minor 6th double-stop. I suggest articulating this shape with your 3rd finger on the C# note and your 1st finger playing the A note at the second fret, 3rd string. Try sliding from the low B note up to the C#, then play the high A note and then pull that off to play an open G note. To conclude the sequence play the A Major chord indicated in Diagram 13. The sequence of Major and Minor 6ths we’ve just played through can now be put together as a run of double-stops. Try playing each phrase in concession using an eighth note rhythmic pulse. I think you’ll like it! Conclusion I hope you’ve enjoyed finding out more about double stops. Of course we are only scratching the surface here with a few flavors. If you would like a comprehensive study of all of the consonant double stops, including the theory and musical applications with great tracks to jam over then pick up a copy of Double Stop Chops and immerse yourself in all the wonderful tones available.

ABOUT THE EDUCATOR Robbie Calvo A native of England, Robbie is a session player, live performer, songwriter and master guitar educator. An alumni of GIT, Hollywood, California, Calvo’s pedigree as a musician is well established. Robbie has 18 best-selling guitar instructional courses published with TrueFire and continues to host workshops, film video content for some of the largest gear manufacturers in the world and perform ‘live’ in the Hawaiian Islands, as a solo artist and with his band, Vinyl.

VIEW ROBBIE’S COURSE LIBRARY RIFF

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PHOTOS REPRESENT EARLY JOHNNY HILAND KIESEL PROTOTYPE

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P HOTOS BY ALI S O N HAS BACH

THE WASHINGTON POST RECENTLY RELEASED AN ARTICLE ABOUT THE GUITAR BEING DEAD. I WAS FLOORED WHEN I HEARD THAT! I’M SURE ALL GUITAR PLAYERS READING THIS FELT THE SAME WAY. GUITAR IS CERTAINLY NOT DEAD.

ohnny was recently here in TrueFire’s studios filming Ten Gallon Guitar: Intros, Outros and Turnarounds. We noticed he was playing a new guitar; a Kiesel. We’re always curious about the guitars that our artists and educator play and so, we asked him about it (even got to play it!). Naturally, it’s not unusual for a player to endorse a guitar. And in many cases, endorsements include freebies, promotion and other promotional benefits. Johnny had to play that game like everybody else as he was coming up. But we’ve known Johnny for a long time (sweetest cat on the planet). And also one of the most honest and sincere people we know in the biz.  Today, he doesn’t choose a guitar or any other equipment for the benefits alone. So while the gear has to be up to snuff, he also has to have an affinity for the people and company behind the gear. We thought Riff readers might be interested in hearing the how and whys behind his new relationship with Kiesel. Go Johnny go… - Foreword by Brad Wendkos

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I AM COMPLETELY IN AWE OF THEIR PASSION, WHILE KEEPING A TRUE FAMILY ATMOSPHERE BOTH IN THE SHOP, AND ON THE PHONE WITH CUSTOMERS.


The Washington Post recently released an article about the guitar being dead. I was floored when I heard that! I’m sure all guitar players reading this felt the same way. Guitar is certainly not dead. A lot of the famous guitar players that we have all looked up to are still touring hard, releasing great signature model guitars, and keeping alive on social media! How could they make that statement?

Recently, it became obvious to me that I had to move to a new guitar company. Kiesel Guitars released a T-style guitar called, “the Solo.” That guitar just caught my eye! I’ve had a lot of fans begging me to move back to a T-style guitar for a long time now. Plus, it is the guitar that is most associated with country guitar/chicken pickin’. Therefore, I knew it was the right move for me.

We have also seen a massive climb in the pricing of the instrument that we love from all companies across the board. Yes, it is true, great wood is becoming harder and harder to get, and is costing more to acquire. That’s understandable. However, our economy has been in bad shape, and guitar prices keep climbing making it very difficult for anyone to afford them. What are we all supposed to do about this? If we all stopped buying guitars, what would happen to the industry?

Some people asked me why I didn’t explore other companies? I had to explain that I did. It had been bothering me how the cost of a T-style guitar had jumped so outrageously. Personally speaking, I just could not ethically go out and do clinics trying to get people to buy a $3,000 T-style guitar when I myself could not afford to buy one. And I truly cannot understand why a bolt-on neck guitar has to cost so much these days.

I moved to Nashville back in 1996 with $98 in my pocket. I have never been a man made of money, and truthfully, I am still not wealthy even now. In becoming an artist, I had to rely on endorsements to help get me into the gear I needed to pursue my career, but also to support me in magazine ads, social media, and tour support. I am thrilled, even being legally blind, that I am still able to make a living doing what I love to do! Everybody wishes for that in life. I am very fortunate, and I do still have a lot of wonderful endorsers who take great care of me! I could not be the artist I am without them. That is the truth.

