Solomon Hicks

Solomon Hicks

When the Cotton Club and its band are your playground and playmates both, you can be sure there’s something going on. With that kind of cred , one develops his own anesthetic against flavor of the month disposable trends in search of the real thing. Solomon Hicks in spite of his young age, has been living that experience, and thrived in it. His manners, his tone, his vocals, and his James Bondish-BB Kingish classy attire, helped set him up in a league of his own, among today’s contemporary 6 strings virtuoso. But it’s once again the Blues, whereas in the eternal lessons of King “BB”, or on the street’s gospel of Harlem , that motivated the Lil’ BB to become the take no prisoner performer of today. Whereas on Sirius XM BB KIng’s Blues Deville or on plenty of streaming playlist, no Blues lover was able to escape this past year from the love the media and the fans are giving plenty Solomon Hicks, actually : King Solomon Hicks.
Duration: 55:26

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Kevin was born in Compton, California to loving parents, and into a talented family who where from richly diverse musical cities of Chicago , Illinois and New Orleans, Louisiana. From birth he has congenital club feet and a hip displacement , but he did not allow this condition to deter him from pursuing his passion for music and the zest for life. Meeting Louis Armstrong at one of his concerts was also an inspiration in his early years... Kevin was self-taught at the tender age of 4, playing his sister's piano and at age 7 he took up his brother's saxophone, as he was gifted and enjoyed playing several instruments. When he was 9 his father suggested that he find a dedicated instrument of his own to play. Kevin wanted to play drums, however, his father thought with his handicap, eventually he would become discouraged.His older brother had a band and persuaded him to play electric bass because it was needed. Christmas of that year, Kevin received his first bass, a St George bass obtained from a swap meet. His brother taught him the basic technique and playing position, and the Kevin took it from there. He listened to various musical styles from Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Big Band swing, Classical, Rhythm and Blues, Soul and Rock. During that time there were no stereo systems, stereo sound, or digital technology as we know it today. There were only records players and vinyl records. Many bass notes were difficult to hear, so Kevin put his ear over the record player as it played, to hear the bass notes for the songs he would play in his brothers band. At 13 years of age he began his formal musical training on the flute with Milton Hall from Watts,CA. Acoustic bass began during this time with Mr Hamilton also from Watts as well, which he continued through High School. At Pius the Tenth High School, Kevin learn to read music on both instruments respectively. The flute in treble clef and the bass in bass clef. He studied harmony, 20th century western music, counterpoint, and took other music courses as well.In addition, he performed with the prestigious all-city Pico Rivera Stage Band, yielding him the experience, and understanding of the bass player's role in a big band. This band won numerous awards, and the Hollywood Bowl Competitions for 3 consecutive years. In this same band, Kevin received the Jazz Soloist Award at the Orange Coast College Jazz Band Competitions. After graduating from Pius the Tenth High School, Kevin earned a full scholarship to the University of Southern California; however, his love for jazz prompted him to forego the USC Scholarship. Instead he opted to attend Cerritos and Long Beach Colleges, know for their jazz programs. Soon after, his desire to play professionally, and an opportunity to work with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, relocated Kevin to New York City. After his stint with Tommy Dorsey, he returned to Los Angeles, and also returned to his previous classical acoustic bass training, studying under renowned bassist's: David Borkenhagen, Nathaniel Gangursky, Ami Porat, and was a protege of Barry Lieberman from the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. While working in the Bellflower Symphony Orchestra, Kevin finished his education at the University of Long Beach. As his career escalated, Kevin has become a premier bassist /producer on the music scene. Today, he has found great success working with many of the world's top recording artists, entertainers, musicians, and is involved in a myriad of events within the music, entertainment, television, multimedia, web designing and film industries. In 2007 he was awarded by the National Association of Recording Arts and Science Double Grammy 's for his musicianship and participation on the 2007 Grammy Nominated " Album of the Year " and "Best Pop Vocal Album " Justin Timberlake "FutureSex/LoveSounds", 2006 Best R&B Album of the Year "Breakthrough" by Mary J Blige , 2005 Beyonce and Stevie Wonder " So Amazing " single and the 2004 Grammy Album Of The Year , Best Rap Album , " OUTKAST ".
