Fab's Music Café: Fab's back with a great interview with Scott Sharrard
SCOTT SHARRARD IS BEST KNOWN as lead guitarist and bandleader for the late Gregg Allman. But his personal artistic journey – which includes singing, songwriting, producing and arranging – began long before he first teamed up with the rock icon. It’s a mission that resumes with “Saving Grace,” Sharrard’s fifth album -- and his first since Allman’s death. “Gregg had a pure passion and heart,” Sharrard says of his friend, “especially when it came to being a musician. That authenticity and dedication is a daily inspiration, and I will always carry that with me onstage and in the studio.” “Saving Grace,” with the blues at its core, bears a distinctly southern spirit, seamlessly assimilating the sounds of American roots music that Sharrard has long embraced. Sessions took place in Memphis and at the historic FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Half the album employs the Hi Rhythm Section, the other The Swampers of Muscle Shoals. “These guys are legends and heroes of ours who have played on so many life-changing records,” Sharrard says. “This record was steeped in the best the South has to offer. We cut the rhythm section and lead vocals all live on the floor, direct to tape. Old school. We let the songs and the band speak. We also had some of the best barbecue and soul food you could ever imagine, and a lot of laughs and good times with our heroes. How can you lose?” ‘All those cats schooled me…’ Sharrard’s travels to the heart of the American South began in the Upper Midwest. He was born in Michigan on December 28, 1976 – the day his hero Freddie King died – and spent his formative years in Milwaukee, where he was a club fixture long before he could legally take a drink. “Milwaukee at that time was an oasis for a whole group of musical masters,” Sharrard recalls. “Mel Rhyne, Buddy Miles, Hubert Sumlin, Luther Allison, Clyde Stubblefield… They were our local bar bands! All those cats schooled me in different ways, backstage, on gigs and at jams.” Sharrard was 15 when his father took him to a Brewtown blues joint called the Up and Under Pub. There he sat in with singer/guitarist (and local one-named legend) Stokes, who would become his mentor. Another was powerhouse “Chitlin’ Circuit” singer and guitarist Willie Higgins. Sharrard soon graduated to occasional dates in Chicago, with tutelage coming via jams alongside two fabled Muddy Waters sidemen, drummer Willie “Big Eyes” Smith and pianist Pinetop Perkins. Big Apple, not Big Easy Then came a chance 1996 move to New York City. The 20-year-old Sharrard, eager to bolt Milwaukee, had his mind on New Orleans. But his friend Sean Dixon, with whom he had a band called The Chesterfields, had found a rent-controlled apartment in the East Village. “That settled it,” Sharrard remembers with a laugh. “I became a New York City resident for the first time. My next-door neighbor was Allen Ginsberg, who was already one of my literary heroes at that time. I used to eat at Mee’s Chinese restaurant sitting across from Allen. It was our corner restaurant with a cheap dinner special. He’d always order the ginger fish and write! … It was like a dream, really. All those giant buildings spreading into infinity. It was so overwhelming.” Sharrard had been in the Big Apple but a year when he met iconic Atlantic Records executive Ahmet Ertegun, who mentored The Chesterfields and gave the young guitar-slinger some sage advice. “Ahmet told me that you must do it all – and well – if you want to survive as a musician,” Sharrard remembers. “He told me to get it all together: writing, singing, producing, playing, arranging. He convinced me to work twice as hard because around 2000 he saw the end of the music business as we knew it. He felt no one was around to support artists like back in the heyday of the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies.” The Chesterfields cut three albums and toured nationally before Sharrard began to chart his own course. A series of releases followed, including “Dawnbreaker” (2005), “Analog/Monolog” (2008) and “Ante Up” (2009). Ertegun wasn’t the only legend with Sharrard on his radar back then: The young guitarist also forged a relationship with Levon Helm – performing with The Band drummer about a dozen times, including his final gig just before his death in April of 2012. Sharrard remains close with Helm’s daughter, Amy, and a host of other artists on the Woodstock scene. Preparation meets opportunity It was through Amy’s