Machines Are People Too

The first band I would like to discuss includes a high school buddy of mine from Franklin, TN name Brian Sylvester. They are Machines Are People Too and they are based out of the beautiful city of Chattanooga,TN. The band is a what I would consider (definitely not a music critic) an interesting mix of electronica meets live music performed in the arena of dance music. Brian’s great vocals are accompanied mostly by synthesizers and kea boards as well as a pulse generated by the more than capable drum stylings of Ivan Garcia.  I have seen this band grow steadily since their formation in 2009 and they have recently played at both the Hand Out and Bonnaroo music festivals. Machines Are People Too seems to truly be hitting their stride and beginning to produce music that is unique and if nothing else catchy. Get more familiar with them today at http://www.myspace.com/machinesarepeopletoo, http://www.facebook.com/MachinesArePeopleToo, http://soundcloud.com/machinesarepeopletoo, and on YouTube including the video below:

Also don’t forget to check out the huge selection of cheap acoustic guitars available at IStillGotMyGuitar.com. Prices start at under $100 and you are sure to be able to find a cheap acoustic guitar that is right for you at the price you want to pay.

Simon

IStillGotMyGuitar

A New Direction

It’s been a long time since my last post mostly because of a lack of interesting things to talk about. My greatest interests in this blog are to A) connect with other musicians across the world and B) promote my e-commerce web site IStillGotMyGuitar.com. In my pasts posts it seems that though I tried, I failed to really come up with any content that I even thought might peak any readers interest. In the past few weeks (months) I have tried to come up with some ideas as to subject matter that would both interest me and other musicians so it would be easier to write and therefore more interesting to read. Finally the idea hit me: I would blog about musicians and artists that I know and help them promote their own music. How ironic that it took me so long to realize that my subject matter could be found in the talent that is all around me. Anyway, my next posts will be all about musicians or artists I know that are just trying to stock creation with a few more beautiful things as well as a little information on things you can do to support them.

Simon

IStillGotMyGuitar

Music Theory

No matter if your playing on a dobro, piano, koa guitar, or any other style of any instrument, your playing and overall music comprehension is greatly increased by a greater understanding of music theory. It can of course be a very challenging task, no matter if you play the guitar or anything else, to learn theory especially on your own time. I personally was first truly introduced to music theory when I was a high school student. However, the class I took was very basic and all the lessons were taught using the piano. Browsing through the internet I have come across quite a few blogs that attempt to simplify and teach this very difficult subject. I am very interested in learning more theory, especially as it pertains to guitar and songwriting, however, I am unsure of which blog I should put my trust into and there are SO MANY! Does anybody out there have any suggestions as to any specific site that has a lot of good theory help? For that matter, does anybody know of any books that do a good job of teaching theory? As always I am open to suggestions and would love to hear any helpful information!

Simon

IStillGotMyGuitar

Kid A

To continue on a post from earlier, I am currently studying/listening to/enjoying Kid A by Radiohead. As I said earlier, I am studying them to prepare myself for Bonnaroo this summer, where I will see them live playing their rosewood guitars and manipulating their electronic beats in all their glory. This is the second album of theirs that I have studied and I feel that it picks up right where the first left off. Listening to Kid A however, I start to notice some of the sounds that have led people to compare them to progressive rock bands of old like Pink Floyd (though in my opinion I still believe the comparison is unwarranted, maybe because I am a huge and unfaltering Floyd fan). In some respects I believe it is the elements that make them most like a band like Floyd who has so many abstract songs that separate me from liking this album as much as some of my counterparts. Though it is clearly brilliant and I’m not trying to say I don’t enjoy them, many of the songs on this album see to lack any kind of form. And those that do, such as The National Anthem, eventually completely abandon form. Does anybody have any thought about this? As usual all comments are thoroughly encouraged and enjoyed.

Simon

IStillGotMyGuitar

One Day At A Time

This is another song I wrote a couple years ago and its called One Day At A Time. It cuts out early but not before the song ends. Check it out and please let me know what you think. I’m only playing on a little 50 watt amp so the guitar is pretty quiet and the vocals might be a little overbearing.

lyrics:
-Ive walked out the door, ive begged her to stay
-ive owned the world and ive pissed it all away
-never worryin about tomorrow
-ive begged in the dirt and ive sold my soul
-and now ive nothing left to fill this ole black hole
-no not even til tomorrow
-but i guess i can fill it for today, yeah i guess right now im fealin ok
-ive bitten the bullet, yeah, ive shot it on back
– ive worked so hard and frittered away everything i have
-it never lasted til tomorrow
-ive played the gambler laid down my bets, on cocaine,whiskey, and cigarettes, no no
-it never lasted til tomorrow
-but i guess it can last me for today, yeah i guess right now im feelin ok
-though the sun burns red off that rollin sea
-this darkness still won’t lift itself up off of me
-ive ran and ive ran still here i stand, with nothin but this ole guitar and my own two hands
-to get me through tomorrow
-i remember her taste and those brown eyes, but now ive nothin left but the memory and the ole gray skies
-to get me through tomorrow
-but i guess they can get me through today, yeah i guess right now im feelin ok
-and all the saints theyre burnin in hell, and all the coppers standin stoned
-i join them on Sundays on a city bench, its better than feelin alone
-i have been stoned now for over to weeks, im to tired to wake, hell, im to tired to sleep
-sleep on until tomorrow
-maybe tomorrow il find my way on home, tonight im in a crowded room broke down and so alone
-and will be until tomorrow
-but i guess i can stay here for today, yeah i guess right now im feelin ok

Let me know what you think!