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Fab's Music Café | Scott Page, The Interview
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Join Scott Page, saxophone/guitarist for the iconic bands Pink Floyd, Supertramp, and Toto, is also a technologist and business guru, currently mastermind of Think:EXP on the journey that strives to revolutionize the entertainment industry by bridging the gap between the human spirit and technological innovation. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California's Thornton School of Music. He is currently CEO of Think:EXP, a Los Angeles-based media company focused on live immersive entertainment. Scott has worked on and led a number of ventures, including Walt Tucker Productions, an audio video post production company that produced projects for The Rolling Stones, Bon Jovi, Janet Jackson, Garth Brooks, Scorpions and others. He co-founded 7th Level, Inc., a CD-ROM game and educational software company where he co-produced Tuneland, an interactive musical cartoon (starring Howie Mandel and featuring David Gilmour), the Monty Python interactive series, and was integral to the development of QD7, an interactive multimedia joint venture with Quincy Jones and David Salzman that resulted from Jones' partnering with the company. Page co-founded New Media Broadcasting Company, a social media and collaborative communications enterprise and co-founded and served as CEO of Direct2Care, an online healthcare presence management company. Before his most recent venture with Think:EXP, Scott had co-founded GetYourOPI, an online presence management company and served as CEO of Ignited Network, "a start up music accelerator based in Los Angeles." As an artist, his continued work as a recording and as a session musician continues to draw interest from Pink Floyd fans and other music fans alike.
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Fab's Music Café: Blackberry Smoke's, Charlie Starr - Interview
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Charlie Starr is the lead vocalist, guitarist and principle songwriter for southern rock band, Blackberry Smoke. Starr was named in Music Radar’s top 23 guitarists, a list that includes “rock guitar gods” like Keith Richards of Rolling Stones, Slash of Guns N’ Roses, and Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, among others. He recently took part in Willie Nelsons “Come and Toke It” live stream as well as took over some hosting and DJ duties on Sirius XM’s Outlaw Country. Meanwhile, Blackberry Smoke’s released a new rendition of The Marshall Tucker Band’s “Take The Highway ". “Take The Highway” is the latest song unveiled from Blackberry Smoke’s special new EP, Live From Capricorn Sound Studios, which will be released June 19 with a portion of all proceeds going to the Recording Academy’s MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund. It was recorded earlier this year at Capricorn Sound Studios in Macon, GA. The project consists of six new versions of songs that have special ties to the historic studio and town. It was produced by Starr and Blackberry Smoke, the EP is now available for both CD and vinyl pre-order <https://stem.ffm.to/midnightrider>. The project will be released as a lead up to the band’s anticipated “Spirit of the South Tour: A Celebration of Southern Rock and Roll Music” this summer, with Allman Betts Band & Wild Feathers. Starr has also been writing new songs for a new full length Blackberry Smoke album, and recently returned to the studio with Grammy Award-winning producer Dave Cobb to begin work on their next album, including a new song with Jamey Johnson. The new music follows the release of their latest full-length album, Find A Light, which debuted as the best-selling Country and Americana/Folk album in the country, entered at #3 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart and #2 on the Billboard Americana/Folk Albums chart in 2018. Of the album, NPR Music praises, “pushes the envelope while providing that famous Blackberry Smoke autonomy, delivered with soulful vocals, haunting harmonies and kick ass songs.” After the release of Find A Light, Blackberry Smoke released two additional projects—a live album and concert film, Homecoming: Live In Atlanta which debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Americana/Folk Album Sales chart—and a 6-song acoustic EP, The Southern Ground Sessions. Pigeonholing Blackberry Smoke has never been easy. Since emerging from Atlanta in the early '00s, the quintet—vocalist/lead guitarist Charlie Starr, guitarist/vocalist Paul Jackson, bassist/vocalist Richard Turner, drummer Brit Turner and keyboardist Brandon Still—has become known for