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Sharon Isbin’s Guitar Passion

OurStage, Guitar Player magazine, and Ernie Ball are teaming up this summer to offer aspiring guitarists a chance to win the ultimate Grand Prize. Enter the Guitar Player “Take The Lead” Competition by August 17 for your shot to win your very own feature in Guitar Player magazine, a year’s supply of strings and accessories from Ernie Ball, and more! Throughout the competition, we’ll be bringing you exclusive editorial content, fresh from guitarplayer.com—enjoy!

“Sharon Isbin isn’t your average internationally renowned, multiple Grammy Award winning, Billboard chart-topping female classical guitarist. In addition to making dozens of recordings of music from the traditional and modern classical guitar repertoires— including nine compositions written specifically for her—and giving hundreds of performances with leading orchestras and ensembles in celebrated venues worldwide, she has also passionately embraced music of other traditions. For example, 2001’s Dreams of a World explored several varieties of folk music from around the globe, and last year’s Journey to the New World bridged British Isles and American folk. Both albums received Grammys.”

Read more: http://www.guitarplayer.com/article/sharon-isbins-guitar-passion/147505

-Published by Barry Cleveland, Guitar Player magazine



Metal Monday: Metal Fusion

Metal, as a genre, is pretty distinct and not very easily digestible by most people (but you probably already knew that). From time to time, there are some acts that crossover to other genres or slip into the mainstream and start to gain some traction. Alongside the crossover acts are bands that decide they like to play metal as well as another genre–so much so that they decide to play both simultaneously. Over the years this has led to some very interesting results; some awesome, some not. Metal fusion: apparently a thing.

What are the most prominent and successful styles of music fused with metal, you ask? No fusions so far really seemed to have caught on to become a movement, but the one that could is jazz metal. Both jazz and metal seem to have a perception of and focus on extremely proficient musicians, soloing and grand showings of musicianship. Mostly populated by solo instrumentalists (like shred guitarist Steve Vai, for example), many of these artists are also very closely related to their “classical metal” counterparts like Yngwie Malmsteen. Jazz metal isn’t solely filled with solo acts, however, as bands like Exivious and Fredrik Thordendal’s Special Defects prove. As an aside, some musicians just choose to jump ship on metal to join a jazz fusion band, such as Chris Poland (ex-Megadeth) joining the jazz fusion band Ohm:.

Behind jazz and classical fusions with metal, metal fused with electronic dance music has taken a very strong hold in the last handful of years. Born from the industrial metal movement that started mostly in the ’90s with bands like Nine Inch Nails, the current trend takes the sound a bit farther. Bands like Enter Shikari feature heavy amounts of dance rhythms and synthesized keyboards alongside their hardcore-tinged sound one their debut album Take To The Skies back in 2007. More recently, Earache Records band The Browning dropped their debut album Burn This World which features and even heavier amount of metal and electronic music smashed together. The Browning’s song “Bloodlust” is a fantastic illustration of this juxtaposition, switching quickly and often between trance/house and deathcore.

Some fusions, however, are not taken so kindly. I’m sure we all remember rap metal, right? The year was 1987, and the boys in Anthrax and the fellows in Public Enemy decided it would be awesome to do a song together: and it was. Theresulting remake of “Bring The Noise” was great. A couple years later, Rage Against The Machine dropped their debut, and that, too, was awesome. Unfortunately many of the bands inspired by these acts turned out to not be so great,  (See: Limp Bizkit or Crazytown, who were both very famous for a couple years).

That’s not all, either, some other metal fusion genres include funk metal and folk metal.  Bands like Machinae Supremacy and Skindred even come up with their own metal fusion subgenres (Machinae Supremacy call themselves “SID Metal” and Skindred “ragga metal” by the way).

OurStage even has a handful of solid acts that pair metal and other genres together to create very unique music, including Brothers Fighting, Mara, MAG Project, The Living, The Last Barbarians and LaughingSkull. Check out some of their tunes in the player below!

Turn It Loose

The So and So’s

Technical precision can be a thing of beauty. Musicians like Steve Vai and Neil Peart have inspired and influenced countless fans with their flawless mastering of their instrument. But imperfection can cast its own kind of spell, too. Keith Richards’ rough and rangy style of guitar playing has certainly helped sell some records. The So and So’s, out of Manchester, England, fall into the Richards’ school of technique. “Not Today” is a loose and shambling melody made up of reverb guitars and the moony croon of singer-songwriter Richard Dutton. More upbeat, “Jeckyll and Hyde” shuffles along with the help of a bubbling bass line. The So and So’s are best described as part Morphine, part Kooks, as the strutting tremolo guitars and bleating sax of “Unmistakable You” prove. They’re not polished, but they’re gutsy—a perfect band for those who like it rough.