PERSONALLY SPEAKING, I JUST COULD NOT ETHICALLY GO OUT AND DO CLINICS TRYING TO GET PEOPLE TO BUY A $3,000 T-STYLE GUITAR WHEN I MYSELF COULD NOT AFFORD TO BUY ONE.

After I made my decision, I was then asked, “Why Kiesel Guitars?” Kiesel Guitars, formally known as Carvin, was rebranded in 2015 by Jeff Kiesel and his father, Mark Kiesel. They split off from the Carvin Corporation and focused solely on guitars and basses. They truly wanted to “up their game” in making the best USA made custom shop guitars for the best prices. How? By selling direct online. The Kiesel name was brought back, after Lowell Kiesel (who founded the company in 1946), and a new attention to detail in guitars and basses came to the forefront in a new Kiesel fashion. After signing on with them and visiting the factory, I have now played a number of different models that they make. Their

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guitars are as top shelf as it gets. I am completely in awe of their passion, while keeping a true family atmosphere both in the shop, and on the phone with customers. When you decide to buy a Kiesel Guitar, you simply call them, place an order for your guitar of choice, wait for it to be custom built, and then have it shipped to you. When it arrives, you have 10 days to play it and check it out. If you’re not 100% happy with your guitar, you send it back, and Jeff gives you your money back. It is as simple as that.  By selling direct like that, Jeff is able to give you the best price on a USA custom built guitar that, in my

opinion, is unmatched by any other company in the world. With the economy of today, you couldn’t ask for a better connection than that. I want to see the guitar industry continue to flourish. We all need to stick together in this guitar world, and help each other out. I want to see all of us get the best bang for our buck. I am sincerely proud and honored to be teamed up with Kiesel Guitars. I am truly blessed as I do feel like a member of the family. I am also very stoked that my new Johnny Hiland signature model will be coming out very soon! It is truly amazing, and it is the best playing T-style guitar that I have ever put in my hands. I’m not just saying that folks! I mean it!

Written by Johnny Hiland

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T-STYLE TECHNICAL SPECS T-Style Body Light-Weight Swamp Ash Raw Tone Finish Birdseye maple neck and fingerboard Black Diamond Inlays Kiesel 6 In-Line Headstock Kiesel Locking Tuners with 19/1 Ratio Graphtech Tusq Nut 22 Stainless Steel Frets Hipshot Hardtail Bridge Contoured Heel for easier access up the neck Dual Action Truss Rod (with 2 carbon fiber rods on each side for stability 3 Signature Johnny Hiland Six Shooter Singles by Electric City Pickups 3 Strat-sized Single Coils (with base plate on bridge pickup for Tele spank) Master Volume & Master Tone Knobs (in custom position) 5-Way Blade Switch with Johnny Hiland signature switch pattern (1,3, and 5 are like standard Tele. 2 is second position Strat. 4 is middle pickup by itself) Elixir Strings 9-42

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WRITTEN BY JEFF SCHEETZ

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YOU MUST ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST, YOU MUST ALWAYS BE PREPARED, AND YOU MUST ALWAYS BE PROFESSIONAL

P HOTO S BY A LIS O N HAS BAC H

B

luegrass is raw, earthy and authentic, while at the same time sounding extremely precise with tight harmonies and amazing instrumental technique! To walk this tightrope and master this juxtaposition of elements takes a musical feel and a love of the art.

Stephen Mougin (Mojo to his friends) is someone who has spent a good deal of time developing that talent. He says his dad took up guitar when Stephen was just 5 years old. “We started going to local jams, which were mostly classic country and bluegrass, all played on acoustic instruments. By the time I was 6, I was pickin’ and singin’ along.” That early experience blossomed and led to Mojo playing mandolin, as well as continuing to hone his vocal chops. “In bluegrass, you’re expected to pick AND sing, and as you get into the profession, job opportunities are more plentiful if you are a multiinstrumentalist.” For the last dozen years, he has found himself playing with one of the icons of bluegrass music, Sam Bush. He got the gig in 2006 and says, “I was fortunate to have several friends who facilitated an introduction, which led to an audition.” That aspect of networking and having those friends who can recommend you is an important concept Stephen likes to discuss. “I can’t speak strongly enough about networking within the industry. You MUST always do your best, you MUST always be prepared, and you MUST always be professional, regardless of the particular gig you’re playing. People will notice that, and you’ll become the musician they think about when folks are asking for recommendations. Sam’s banjo player (Scott Vestal) hired me back in ’05 to play guitar with a project he was

