For an early guitarist learning scales is a groundbreaking moment when you can set yourself free to open expression on the instrument. The chords and shapes that you had worked so hard to form make so much more sense when you find the minors and majors that give that note or key its character. The knowledge of scales allowed me to idly run my fingers across the board and play notes that fit right in the progression that was being played. Once you have played those scales a time of two you can start to recognize how what your fingers are plucking will actually sound. In my guitar playing journey this was the most rewarding moment I had come across. To actually make the guitar sing in a sense allowed me to execute the sounds that were in my mind and make them a reality.

A decade of guitar playing down the road, I discovered another form of integrating scales one that pushed my guitars voice a little farther. Slide guitar was something I always saw but never really gave it much thought. But when I started delving deeper into 70’s blues based rock it was unavoidable to hear the influence of the slide guitar style. It wasn’t until I began to listen to dobro and pedal steel players until I made the connections and really started to crave the sound a fluid moving note on a stringed instrument.

Slide guitar was inaugurated by the early bluesmen of the south and had its roots in African based instruments. The slide sound was glamorized and began to be a staple in country and Hawaiian music with the pedal steel. In my option the slide guitar was mastered and made renown by the rock guitarists such as Duane Allman, Dickey Betts, Joe Walsh, Johnny Winters and bands such as Led Zeppelin, Canned Heat, The Rolling Stones, The Eagles, and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

In a way, the guitar is transformed to a fretless instrument capable of emulating the human voice just by touching glass, brass, or smooth metal surface to its strings. The slide guitar is a foundational sound of American music and is still alive in today. Let it Slide!

Be sure to check out this amazing Jas Obrecht Music Archive. Special thanks for the photo of Duane.

State Pride

While I have a great regard for the commonwealth of Kentucky where I currently reside, there is always a part of me that will take great pride in my origins. Although I was born in the state of New York I grew up and spent the majority of my life in Florida. The sunshine state is mostly known for its beautiful white sand beaches, golf course communities and of course “Snow Birds” (folks who live in northern states that enjoy the mild Florida winters). While this southern- most state of the U.S. is never regarded as “the South” culturally, in many ways it can plead its case in Dixie heritage. Florida was the third state to succeed from the union in 1861 and many confederate battles were fought across the state.

I recently came across a documentary called “Florida Crackers” that is an in depth look at the Floridian Cowboy. Now most would hear cowboy and think about the great cattle drives out west, but come to find out Florida was the first state to actually have the horse and the cow (being that neither species are native to North America). Horses were originally brought to the Americas by the Spanish. Because of the Spanish Florida also has the oldest city in our country that being St. Augustine. The grassy, flat, and yearly green land of Florida was a great place to herd cattle and started the trend.

In more modern history Florida gave birth to many of the pioneers of music. Some of southern rock’s finest gems are Florida natives. The Allman brothers (Gregg & Duane) spent most of their childhood on the East coast of Florida in Daytona Beach. Dickey Betts (another Allman Brother band member) was born in West Palm Beach and later met Duane and Gregg Allman a few miles up the coast in Daytona. Tom Petty is a native of Gainesville Florida, and the Lynrd Skynrd gang hails from Jacksonville. Even Ray Charles who was highly influential to the southern type of sound spent most of his early life in Florida and even his first music groups were from Tampa and Orlando.

In my recent travels I have come to fall in love with many places. I have been enthralled by southern hospitality in Alabama, been captivated by the beauty of the mountains of California, overwhelmed by the vastness of New York City, and taken back in time by historical sites over the south. But It seems that state pride is something that everyone carries to some extent, every place in this great country has a history of its own and I am proud to be a Floridian and an American.

Ask This Old Guitar

A picture of a 1950's Gibson RoyaltoneThere is something about playing an old guitar that just provides the musician with a different feel. Whether it’s the aesthetic appeal of a vintage instrument, or the crafted handiwork to which it was assembled, it seems that some old guitars simply influence my ability to play.

I have heard it said that certain guitars just have songs in them. Neil Young talks about his Martin D-28 that once belonged to Hank Williams in his song “This Old Guitar”. You wonder what an old instrument like that would say and the stories it would have if it could speak. Well there is a place that is full of guitars that are sure to have stories and character all their own. Read more »

Music Personality Test

I have had many opportunities for people to tell me what kind of person I am. I’ve been categorized via animal characteristics such as of a beaver, a lion, an otter, and even a Golden Retriever. I have answered pages of questions just to find out if I’m introverted or extraverted. But this is no sociology or psych class, I suggest there is a far more fun and easy way to conduct a true personality test. Read more »

Album Release Shows a Success!

The Barren River Trio has just released their debut EP “Shine The Light”. Much thanks to all that attended our album release shows in Tampa, FL and Bowling Green, KY.

Look for BRT who will be performing in Nashville, TN and Muscle Shoals, AL these next few weeks. Kicking off in the rich music town of Muscle Shoals, Alabama at the Trojan House. Then spend your saint patty’s day with the boys at the French Quarter Cafe in Nashville. Then back to NashVegas at Picks on April Fools Day.

3/12 The Trojan House- Muscle Shoals, AL
3/17 The French Quarter- Nashville, TN
3/19 Swampers- Florence, AL
4/1 Picks- Nashville, TN