then-husband, multi-instrumentalist Jay Collins – already a member of Allman’s band – that Sharrard embarked on the collaboration of a lifetime. In the fall of 2008, Sharrard began a nearly decade-long run with the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer. “I grew up on the music of the Allman Brothers,” says Sharrard. “I consider first hearing them to be the ‘Big Bang’ moment for me as a pre-teen. I’ve always been chasing what I like to call ‘Real Rock and Roll,’ a blend of blues, jazz, soul, country and folk – with the central goal being to create an original sound of your own. In that respect, working with Gregg just solidified everything I’ve believed since I was a kid.” Sharrard joined the Gregg Allman Band as a touring guitarist and later became Musical Director. The fruitful partnership ended with the 69-year-old Allman’s death on May 27, 2017. But not before Allman covered Sharrard’s “Love Like Kerosene” on 2015’s “Gregg Allman Live: Back to Macon, GA,” and again on Allman’s eighth and final solo album, the posthumous, GRAMMY-nominated “Southern Blood” (Rounder Records, 2017). Another “Southern Blood” track, the unforgettable farewell “My Only True Friend” – co-written by Sharrard and Allman – earned a GRAMMY nomination for Americana Song of the Year. Sharrard’s deep respect for Allman factored heavily into the 2018 release date for “Saving Grace.” Tracking was completed in December of 2016. But Sharrard – knowing Allman’s health was failing and that “Southern Blood” would be his last hurrah – chose to delay its unveiling. He’s now begun a new chapter with an album he consciously wanted to summarize the last 20 years of his work – and one that showcases the totality of his artistry: as guitarist, singer, songwriter, producer, arranger and bandleader. In short, he says, it’s rock n’ roll rooted in everything else. “I basically have a rock ’n’ roll band,” Sharrard explains. “When I was growing up, I loved bands like Little Feat, Led Zeppelin and the Allmans. They would explore so many styles and experiment. That’s something I have always tried to embrace, and that’s how I want to present my music today. This is what I tried to do with Gregg. Now I’m continuing that as a solo artist.”
Fab's Music Café
RockBluesFab's Music CaféFab's Movie Night
Fab's Music Café | Scott Page, The Interview
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.
Fab's Music Café
RockBluesAcousticFab's Music Café
Fab's Music Café: Ryan McGarvey, The Interview
Ryan McGarvey is a star on the rise. In just the past few years his accolades have included being selected by Eric Clapton from over 4,000+ artists worldwide to perform at his 2010 Crossroads Guitar Festival in Chicago, to the Guitar Player Magazine’s Annual Readers Choice Award for “Best New Talent” in 2013. 2014 proved to be another epic year for McGarvey as he voted the winner of “Best Guitarist” in the European Blues Awards. Ryan is constantly on tour internationally, and records whenever time permits. His incendiary, yet dynamic guitar playing leaves crowds around the world marveling, and wanting more. With strong songs, award winning vocals, fierce guitar playing, an unstoppable work ethic, and an undying love for the blues flavored hard rock he pours from his soul, Ryan has been compared to the best in the business. Ryan McGarvey, though already a seasoned professional, has a bright future ahead of him that has only just begun. Catch him when you can! 2017 Best Solo/Acoustic (European Blues Awards) 2016 Best Guitarist (European Blues Awards) 2016 Best Vocalist (Albuquerque The Magazine) 2016 Best Local Musician (The Weekly Alibi) 2014 Best Guitarist (European Blues Awards) 2013 Best New Talent (Guitar Player Magazine) 2012 Best Musician (Albuquerque The Magazine) 2012 Best Blues (Local I.Q. Magazine) 2011 Best Vocalist (Albuquerque The Magazine) 2010 Ernie Ball Play Crossroads Winner (Eric Clapton’s Crossroads) 2010 Best Musician (Albuquerque The Magazine) 2010 Blues Act Of The Year (The Weekly Alibi) 2009 Blues Act Of The Year ( The Weekly Alibi) 2009 Best Guitarist (The Weekly Alibi) 2008 Best Musician (Albuquerque The Magazine) 2008 Blues Act Of The Year (The Weekly Alibi) 2007 Blues Act Of The Year (The Weekly Alibi) 2007 NM Music Award Winner (Blues Song Of The Year) 2006 Guitarmaggeddon Champion Of NM (Guitar Center)
Fab's Music Café
VintageCountryRockBluesAcousticFab's Music CaféFab's Movie Night
Fab's Music Café: Blackberry Smoke's, Charlie Starr - Interview
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."