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I FEEL LIKE THAT WIDE MUSICAL EXPERIENCE ALLOWS ME TO ‘PLAY FOR THE SONG’ RATHER THAN JUST GLUE A GENRE-BOUND TAKE TO EVERY CHART I TRACK.

putting together and when the Sam Bush Band gig opened up, his word was the final straw that made Sam call me to audition. It has been an amazing learning experience and the band is constantly pushing each other to be better.” Often the amazing long wonderful years of a gig can come from just one recommendation or one call. Having your chops together when that call comes is the key. Stephen refines those chops both in the studio working on his own material, as well as working with others. He says, “I enjoy the creative process. I own a studio and small bluegrass record label (Dark Shadow Recording), so I’m involved in all aspects of the recording process. I LOVE producing young bands, helping them find their sound, developing their approach to business, and creating an album that exceeds what they thought they were capable of. That is pure joy for me.” Of course all that focus on songs has helped him get a great view of what his own playing is about. “When I’m behind the mic, I really like to get ‘inside’ the songs I’m playing. I’m a bluegrass musician, but I play and listen to all kinds of music. I feel like that wide musical experience allows me to ‘play for the song’ rather than just glue a genre-bound take to every chart I track. I take great pride in doing everything I can to make the artist sound ‘better’, often-times that means playing less than I know, taking out everything but what the song really NEEDS.”

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JOB OPPORTUNITIES ARE MORE PLENTIFUL IF YOU ARE A MULTI-INSTRUMENTALIST.

Teaching is something that seems to happen naturally for Stephen. His genuine caring nature and love for the music, along with his willingness to share all he has learned is what makes him a dynamic instructor. When asked what advice he would give to an aspiring young bluegrass picker, he gives this advice, “Listen. Listen more. Focused listening is crucial to developing your bluegrass chops. Sitting down with one song from the classic repertoire and listening through once for what the banjo does on each section, then go back for guitar, then mandolin, then fiddle, then bass, then lead vocal, then harmony parts…do all that and you’ll REALLY know what’s going on in that song. You’ll begin to see patterns and tendencies, which will exponentially ramp up your picking education as you can assimilate things you know and use them in other places. Focus on rhythm. Yeah, the fancy pickin’ is what draws most players in, but the true greats in the genre are coveted for their rhythm playing as much as lead.

Mind the beat. You might notice that bluegrass is a very ‘front-of-the-beat’ music. Lazy, imprecise timing will forever mark you as a ‘non-bluegrassplayer’. Understanding that concept is half the battle to becoming a genre pro.” Of course those words of wisdom take time to digest for a young player, but that is the path for the musician who strives to rise to the top. Stephen is hard at work on a new studio build, and has avoided taking on new projects until that is done. But he says he will be out on the road with Sam again, and “trying to get some more tracks done for my own album (it’s embarrassing that I don’t have one…I spend all of my time making everyone else’s art!).” That is just the way of someone who is the authentic article – wanting to do art and at the same time wanting to help and share what they know. It is a balancing act, but looking at the past history and long list of accomplishments of this picker, I am confident this Mojo will continue workin’.

www.stephenmougin.com


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ABOUT THE CHET ATKINS APPRECIATION SOCIETY (CAAS) The original Chet Atkins Fan Club was started around 1951 by Margaret Fields. In 1983, Jim Ferron, along with Mark Pritcher, started a new society honoring Chet. However, instead of a traditional fan club, they envisioned a society who would honor its hero, but would equally focus on the musical legacy and multifaceted career of a unique musical genius. They formed the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society for those with a sincere interest and appreciation of Chet’s music. Through 2000, Chet himself participated in the annual conventions, and his presence was warmly appreciated by the members. Since his passing, they continue to preserve his legacy, and encourage young and old alike to keep his music alive and appreciate the many contributions he made to the guitar and the music of America. Each year they meet in Nashville for four days to watch, listen and learn about the music of one of the greatest musicians the world has ever known.

ABOUT Valérie Duchâteau Valérie Duchâteau grew up in Céret, a small town located in the south of France and impregnated with a lot of culture as Picasso or Braque also stayed there before becoming famous. The geographical situation of Céret, at a few miles from Spain, really helped to define her instrument and style of music. She was hardly eleven when she was introduced to Alexandre Lagoya who managed her immediately and said : “Valérie Duchâteau will find her place in guitar history”. ​ uring her travels, she met Marcel Dadi with whom D she often shared the stage and where she discovered country music and picking. She played with the greatest artists like Chet Atkins, Larry Corryel or also Nato Lima. In Nashville, where she felt a little at home, Tom Bresh managed her first album “America”. ​ She started a magazine devoted to the acoustic guitar, Guitarist Acoustic and an other magazine devoted to the classical guitar, Guitare Classique. Today, Valérie Duchâteau is an artist, educator, performance, and arranger.