a singular sound indebted to classic rock, blues, country and folk. This fluidity has paid off handsomely, in the form of two Billboard chart-topping country albums, 2015's Holding All The Roses and 2016's Like An Arrow. (For good measure, the latter also topped Billboard's Americana/Folk album chart.) Find A Light, Blackberry Smoke's sixth studio album, doubles down on diversity. Songs hew toward easygoing roots-rock ("Run Away From It All") and Southern rock stomps ("The Crooked Kind"), as well as stripped-down acoustic numbers ("I've Got This Song") and bruising alt-country ("Nobody Gives A Damn"). Rich instrumental flourishes—keening fiddle, solemn organ and bar-band piano boogie—add further depth and resonance. "That's one of my favorite things about Blackberry Smoke albums—there's a lot of variety," Starr says. "My favorite albums through the years are built that way, too. I love a record that keeps you guessing. I love the fact that our records are sort of a ride, with different types of songs and different vibes." Within Blackberry Smoke's catalog, Find A Light is distinctive in several notable ways. The record sounds heavier than other albums; in fact, Starr characterizes the churning, scorched-blues album opener, "Flesh And Bone," as "maybe the heaviest song we've ever recorded." The title has deep significance to the record's overarching themes. "Most of our albums have been named either for a song on the album or a lyric, and this time I didn't want to do that," Starr says. "I thought, 'What headspace is humanity in as a whole?' That's pretty hard to argue with that. I think everybody is hoping and looking for something better right now." Accordingly, Find A Light's lyrics portray characters weighed down by the pressures of everyday life. "Flesh And Bone" explores the conundrum of temptation; "Run Away From It All" is about seizing the day and trying to leave troubles behind; and "Nobody Gives A Damn" cautions about letting external achievements such as an attractive partner or a hit song go to one's head. "Inspiration comes from so many different places," Starr says. "A lot of inspiration can be drawn from current events these days, and how complicated the world is." Yet Find A Light's hard-luck characters are soldiering forward despite it all, and remain buoyed by optimism—and deep faith in themselves. "One of these days I’ll get the best seat in the house/It’s the measure of a man, of a man," goes the jangly "Best Seat In The House," while the narrator of "I've Got A Song" asserts, "At the end of the day, it’s the one thing they can’t take away: I’ve got this song." The album's final song, "Mother Mountain," focuses on the belief that redemption and rebirth are always within reach. "It felt good to write that song," Starr says of the latter. "I don't write a whole lot of songs like that, the really optimistic, yearning for something better kind of a song. The album's called Find A Light, and that song is sort of a plea, as far as that goes." Starr switched into writing mode for Find A Light thanks to impromptu songwriting sessions he had with his friend Keith Nelson, formerly of the band Buckcherry. The men had never collaborated before, but found an instant creative connection. In fact, Starr ended up using four songs from their time together—including "Run Away From It All," "Nobody Gives A Damn" and "Best Seat In The House"—on Find A Light. "At some point, I told him, 'Man, I really like these songs for Blackberry Smoke. These are Blackberry Smoke songs,'" Starr says. "He didn't disagree. I hadn't really started to write for another album yet, so these lit the fire, so to speak.” Blackberry Smoke spent a little over two weeks recording Find A Light in Atlanta with engineer/mixer Tom Tapley and long-time collaborator Benji Shanks. As with 2016's Like An Arrow, the band self-produced the record. "With these two albums, we really knew what we wanted them to sound like, and what kind of record we wanted to make," Starr says. "It was a pretty easy decision to say, 'Hey, let's do it ourselves.'" That confident vision informed the band's decision to have several guest musicians appear on Find A Light. The brisk, gospel-tinged Southern rocker "I'll Keep Ramblin'" features the song's co-writer, Robert Randolph, adding frantic pedal steel, while the psychedelic-tinted folk elegy "Mother Mountain" blooms with The Wood Brothers' inimitable harmonies. "As we were recording that song, I was singing it, and from the very beginning of that song—even in its embryonic stage—I wanted it to be a three-part harmony all the way through," Starr says. "I asked The Wood Brothers, because I love their vocal blend. They're fantastic harmony