Monday, July 24, 2017

The Morning Show is a blog companion to the podcast audio

  Good morning!  Oh man, I have something you've GOTTA hear!  It's a new song, and here's the story. You all probably realize by now that I'm a musician, and I teach guitar.  Through that avenue, I get to meet some pretty awesome people, like Anthony and Brian R.  Anthony is the older brother, about to head off to the University of Maryland.  He's been jammin' in the "Guitarmy", as I call it, since he was 12, and is one of the most talented people I know.  He wins competitions with his playing, and friends with his kindness and humility.

  His little brother Brian first joined in the musical experience when he was about 8 or  9.  I was having a birthday party/jam session with my students, and us "big kids" were all rockin' out on guitar.  Brian was watching intently, and when I held up a cigar box guitar to join in the festivities, he eagerly jumped in, learning as he went.  My own brother Noah snapped a great picture of him, a look of laser focus on his face as he followed along.  He eventually started lessons, and WOW, is like a fish in the water, swimming along in an ocean of music, learning from his brother, and inventing  his own style.  Equally as talented as Anthony, he too has the ability  to channel his personality into his playing.

  So, we all finished recording a song yesterday.  (We had started a week ago, but the power went out in the middle of the session, right as Brian was about to track his guitar solo.)  I'd like to explain what you're hearing.

  I programmed an electronic-sounding dance track with a hint of DC go go in a program called Ableton Live.  The keyboard sounds are a sample that I made with my guitar synthesizer and a reel-to-reel tape deck.  Anthony listened to the track, and wrote a funky rhythm guitar progression.  He then doubled back and plugged his Music Man guitar into a Fender Blues Jr. tube amp with a vintage speaker, and played the beautiful Greg-Howe style lead over it for the first guitar solo you hear, capturing his dynamic and outgoing personality on tape.

  Brian came back next week, after the studio power was back on, and used my Strat, running through an Ibanez TS9 into a custom-made low-wattage tube amp his dad built, which was powering another custom 2x12 celestion-loaded cab that his dad had also crafted.  Listen to the second guitar solo here to get a sense of Brian's mellow, thoughtful vibe, as he follows his train of thought across the fretboard.

  It was perfect, but...the dance track had ended, and I wanted to put a guitar solo on record, along with these guys!  So, the idea was hatched.  I tried to track a conga drum line, and Anthony heard notes from the hand drums in the first take.  He picked up a bass, and we retracked the groove live, me on congas, Anthony on bass, and Brian on bongos.  The mic didn't pick up enough of Brian, though, so he added a second bongo track over it, and went to town!  It's panned off to the left side, so check it out.  I picked up a spare tire that I couldn't throw out (the garbage  man couldn't take it), and we all took turns wailing on it for the cowbell sound you hear.  Finally, I picked up my strat, plugged the custom tube amp into another custom cab loaded with a vintage 12" and vintage 15" speaker, turned on the TS9, and put a funky lead down for the last guitar solo on the track.

Ladies and gents, in collaboration with Anthony and Brian R., I give you...Fenwick!  (So named by Anthony, glancing around the studio and seeing a street sign my brothers gave me.)

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