other LINKS:

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Website https://www.valerieduchateau.com Guitare Classique Magazine https://www.guitareclassiquemag.fr

Video Performance

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HOUSE NEWS

ARTIST DIRECTORY Artists Featured in this Edition of Riff

ADAM LEVY Adam Levy is an accomplished guitarist, composer, and singer-songwriter based in Los Angeles, California. Levy recorded and toured extensively with Norah Jones as a member of her Handsome Band (2001-2007) and has also worked with Ani DiFranco, Lisa Loeb, Tracy Chapman, Amos Lee, Rosanne Cash, and Sara Watkins. Levy has released several recordings of his own. Town & Country is his latest.

BROOKS ROBERTSON The protégé of Buster B. Jones, Brooks Robertson wowed guitar fans even as a child. At age 14, he appeared on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion,” where he won first place in a talent competition. In 2014 he was awarded a full tuition scholarship to Berklee College of Music. Brooks continues perfecting his craft, as well as composing his own groovy and soulful original music.

HENRY JOHNSON Henry is an American jazz guitarist. His recording debut, “You’re The One,” achieved #1 status on both the Radio & Records NAC chart, and Contemporary Jazz chart for two months. In addition to his solo recording projects, Johnson has found time to record with the likes of Ramsey Lewis, vocalists, Joe Williams and Vanessa Rubin, and saxophonist Richie Cole, among many others. He has performed with Nancy Wilson, Marlena Shaw, Angela Bofill, and many other great jazz artists.

JOHNNY HILAND Johnny Hiland, legally blind, Nashville-based, artist is world renowned as a guitar artist, clinician, guitar instructor, and session musician. Johnny has played on records for such artists as Toby Keith, Ricky Skaggs, Hank 3, Randy Travis, Lynn Anderson, Janie Fricke, Rebecca Lynn Howard, Nokie Edwards, and many others. He has performed on stage with Sammy Hagar, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, George Clinton and P-Funk, Joe Bonamassa, Ricky Skaggs, Toby Keith, and others.

KELLY RICHEY Kelly Richey is a master blues guitarist who has been playing and touring worldwide for over 30 years. Richey has been a guitar instructor just about as long as she’s been playing, with over 1,000 students, to date. With near 4,000 shows under her belt, Richey is a seasoned pro, who has a solid understanding of blues and blues-based rock guitar techniques. Richey is an outgoing, deeply dedicated guitar instructor.

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ROB GARLAND Rob Garland is as completely obsessed with music and the guitar now as he was as a teenager! He has performed hundreds of gigs across Europe and the US, worked as a session musician, written an instructional book for Cherry Lane, given tuition clinics and been featured in magazines such as Guitarist & Guitar One. Rob is extremely proud to be a TrueFire Artist with a new course “The Guitarists’s Pentathlon,” 3 workshops and an interactive classroom “Guitar Babylon,” which he describes as “twenty years of teaching all in one place.” He currently lives in sunny Los Angeles where he teaches and performs live with several bands. His original music is available through his website, iTunes, Spotify, etc.

ROBBIE CALVO A native of England, Robbie is a session player, live performer, songwriter and master guitar educator. An alumni of GIT, Hollywood, California, Calvo’s pedigree as a musician is well established. Robbie has 18 best-selling guitar instructional courses published with TrueFire and continues to host workshops, film video content for some of the largest gear manufacturers in the world and perform ‘live’ in the Hawaiian Islands, as a solo artist and with his band, Vinyl.

SHANE THERIOT Shane Theriot is a guitarist, composer and Grammy award-winning producer. He is a highly sought after sideman/studio guitarist, he has recorded and or performed with The Neville Brothers, Dr. John, Jewel, Beyonce’, Sammy Hagar, Willie Nelson, Rickie Lee Jones, Larry Carlton, Branford Marsalis, Hall and Oates, Harry Connick Jr., Boz Scaggs, Amos Lee, LeAnn Rimes, Little Feat. Shane is currently on the TV show “Live From Daryl’s House” featuring Daryl Hall, in which he serves as Music Director/Guitarist.

STEPHEN MOUGIN Stephen Mougin is one of the most respected Jack-of-All-Trades in acoustic music. A compassionate teacher, compelling touring guitarist, natural songwriter, sought-after producer, and gifted sound engineer, Stephen Mougin is a go-to guy for pretty much anything under the musical sun.