singers." Another Keith Nelson co-write, the easygoing "Let Me Down Easy," features Amanda Shires shading Starr's vocals with her clarion twang. "I thought it would be really cool to have a female harmony on this song, sort of a Gram Parsons-Emmylou Harris kind of thing," Starr explains. "And Amanda came to mind. Her voice is so cool, so genuine and unique." At its core, Find A Light illustrates the efficiency and chemistry of Blackberry Smoke's instrumentalists, who have no trouble translating the band's loose live shows into crisp studio recordings. "We always record together," Starr says. "That's what bands do. And you go in and listen, and think, 'Wow. How did that happen? What just happened? That was magic. That was magical. Can we do that again?' "I'm always blown away by my bandmates' sympathy for the song," he adds. "We all agree that that's the way to be in this band is to play for the song—the song is the vehicle." This commitment to putting the music first above all other considerations is one reason Blackberry Smoke has continued to evolve during their time together. And it also explains why Find A Light's sonic progressions and expansions sound so effortless. "We didn't want to repeat ourselves," Starr says. "I don't ever want to make a record that ourselves or are fans are like, 'It's the same old thing.' But I still get a real lift from listening to Find A Light, even after multiple listens. I really am proud of the work that we accomplished."
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IBANEZ ANNOUNCES  NEW 2021 ELECTRIC GUITAR LINEUP
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IBANEZ ANNOUNCES NEW 2021 ELECTRIC GUITAR LINEUP

Bensalem, PA. Ibanez has JUST announced the latest editions to their vast selection of electric guitars. New for 2021, the exceptional AZ-N Series and three new Prestige Hollow Body models are sure to help guitarists ring in the new year. New for 2021, the AZ line is adding a new offshoot called the AZ-N series. This new breed of AZ is built around three principal differences from the originals. The first, are newly designed Seymour Duncan® Fortuna™ pickups with a more scooped mid-range, giving them a classic, organic, open voice. As a result, the guitar is extremely natural sounding which is what the “N” in AZ-N represents. This design also features a Rosewood fingerboard, with a compound radius; 9” towards the nut and 12” towards the bridge. This creates a neck that strikes the perfect ergonomic balance for clean melodies and chordal playing along with searing fast solo work higher up on the neck. The AZ-N still retains the musically flexible nature of the originals, while offering specifically tailored elements aimed at the player whose sound centers on a more traditional tone. No word yet on the ESTIMATED STREET PRICE: Ibanez also Announced Three New Prestige Hollow Body Models the professional-grade Artstar series. The influences of these legendary instruments are immediately apparent with a bone nut, ebony fretboard, and Ibanez's signature Super 58 custom pickups. The critical eye will appreciate the attention to detail poured into these instruments like the smoothness of the fretboard and the skill applied to the fretwork, generally found on instruments costing twice as much. The Artstar embodies the pure jazz-box and the continual evolution the genre represents. For 2021, there are three revamped made-in-Japan Artstar models: the AF2000, AS2000, and AM2000. The AF2000 represents the quintessential Jazz Box and is the most traditional design among the three. It’s full-hollow body construction produces a rich, complex tone, expressed with a pure voice and full body, the tonal characteristics most highly desired among the discerning Jazz player. The AS2000 utilizes a semi-hollow body construction and is built to tackle just about any genre of music you throw at it, with the pickups mounted directly to the center block for increased sustain and feedback elimination. The AM2000H Is smaller in size than other two models, but this guitar provides warm, punchy tone and abundant sustain. It offers the added benefit being compact enough that players more accustomed to a solid body electric will feel right at home on this new Artstar guitar. For more information click the info button now.
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Update: Jan 15th, 2021: Jerry Garcia Music Arts Releases "Front Street Outtakes", rare studio recording session between Jerry Garcia and  Sanjay Mishra.
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Update: Jan 15th, 2021: Jerry Garcia Music Arts Releases "Front Street Outtakes", rare studio recording session between Jerry Garcia and Sanjay Mishra.

