Fucking twang!

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, it’s probably pretty clear that I’m a closet country music fan.

I blame the guy who really started me off on guitar over 40 years ago. He had very eclectic tastes in music and I was exposed at the age of 13 to people like Django Reinhardt, Wes Montgomery, Les Paul and Chet Atkins.

I never really liked Chet that much – a bit too ‘easy’…the guy could play, that was for fucking sure but he didn’t do much to inspire me and I filed ‘country guitar’ away and didn’t plan to revisit it.

A few years down the line, however, and I start to hear guitarists like Albert Lee in the criminally underrated Heads Hands and Feet and I realise that although this is country, it also rocks like a bitch too and I then start finding out about the genre of country guitar in earnest.

In fact, I’ve gone all the way back to the 1930s, taking in Western Swing and the sublimely raucous Junior Barnard, before getting slightly more up to date with seminal country players like James Burton, Jimmy Bryant and Merle Travis and then even more recent fretmeisters.

A lot of the time, I have to wade through some pretty mediocre shite to hear the gems, but it’s worth it because I’d never have discovered these two guys, amongst many others.

First, Brad Paisley. He’s capable of playing some blindingly good guitar amongst the frankly maudlin crap that he makes mega-bucks playing. Beautiful Telecaster tone and the action on his guitars has to be seen to be believed – talk about ‘stiff’! I thought I had my action set high, but Paisley’s is ridiculous, as you can see in this clip of him trying out a Doctor Z amp that I’d probably sell my own granny for…

Anyway, here he is with ‘Throttleneck’:

The second player here, Vince Gill, is sort of similar in that he makes a more than comfortable living playing some really crappy stuff, but he’s another dynamite guitarist. Here he is with ‘Liza Jane’, and that’s the UK’s very own Albert Lee (with the trademark hair) on the other guitar.

And it’s all Telecasters.

A guitar which does exactly what it says on the tin.

What more do you need?

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2 Responses

  1. Ooh, interesting that you mention Brad Paisley’s DrZ demos… I’ve transcribed a couple for someone in the past, and his playing is completely blinding.

  2. Hmm – we’ll let the question pass I think.

    I first became aware of Albert Lee when he payed lead on a track called Sweet Little Lisa on Dave Edmunds’ Repeat When Necesary album. For someone brought up on Hendrix, Page, Harrison, McGuinn, Rossington/Collins/King/Gaines and Townshend it was a case of “oh good, you can do that on an electric guitar too can you?” – then there was Knopfler, and that was pretty much it as far as individual guitar style excellence went for me, although there have of course been great exponents since.

    There are people who can also make a gargling sound on a guitar, but that doesn’t count as music….

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