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Lessons COMPILATION ALBUM

RIFFAGE: VOLUME 13 Here ye, here ye! Audiophiles, guitar aficionados and enlightened children of the ‘Fire — prepare thy ears and hearts for magical music from the artists and educators featured in this edition of RIFF. Click the download button below for your personal copy of RIFFAGE Volume 13…

Blueberry Blonde - Adam Levy & Jay Bellerose Jonesin’ - Brooks Robertson Sambalea - Henry Johnson Gatton After It - Johnny Hiland Fast Drivin’ Mama - Kelly Richey The Fool - Rob Garland Where the Wind Blows - Robbie Calvo Another Way to Get to You - Stephen Mougin & Ned Luberecki

Download the FREE Album

SPRING 2018 | ISSUE 14

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BEHIND THE MIX We can’t say it enough — the not-so-secret ingredients of TrueFire are the artists and educators that we are privileged to collaborate with. Not just amazingly talented educators, they are also brilliant composers, arrangers and recording artists in their own right. Enjoy their music and please visit their websites and social media networks.

Blueberry Blonde - Adam Levy & Jay Bellerose ““Blueberry Blonde” is a waltz in drop-D tuning. It was loosely inspired by Ry Cooder’s “Great Dream from Heaven”—which, in turn, was inspired by the playing of Joseph Spence, a great Bahamian guitarist. I played this tune on my 1959 Gibson ES-330, through a vintage Boss VB-2 vibrato pedal, into a late-50s Fender Harvard amp.” Jonesin’ - Brooks Robertson “Composed by Brooks Robertson Publisher: Brooks Robertson Music (ASCAP) ‘A funky fingerstyle tune inspired by and in honor of Robertson’s mentor, Buster B. Jones.”

Samblea - Henry Johnson “Here’s an orignal track from my “New Beginnings” recording. Description - This is an original song titled, “Samblea” (pronounced, Samba-Lee) which was written in a samba style. It features the great jazz trumpeter, Freddie Hubbard, and it was written for my “New Beginnings” recording. It can be purchased on iTunes.”

Gatton After It - Johnny Hiland “Gatton After It” is a jam style song that I wrote in honor of my biggest guitar hero, Danny Gatton. It has every Gatton-style lick I could throw in there. Plus, it is fun in that it showcases my road band with Bruce Guttridge on drums and TJ Armstrong on bass. We also used Walt Scott on keyboards, and he smoked on this track too! It is a high energy track, and I tried to get it to feel like something Danny would have placed on 88 Elmira Street or Relentless!

| ONLINE LINK DIRECTORY | RIFFJOURNAL.COM/LINKS-V14

Fast Drivin’ Mama - Kelly Richey “Fast Driven’ Mama is a song from Kelly Richey’s studio release titled Sweet Spirit. This ain’t no polite, watered-down sound. This is a hardcore blues-rock on steroids, blistering, in-your-face, heavy hitting, riff-driven song that unleashes the power of guitarist, Kelly Richey. Just hit play and let the power of Kelly Richey and her guitar do the driving…!” The Fool - Rob Garland “Sometimes I like to take a break from the jazzfusion world and write pop/rock vocal songs. ‘The Fool’ is an acoustic song that I wrote and recorded in 2017. I played my Martin D15 on it.”

Where the Wind Blows - Robbie Calvo “Here’s an instrumental tune of mine called ‘Where The Wind Blows’. Mp3 attached. Description: ‘Where The Wind Blows’ is an instrumental version of a song I wrote and recorded in Nashville when I had my studio there. The music brings back fond memories of good times and the struggles I went through...but through it all I remained positive, resolute and above all, free spirited...I hope you like it. I’ll have a new EP of songs for sale that I’m recording in Nashville in July...available in the Autumn... perhaps you could mention that.”

Another Way to Get to You - Ned Luberecki & Stephen Mougin “Another Way to Get to You” is a bluegrass tune I recorded with Ned Luberecki, taken from the Nedski and Mojo album Nothing More.”

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SNAPSHOTs

and o ve l , Peace

Mean beans on the road

Tommy Emmanuel and T hom Bresh hamming it up.

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eggs r ste


Ali and Jack P earson at All Star

One cool doggie - a common scene downtown Nashville

Brad ph oto-bo

mbs Ste phen

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www.riffjournal.com SPRING 2018 | ISSUE 14

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Riff Journal | Spring 2018 | Issue 14  

While the Riff headquarters is located in Florida so we can’t complain about winter freezes or arctic blasts, there is always a sense of reg...

Riff Journal | Spring 2018 | Issue 14  

While the Riff headquarters is located in Florida so we can’t complain about winter freezes or arctic blasts, there is always a sense of reg...