News out of SAN FRANCISCO, that the Jerry Garcia Music Arts label has just released a new album titled "Front Street Outtakes" featuring studio out-takes from a 1994 recording session Jerry recorded with Indian American guitarist-composer, Sanjay Mishra. The unreleased recordings represent one of Jerry's last full album recording projects completed at the Grateful Dead's iconic Club Front Studios and originate from unedited material used in the creation of the 1995 album "Blue Incantation." As with all of Sanjay Mishra's work, the music on the album has a multicultural and eclectic appeal merging Eastern and Western influences, combining his brilliantly Indian-inspired guitar textures with Jerry's masterful musical fluidity. Jerry Garcia Music Arts will donate 25% of its net revenue from every digital music stream of the album to the Self-Realization Fellowship founded by Paramahansa Yogananda back in the 1920's. Yogananda is known for writing the highly acclaimed "Autobiography of a Yogi" and the Self-Realization Fellowship is a worldwide spiritual organization founded by Paramahansa Yogananda to serve as an instrument for the preservation and worldwide dissemination of his writings and teachings, including Kriya Yoga.  "Front Street Outtakes" was mastered by Grammy Award-winning audio engineer David Glasser and the album will be available on most digital streaming platforms. As you can see on the album cover, Jerry played the Eagle guitar for this recording — the first of several custom instruments built for him by Luthier Doug Irwin in 1971, it's interesting to note that a Sanskrit prayer for happiness is inlayed on the guitar's fingerboard. Reflecting on the music that he produced with Garcia, Mishra commented, "Unique and mysterious, these mixes consist of the recordings in pure form, with just the guitars and percussion, all unedited, including the tape reel running out on the first track." The visual elements that accompany the release include a booklet of liner notes featuring rare in-studio photos of the session along with Garcia's music-themed pen-and-ink drawing "Uncorrected Manuscript." This image, in its unedited and pure form, can be interpreted as a visual metaphor for the recordings on "Front Street Outtakes." said Manasha Garcia, co-producer at Jerry Garcia Music Arts, "It is an honor to support Paramahansa Yogananda's teachings with my late husband's music. There's an interesting circularity to this project, as my grandfather gave me his copy of 'Autobiography of a Yogi' to read when I was a teenager. Later, when I began singing in the Self-Realization Fellowship choir, Jerry would listen to the choral practice tapes and play guitar to help me follow the sheet music for the holiday recitals." For more, click the info button.....
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Exclusive Interview with Spanish Guitarist/Composer, Russ Hewitt
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Exclusive Interview with Spanish Guitarist/Composer, Russ Hewitt

It has been quite a year for guitar virtuoso Russ Hewitt with his current CD, ‘Cielo Nocturno’, showing all the signs of becoming a run-away success. Shimmering with the rumba flamenco rhythms and lightning guitar runs that have become trademarks of Hewitt’s distinctive style, the album includes a stellar line up of returning musicians including percussionist Raphael Padilla (Miami Sound Machine, Chris Isaak), drummer Walfredo Reyes Jr. (Santana, Steve Winwood, Chicago), bass player Bob Parr (Cher, Barry White), guitarist Alfredo Caceres (Gipsy Kings All-Stars) and most notably Larry Carlton who features on the delightfully easy grooving ‘North of Home’. The radio single featuring Larry Carlton was a mainstay on stations worldwide. The recording was mastered by Chris Bellman who, in his time, has worked with the likes of