Simon

IStillGotMyGuitar

Radio Head-OK Computer

Though most of the people I associate with would probably consider this blasphemy, I have never been a huge fan of Radio Head. Not necessarily because I dislike their music, but more because I have never really taken the time to study and critically listen to their music, which obviously is more a reflection on me than on the band itself. However, in recent years I have done my best to absorb them as much as I could whenever I have been exposed to this British bands sounds.Now, especially with the summer’s festival line ups coming out, and Bonnaroo hosting Radio Head, I feel compelled more than ever to try to turn over a new leaf in my Radio Head awareness. Of course, I have always found a concert to be more easily appreciated when you are more familiar with the group of people playing their cedar guitars and selling their souls in front of you.  I have decided to begin my studies with their album OK Computer. Though I’m not the biggest fan of g/indie rock, it is easy to see within the first couple times through the album where peoples fascination with them comes from. Especially when trying to consider how progressive this music was when the album came out 15 years ago. Does anybody out there have any particular songs or parts of songs that they would like to point out that might make me more appreciate this album from one of the greatest rock bands of our generation.

Simon

IStillGotMyGuitar

Beacon And A Bridge

This a song I wrote a couple years ago called a beacon and a bridge. I hope you like it and continue to write yourself. Weather your playing on a left handed acoustic guitar, a les paul, or any mix between, its all about taking chances and putting your stuff out there.

A Beacon and A Bridge Lyrics:
-heres to your madness, heres to finer things
-2 old souls sat drinking, in the warm summer rain
-a long story between them,perhaps to long to be told
-the rain begins to cease, and one of them spoke
-says, “you know that I know that theres nothing to know, the moon will rise soon and we’ll dance in the blue glow
-and watch the sunset weep from the edge of the ridge.Looking for a beacon and a bridge.”

-sunday lazy sunday, hypocrites fill the pews
-a good man he stands preaching, a good man brings good news
-a strong spirit between them, perhaps to strong to be told
-the sun shines in, and he thinks aloud
– says,”I pray and you pray we’ll see that shore someday, i don’t know where it is but i know theres more than one way
-and then you’ll receive for all that you give. looking for a beacon and a bridge.”

-10 years this november, 10 years in the fall
– a rambling man he does ramble, a falling man he does fall
-and vagabond shoes stay walking, set towards the rising sun
-a familiar eye walks near says, “man what happened here?”
-he says, “you see it your way and i’ll see it my way, for now I return to my home on the highway
-may yesterdays dreams be today how you live. and may you find a beacon and a bridge”

-the seasons pass like madness, the summer wind draws near
-sadness echos in the hallway, a good man dreams of better years
-a long rode lay before him, longer so than lay behind
-he questions the skies, bright starts in his eyes
-i say, “you go where he goes and he goes where you go and as your sky knows the setting sun you will dance in heavens blue glow
– and in all the years you have yet to live, I’ll help you find your beacon and a bridge.”

Simon

IStillGotMyGuitar

Unique Guitars

Since the beginning of rock n roll guitarists have found a way to set themselves apart not just with the way they play the guitar, but with the guitars they play. The first that comes to mind is the double neck guitar that Jimi Page often donned when he was on stage. Of course, double neck guitars are not the only way to set yourself apart when it comes to your 6-string. To begin with, you can get guitars in any array of colors, including black guitars and pink guitars, and you could even get guitars painted as a British or American flag. I have seen custom guitar come in the shape of a state, such as Texas, or in a shape that imitates other instruments, like a harp. Any of these styles can draw you a little bit more attention when your about to rip that one killer solo.Does anybody out there have a guitar that they think sets them apart? Any pictures or even just a detailed description would be greatly appreciated.

Simon

IStillGotMyGuitar

Finger Picking

Finger picking has always been an alternative style of playing the guitar that has interested me. If you’ve mastered it, you can  sound great no matter if your playing in front of a packed crowd or practicing on your 15 watt amp at home. However, if you haven’t quite got it down, you can find yourself stumbling around and sounding painfully repetitive. To this point in my “career” my greatest successes in finger picking have come from learning songs that required me to finger pick and then trying to add my own style to the patterns I learned. A couple of the songs that I learned to help me acquire at least some skill. Specifically, the two songs I learned growing up that have helped me to play and write in a finger picking style are “Tears In Heaven” and “Dust In The Wind”. However, I still don’t pretend to have mastered playing in this way. When James Taylor described how he tried to play, he said he tried to play a guitar like he would a piano with his thumb being the left hand and the rest of his fingers being the right. This particular tip however, didn’t really make playing much easier for me. Does anybody out there have any advice for what to play or what to study to advance in finger picking?

Simon

IStillGotMyGuitar

Transfering What You Know On Guitar To Bass

It doesn’t matter if you have electric black bass guitar or an acoustic bass guitar, some time it can be difficult to transfer what you know on the guitar to making meaningful strides on the bass. I know personally only the most funky of my guitar stylings actually helps me succeed on the bass. For this very reason I find myself wondering if it is completely necessary to re-learn technique and theory to progress in playing the bass as apposed to the guitar.  I know that Jimi Hendrix often time re-recorded the bass lines on his records and he never particularly trained himself to play the bass;however, he was Jimi Hendrix. Perhaps the only true thing that transfers from the guitar to the bass is the dexterity, though with the bass the finger movements are actually quite different due to the separation of the strings as well as the strength it requires to hold down the string. Does anybody out there have any suggestions as to how to better translate guitar skills it’s 4 stringed brother? Any suggestion as always would be appreciated.

Simon

IStillGotMyGuitar