Riffs, Rants & Rumors: Joe Jackson Loves It Live

For a guy like Joe Jackson, who’s got a trail of great songs that go all the way back to the late ’70s, it must be tough to strike a balance in his shows between trotting out the tunes his fans adore and demand, and keeping things fresh for himself. Nevertheless, he’s an artist who loves the experience of laying down his tunes in front of an audience. In fact, he’s popped out a number of live records over the years, starting in the ’80s with Live 1980/86, and running up to his latest release, the generically titled Live Music. “I’ve done a few live records, because I’ve always loved playing live,” Jackson told us, “and I’ve always felt like that’s the best part of what I do.”

Jackson’s restless muse and his passion for performance have led him to reinvent his catalog onstage from the beginning. As early as the aforementioned ’80s live album, he was recasting his classic tunes in radically rearranged formats, delivering the new wave/power-pop hit “Is She Really Going Out With Him?” as an a cappella doo wop tune, and finding ways to re-imagine songs originally recorded by a guitar/bass/drums lineup for a band with two keyboardists and no guitarist. He manages a similar feat on Live Music, where he pumps out cuts from all across his career in piano-trio mode. “In some cases they never had guitar in the first place,” Jackson says. “People often forget that Night and Day had no guitars on it.” In fact, Live Music boasts a number of tunes from that 1982 album, Jackson’s biggest ever, including “Steppin’ Out,” “Slow Song,” “Another World,” “Cancer” and “Chinatown.”

Backing Jackson up on Live Music are the bassist and drummer from the original Joe Jackson Band, Graham Maby and Dave Houghton, with whom he seems to have found a brand new groove. “We’ve been doing this together for a few years now and it’s been great,” Jackson says. “For one thing, we’re old friends, and that’s always nice.” But beyond the bonhomie, Jackson enjoys interacting with Maby and Houghton in a trio format. “I feel like the trio is stripping it down to the absolute bare minimum and then seeing what you can do with it. It’s pretty amazing what you can do if you use your imagination. It can sound big, it can sound really varied.”

Besides redefining his old songs with the current live lineup, Jackson mixes things up by including a few carefully chosen cover tunes on Live Music. Probably the only artist whose songs have been covered by both Anthrax (“Got the Time”) and Tori Amos (“Real Men”), Jackson picks his own outside material with an ear for adventure. David Bowie‘s “Scary Monsters,” The Beatles‘ “Girl” and Ian Dury‘s “Inbetweenies” all get Jacksonized. “We actually do a lot of covers,” says Jackson. “I think it has to be something that I can get comfortable with vocally, and that I feel I can sing in my own way. But it also needs to be something where I can see a different way of doing it, because I don’t see the point in trying to imitate the original. I’m trying to make them as different as possible.”

In that spirit, Jackson has also got another project in the works, a tribute to the compositions of Duke Ellington. He’s been performing his own version of Ellington’s “Mood Indigo” for some time, but this recording will find him interpreting a whole host of Ellington tunes in typically eclectic fashion, aided by everybody from guitar hero Steve Vai to The Roots. “It’s starting to come together finally, after years of thinking about it and planning it. I’ve done so much touring over the last few years that I really haven’t had much time to work on anything else. I just spent a week in Amsterdam working with a [Brazilian] band called Zuco 103—they’re so good. We collaborated on two tracks. I’m gonna be in New York again picking it up with Amir from The Roots. We’ll have a good chunk of it done by June. I don’t know if it’ll be out this year, it may not be until next year.”

In the meantime, Live Music will serve to remind listeners that the man who spent the last three decades recording everything from big-band swing to orchestral suites never tires of offering up new sides of his musical personality. “We’ve done so much touring the last few years,” Jackson says, “we’ve done so many great shows—it needed to be captured. I’m really happy that it’s documented.” Of course, that’s no guarantee that by the next time Jackson toddles into your town, some of these tunes won’t have been drastically reinvented once more.

 

Discourse & Dischord

The Good

Gaga sweeps Brit Awards

Lady Gaga

Looking like Marie Antoinette in a wedding cake, Lady Gaga swept three categories at Tuesday’s Brit Awards, picking up trophies for International Female Solo Artist, International Album and International Breakthrough Act. For her performance, the singer paid an emotional tribute to the late Alexander McQueen, donning the designer’s lobster claw heels for an acoustic version of “Telephone.” Here’s the video.

The Bad

EMI to sell Abbey Road Studios

Abbey Road, the album

Abbey Road Studios, a space that gave birth to albums by Pink Floyd, Radiohead and a little band known as the Beatles, may or may not have been put on the market. EMI, who has owned the studio since 1929, has declined to comment on the reported sale.

The Ugly

Mary J. Blige covers “Stairway to Heaven”

Mary J Blige

Forget the bustle in your hedgerow, here’s something more alarming. R&B singer Mary J. Blige, Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker and guitar legend Steve Vai have joined forces to record a cover of Led Zeppelin’s iconic hit, “Stairway to Heaven.” The superstar group has taken over Studio A at the Capitol Records building in Hollywood … they’ll either emerge with a genius remake, or an abomination that will leave Robert Plant yowling louder than he did on “Immigrant Song.”

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