Van Halen, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson and Elton John while completing the lineup are guitarist Ardeshir Farah (Strunz & Farah) on the fiery ‘Persian Sky’ and accordion player Vladimir Kaliazine. Bellman mastered Hewitt’s two previous releases, ‘Bajo el Sol’ and ‘Alma Vieja’ which not only garnered outstanding reviews from around the world but also drew fulsome praise from his peers. Accolades are coming from all over the world in forms of press and reviews including making the ballot for the 59th Grammy Awards (Best Contemporary Instrumental Album, Engineered Album, Instrumental Composition ‘Persian Sky’); Two silver medal’s from the Global Music Awards in the instrumental category for the song ‘Presido’ and album category for ‘Cielo Nocturno‘; Nominated for ‘Best Acoustic Guitar Album 2016’ from One World Music Awards; Nominated in the Best Jazz Single category from RoundGlass Music Awards (‘Samba Sao Paulo’). The latest CD also made several ‘Best of’ lists including #2 by Vincent Furnier at Soundcheckdfw.com, #4 by Travis Tutwiler at at Soundcheckdfw.com (‘Persian Sky’ featuring Ardeshir Farah was at #6 for his song of the year), #5 by Michael Debbage at MainlyPiano.com, Kathy Parsons at MainlyPiano.com (She did not put number orders to her selections) and honorable mention from Scott Itter at Dr.Music.org. In addition to the ‘Best of lists’ several reviews added their own score rating: 9.5 of 10 by Arthur Gonzales at Rock N Roll Industries; 8.1 of 10 by James McQuiston at NeuFutur; a (perfect) “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 5.00 by Rotcod Zzaj at Contemporary Fusion Reviews; 4.0 out of 5 by Matt Jensen at Divide and Conquer; Five Starz by Scott Thomas at Guitarz Forever. In fact the favorable opinion gained from Hewitt’s debut CD, ‘Bajo el Sol’, rapidly translated into prolific airplay and a ten-week stay at #1 on Music Choice. It took up residence on the Smooth Jazz indie charts for 16 weeks and the first track to be released to radio (the dazzlingly Latin flavored title cut) climbed rapidly into the Top 20. The follow-up single, ‘Lydia’, enjoyed similar success, peaking at #15 and storming into the Billboard’s Top 40. Not content with that, Hewitt then made it three for three with ‘El Beso’ which also made it onto that same Top 40 listing and was named as one of the top smooth jazz tunes of 2009 by www.smoothjazznow.com. In addition, ‘Bajo el Sol’ was generously acknowledged by the music industry. It was included on the ballot for the 52nd Grammy Awards in the categories Best Pop Instrumental Performance, Best Pop Instrumental Album, Best Instrumental Composition, Best Instrumental Arrangement and Best Engineered Album whilst elsewhere Hewitt gained an ‘Honorable Mention’ for the album’s title cut at the 2009 International Songwriting Competition. When Russ’s sophomore project, ‘Alma Vieja’ came long in 2011 it delivered two more Top 40 smooth Jazz singles, ‘Pacific Sunrise’ and ‘Samba Samba’. Not surprisingly, Russ has endorsements from a wide spectrum of suppliers and manufacturers. These include Godin guitars, Radial Engineering (Tonebone), Analysis Plus Cables, Morley Pedals, V-Picks, Neunaber Audio Effects, Voodoo Lab, BBF Pedal Boards, Primacoustic, Mission Engineering and DLS Effects. Always striving to extend his boundaries into sound tracks and commercial work, Russ contributes artist interviews and a monthly guitar lessons column to ‘The Sound’ magazine whereas his prowess as a composer has resulted in five Telly Awards (for ‘Parent Compass’) and the DVD companion to the New York Best Seller ‘The Harbinger Decoded’ by Jonathan Cahn. Russ has written the music for the upcoming feature film ‘Thirst: Mission Liberia’ which has already won a Silver Telly in the Spiritual – Faith category and a Bronze Telly in the Documentary category.
