Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page get the attention as the major guitar gods, as do a plethora of other superb rock musicians, but a humble, blind guitarist from the little town of Deep Gap, North Carolina playing an acoustic guitar in flatpicking style is arguably one of the finest guitarists of the 20th century, right there alongside Django Reinhardt. Not to diminish the abilities of rock’s greatest axes, but as pretty much any guitar player will tell you, electric guitars are easier to play than acoustic ones and the stacks of amps and effects pedals can make a mid-range talent sound far better than they actually are. With an acoustic, there’s no room to hide. It’s just you and the strings and those strings don’t lie.
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George Harrison once said he didn’t recognize Beatle George. Newspaper reporters can only nail so much truth, not least for the limited glean of timed interview slots, after which informed guesswork as a kind of excusable act of fiction must fill in the gaps. Hence, George was and will forever remain in the picture—certainly as foundation—but Beatle George outgrew the source, becoming an endlessly canvassed product of hive-expectation. It happened to all of the Beatles, as it does all stars that achieve universal, celestial acclaim. They become cubistic: there were too many side to their profiles for them to be real.
If you crave haunting melodies shaded with dark shadows, looped vocals and looming organs, I suggest you tune your ears to Bone and Bell. Hailing from Chicago Bone and Bell is the music and art of Texas-born singer/songwriter Heather Smith. Originally a solo effort Smith recently expanded her project into a quartet. Together as a full band Bone and Bell are releasing their second EP Organ Fantasies. Organ Fantasies is four tracks of melancholic complexities bound by layers of Smith’s delicate vocals and rhythmic subtleties. In a mere 11 minutes Bone and Bell create an arcane world exotic eccentricities, bound to leave you still with wonder. Bone and Bell’s Organ Fantasies came out on 7-inch vinyl and as a digital download on May 25.
To most people, the Memorial Day weekend is the start of summer so why not explore some new music for your own personal soundtrack. With a mix of recent arrivals and established artists, releases abound for the listening to heat things up. Notes are provided with background info for further discovery.
American Idol’s fifth season was filled with shocking eliminations. Big-voiced R&B/gospel singer Mandisa didn’t make it to the top eight. Kellie Pickler, a country singer who reminded people of previous winner Carrie Underwood, didn’t make it into the top five. Plus, American Idol’s most successful male contestant and one of the biggest stars in modern rock music, Chris Daughtry, didn’t win.
Regardless of who was voted off when, it was the still the highest rated TV series of 2006. One of the show’s most successful seasons, it resulted in a record number of Billboard chart appearances, with 18 contestants from the show eventually receiving some sort of record contract!
But whatever happened to those who made it to the top that year? Let’s find out as we continue on with 2006’s American Idols.