Fab's Music Café
RockBluesAcousticFab's Music CaféFab's Movie Night
Fab's Music café: Fab talks to Alastair Greene
Guitarist, singer, and songwriter Alastair Greene has been a mainstay of the Southern California music scene for close to 3 decades. Alastair was born April 18th, 1971 in Santa Barbara, CA. He discovered music through his mother's piano playing at home and whose record collection included classics by The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, and Elton John, while his father's tastes at the time leaned toward Bach and Beethoven. Alastair was inspired to pursue music as a career by his grandfather, the late Chico Alvarez, who played trumpet as a member of the Stan Kenton Band in the '40s and '50s. Growing up, Alastair took piano lessons and played the saxophone before discovering the guitar in high school. Originally interested in hard rock bands and guitar players, he was exposed to blues and roots music through some records loaned to him by a friend of his father. Those records included: B.B. King ‘Live at the Regal’, Buddy Guy ‘A Man and the Blues’, Johnny Winter ‘Second Winter’, The Allman Brother Band ‘Live at Fillmore East’ and Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble ‘Couldn’t Stand the Weather’. After High School Alastair received a scholarship to attend the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he studied for two years before returning to southern California to begin playing with blues and rock bands in the early ‘90s. Alastair formed the Alastair Greene Band in 1997 and celebrated the 20 anniversary with a live concert recording in early 2018. Alastair has released 8 solo albums (including 2 live records and a compilation record) the most recent of which is LIVE FROM THE 805 (released in 2018). LIVE FROM THE 805 was nominated for Rock Blues Album of the Year by Blues Blast Magazine in addition to being included on many ‘Best Of 2018” year-end lists by multiple publications. His most recent studio album DREAM TRAIN (2017) features guest appearances by Walter Trout, Debbie Davies, Mike Finnigan, Mike Zito and Dennis Gruenling. DREAM TRAIN was given 4 stars by Down Beat Magazine and was included as one of their ‘Best Albums of the Year’. Alastair was lead guitarist and co-lead vocalist of the Alan Parsons Live Project from 2010 - 2017 with whom he literally toured the world. Greene has also toured with Starship featuring Mickey Thomas, Blues legends Debbie Davies, Mitch Kashmar, and most recently as a member of powerhouse vocalist and Blues Music Award winner Sugaray Rayford’s band from 2018 - 2019. In 2019 Alastair signed with Tab Benoit's Whiskey Bayou Records and will have a new CD released in the summer of 2020 produced by Benoit titled THE NEW WORLD BLUES.
Uploads - from 'Submit Media' on the AGN app
UPLOAD: Frank Hohl: Riff’n after my hand surgery 8 months ago
Upload from SUBMIT MEDIA on the AGN APP: Hi AGN, my name is Frank Hohl 8 months ago i had Arthroplasty on my left hand. After play’n gigs for a solid four years with basically bone on bone i finally bit the bullet i did the surgery. i was extremely nervous about doing the surgery but now that its done, i couldn’t be happier. So anybody out there suffering with the same condition i say go for it. About my video, it has some blunders but i like it cuz i was able free myself and just go for it. Thanks for keep’n guitar alive. You guys Rock!
Josh Smith, 'Live' From Flat V
Josh Smith, My Guitars: Ronin 'Songbird'
Another great work-horse from the Josh Smith stable, his Ronin 'Songbird'.
The Vintage Guitar Minute
Norman Harris just got over 50 'New' Guitars!! | Norm's Guitar Haul
We talked to Norman Harris just a few days ago to see his latest additions to his guitar collection. Norman's Rare Guitars is officially a 'Gibson' dealer now so check out these Standard models they just got in, Epiphones and a few vintage gems.
Uploads - from 'Submit Media' on the AGN app
UPLOAD: Good Old Chicago Blues- Arinjoy Sarkar
Upload from SUBMIT MEDIA on the AGN APP: Arinjoy is back with some great Blues playing....(Backing Track- MCCD Sessions-YouTube)
Morning Joe Mass
Mornin' Joe Mass | Gibson L5
Another mellow mornin' brought to you by the great Joe Mass and a wonderful super smooth, Florentine cutaway Gibson L-5
Uploads - from 'Submit Media' on the AGN app
UPLOAD: Kristian Daley : "Far out Jam"
Upload from SUBMIT MEDIA on the AGN APP: Kristian Daley : "Far out Jam"
Alamo Music Center
Epiphone Muse Series Les Paul and SG Review and Demo
Epiphone Muse Series Les Paul and SG Review and Demo
Uploads - from 'Submit Media' on the AGN app
UPLOAD: Jim White: "Stormy Monday"
Upload from SUBMIT MEDIA on the AGN APP: After 5 inches of rain today I thought this would be appropriate. Love the sound of rain on the roof and the neck pickup on a Strat!
Guitar Slingers with Jack Barksdale - Episode #13 - John Pedigo
Episode #13 features Dallas based producer, songwriter, singer and all around great musician John Pedigo. Thank you to the Kessler Theatre for letting us use their venue to film the episode. (Note: We actually filmed this episode in February 2020 before the pandemic)