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Update: Jan 14th, 2021: Martin Introduces First Acoustic Guitar That Is Both FSC-Certified And Plastic-Free
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Update: Jan 14th, 2021: Martin Introduces First Acoustic Guitar That Is Both FSC-Certified And Plastic-Free

On March 15, 2019, artist Robert Goetzl watched the news in awe as a million students, across 125 countries, took part in the School Strike for Climate, an international movement of students who skip Friday classes in protest to demand action from political leaders against climate change. The movement started in 2018, when Greta Thunberg, a then 16-year-old activist from Sweden, staged a lone protest outside the Swedish Parliament holding a sign that read "School strike for climate," inspiring students across the globe to stand together to fight for the future of the planet. The movement fanned a flame in Goetzl that had been slowly burning for many years and now he wanted to use his talent to become part of the solution, so he immediately dropped what he was doing and painted a watercolor of the earth. His hope was that it would one day adorn the top of a Martin guitar that could be used to bring awareness to the urgent need for climate action. Upon completing the painting, Goetzl wasted no time, driving to Nazareth to share his idea with Martin Chairman and CEO, Chris Martin. Like Goetzl, the sixth-generation leader of Martin has a deep passion for fighting climate change and preserving the earth for future generations. This shared passion, reignited by the energy and perseverance of this new generation of activists, put into motion the plans to develop what is now being introduced as the Martin 00L Earth guitar—the first acoustic guitar that is 100% FSC® certified AND 100% plastic-free. said Goetzl., "When I first heard this eloquent young woman, Greta Thunberg, speak so passionately about climate change, I was immediately inspired and thought, why not design a guitar with a visual element as a tool to promote the message 'Save the Earth'. Perhaps this is a way to help raise awareness of resource sustainability and our society's failure to take action against the global crisis that this troubled planet is facing."   With Chris Martin's blessing, Goetzl set about doing what he does best—turning his initial ideas into refined art—and he later presented several variations to the Martin team. The final design featured the earth and stars with a beautiful light burst peaking over the horizon. While Goetzl was finalizing the artwork, Martin Lead Instrument Designer Tim Teel and former Martin Green Team Leader Chris Thomas began working on building out the model that would ultimately become the master canvas for Goetzl's artwork. Teel and Thomas decided to use the framework from the Martin 17 Series and then went on to collaborate with many colleagues throughout the company to select and source only materials that are 100% FSC certified and free of all man-made plastics. Even the gig bag was specially sourced and made with hemp, a fast-growing and highly sustainable material, another first for the company. said Teel., "I respect working for a company that takes environmental issues seriously. This project illustrates the importance of our planet and is depicted in this amazing graphic by Robert Goetzl. By using responsibly harvested materials, we will ensure the next generation of musicians and luthiers will have great tonewoods to choose from when designing, building, and playing stringed instruments of the future."  Martin chose to go plastic-free with this model because single-use plastic is destroying entire ecosystems and greatly contributes to global warming. The world urgently needs to reduce single-use plastic, and Martin hopes  this guitar will be another vehicle for spreading the message. said Chris Martin., "There's so much that we can do as individuals to fight climate change in our daily lives. Yet we are continually looking for ways that our company can inspire musicians and their fans to take action. Not just on Earth Day, but every day. Music has always been a powerful tool for bringing people together for change." In honor of the 00L Earth guitar, Martin will make a charitable donation to the Rainforest Alliance. The guitar is priced at $2,249. click the INFO BUTTON for more.......
04:083 days ago
Exclusive Interview with Chicken Pickin Master, John Lere
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Exclusive Interview with Chicken Pickin Master, John Lere

John W. Lere Jr. was born with a guitar in his hands. Not really, but it's a romantic thought and seems very fitting if you're familiar with him. Whether banging on different toys with a pencil or plucking around on various beginner guitars as a child, John Lere has been making music his entire life. He began traditional study on the guitar at the age of 9, taking weekly lessons from Art Gomez at Vesley Music in Las Vegas, NV, learning the fundamentals and written language of music. John started giving his own lessons to neighborhood kids or friends at school and loved everything about the guitar. As a freshman in High School he joined the Stage Band and was introduced to jazz music. The piece of music given to him to play for his audition was 'Birdland' by Weather Report. All of the sudden an obsession with this different type of music took over and John went on to play in many different High School Jazz Ensembles around Las Vegas, constantly learning and improving. He was accepted to the Las Vegas Academy of International Studies and Performing Arts after his sophomore year and the study of jazz music went into overdrive! This new learning environment was a dream come true to any kid that wanted to play, practice and study music all day and that is exactly what John did. LVA Jazz band director Alan Lawson, introduced John to legendary & local guitar instructor Hap Smith(RIP Hap. You will be forever missed) and was taught a deeper lesson in discipline and music theory. John continued regular study With Hap Smith during his junior and senior years, and began teaching part time(mostly to kids and beginners) at local music shop Pat's Desert Music. With College just around the corner, John set his sights on a school on the other side of the country. Being Alumni of Berkeley School of Music in Boston, Hap helped John prepare an audition piece and gave a very gracious letter of recommendation. After much consideration however, the decision was made to stay in Las Vegas For College and he accepted a scholarship from The University Of Nevada Las Vegas. Over the next few years John studied with jazz great Joe Lano, focusing on chord inversions, chord solos, different picking techniques and smoking cigarettes. John Played in many different bands, many different styles and genres, toured around the country many times, teaching along the way where ever possible. He was lead guitar for the late, great Elvis Presley Tribute Artist, Trent Carlini, headlining showrooms up and down the Las Vegas Strip. He has worked for Carnival Cruise Lines and traveled to Mexico and Canada, but never really feeling satisfied with what he was doing. That would soon change! Even though John had listened to and been a big fan of country music throughout his whole life, when he heard the music of The Hellecasters he became totally intrigued by the many different sounds, that in the right hands, the Telecaster could produce, and so began the journey towards Tele-mastery. All of the sudden that fire and enjoyment of playing the guitar was back! A desire to teach was also resurrected and a feeling of responsibility to give back to anybody aspiring to learn the guitar. John Lere has dedicated his life to music and of all the many different instruments in the world, the one that chose him was the Guitar. He has acquired an extremely large amount of knowledge and skill and he continues to strive for new things on the guitar as well as in Life. Fortunately, it is all available for purchase for a great low price! LOL
15:154 days ago
Update: Jan 12, 2021: Taylor Guitars Transitions Ownership To Its Employees
AGN News
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Update: Jan 12, 2021: Taylor Guitars Transitions Ownership To Its Employees

EL CAJON, Calif. that Taylor Guitars, a leading global builder of premium acoustic guitars, has just announced its transition to 100% employee ownership through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan. said Bob Taylor, co-founder and President of Taylor Guitars."We have delighted in giving people the joy of music and hope to do so for generations to come. Becoming 100% ESOP allows us to ensure our independence for the long-term future and continue to realize our vision for the company as an innovative guitar manufacturer." Kurt Listug, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, added, "While Bob and I are not retiring, we have been preparing for our eventual exit. Master guitar designer Andy Powers is not only the wellspring of our guitar designs for the future, but he also joined our leadership team several years ago, and strengthening our leadership team has been essential to our succession planning." Listug views the transition in ownership as the next step to ensure a sustainable future for the company, while also providing a valuable financial benefit to people who have contributed to its success. "We believe we've created a special company, where passionate people can engage in problem-solving innovation, collaboration and respect," he said. "Securing our independence through an ESOP allows us to strengthen this culture."  Taylor's new ownership structure supports continuity. Taylor Guitars will serve its customers, suppliers, and broader community with the same passion and innovation it has before. Bob Taylor, Kurt Listug, Andy Powers and other members of Taylor's leadership team remain committed to the company. There will be no changes to management structure, operations policies, or practices. Taylor Guitars was founded in 1974 by Bob Taylor and Kurt Listug and has grown into the leading global builder of premium acoustic guitars. Taylor now employs over 1,200 people and currently produces hundreds of guitars per day in its state-of-the-art factory complexes in both El Cajon and in Tecate, Baja California, Mexico. The company maintains an active dealer network, with Taylor guitars sold through hundreds of retail locations in North America and with international distribution to 60 countries, including a distribution warehouse and factory service center in the Netherlands. 
The ESOP is a type of tax-qualified defined contribution plan through which employees receive a retirement benefit linked to Taylor Guitars' future equity value. Employees at Taylor's production facility in Tecate, Baja California, Mexico, will participate in its US-based ESOP plan, and European Union employees will be participants in a similar incentive plan available under EU regulations. For more, click the INFO button......
02:494 days ago