Brian Marquis Goes Acoustic at Vans Warped Tour

One oft-overlooked gem of the Vans Warped Tour is the “Acoustic Basement,” an area where artists can unplug and fans can unwind.

In its second year of existence, the Acoustic Basement is produced by Brian Marquis, the former frontman of Boston post-hardcore band Therefore I Am.

During Sunday’s event in Ventura, Calif., Marquis pulled double duty, stepping up to play songs from his new solo EP Snow Damage. Continue reading

Band of Horses Go Acoustic in Nashville

At a recent Band of Horses show in Nashville, the group stripped down one of their biggest hits, “No One’s Gonna Love You,” with frontman Ben Bridwell’s memorable voice highlighted by guitarist Tyler Ramsey’s subtle strumming.

Ramsey, who also performs as a solo artist, decided to take out his Guild guitar for the performance, which can be seen in fan-shot footage below.

Check out Ramsey’s official website and Band of Horses’s site for more information.

Neil Giraldo Discusses Guitar Collection in Guitar Aficionado

Neil Giraldo

In the May/June issue of Guitar Aficionado, Pat Benatar guitarist Neil Giraldo discusses his history with Benatar, his contributions to ’80s hits such as Rick Springfield’s “Jessie’s Girl” and some of his current projects.

Giraldo also invited the magazine into his Malibu home to take a look at some of his favorite instruments.

Included in that list is an early-’60s Guild Starfire III.

“When I was a kid, there was a guitar player named Phil Meglarino who lived down the street in Cleveland,” Giraldo told GA. “He had a great quiver. When he shook a string, it had a great sound. And he played a Starfire. When it got to the point that I had some success and I had some money, I wanted to get one of those guitars in honor of Phil. So I bought one a long time ago and never used it. It was like a keepsake. Then I decided, it’s time to break this out. So as of the last couple years I’ve been playing this one. It came with a Bigsby, but I have a problem with the sliding bridges because I palm the bridge so much that it moves around. So I changed out the bridge and the tremolo.”

Order Guitar Aficionado here.

Johnny Smith, 1922-2013

Guild is saddened to note the passing of jazz guitar great Johnny Smith.

Smith, 90, died June 11, 2013, at his home in Colorado Springs, Colo., after suffering complications from a fall.

A master of composition, arrangement and technique, Smith is best known for his Grammy-winning 1952 cover of “Moonlight in Vermont” with tenor sax great Stan Getz. Smith also wrote instrumental guitar classic “Walk, Don’t Run” (1954), which became a quintessential surf-rock standard when the Ventures recorded it in 1959. In addition to Getz, he accompanied artists including Benny Goodman, Bing Crosby, Count Basie, Stan Kenton and many others.

The Washington Post noted that the “sumptuous melodic style, understated precision and remarkable consistency of Mr. Smith’s playing over the decades brought him countless admirers at the highest levels of his craft.”

Born June 25, 1922, in Birmingham, Ala., Smith taught himself guitar during childhood and had turned pro by his early teens during the Depression. He played cornet in the Army Air Forces band during World War II, after which he established himself in New York as one of the city’s top guitarists. Smith played with the NBC radio studio orchestra under conductor Arturo Toscanini. Onstage, he performed difficult compositions by Arnold Schoenberg with conductor Dimitri Mitropoulos, and he appeared often at New York jazz nightclub Birdland.

Mainstream success came with 1952 album Moonlight in Vermont and its title track, which was Smith’s breakthrough hit ranked among the top-selling jazz singles of the period.

Smith left New York at the height of his career, however, after the 1958 death of second wife Ann Westerstrom during childbirth. He decided to raise his daughter in Colorado Springs, where he had family. He opened a music store and taught guitar there (Bill Frisell was one of his students), aided at times by royalties from “Walk, Don’t Run.”

The Smithsonian Institution bestowed its James Smithson Bicentennial Medal on Smith in 1998 for his contributions to American culture.

Smith occupies a special place in Guild history for his 1955 guitar design that in essence made him the company’s first signature artist. Smith worked with Guild founder Alfred Dronge on the resulting guitar, called the Johnny Smith Award model. Decades later, Smith once again lent his endorsement to Guild for its handmade Johnny Smith Award by Benedetto guitar of 2002-2005.

 

The Lumineers Play Two Tracks on Fallon

Denver-based folk rock band the Lumineers were recently featured on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, where they played their latest single “Stubborn Love” and a cover of the Talking Heads’ ”This Must Be The Place (Naïve Melody).”

Watch both performances below and visit their official website for a full list of 2013 tour dates.

David Byrne & St. Vincent Amaze N.J. Crowd

Photo credit: Andreas Laszlo Konrath

By Steve Hochman

Note to David Byrne and Annie Clark, a.k.a. St. Vincent:

As you kicked off a new phase of your tour behind the bracing 2012 collaborative album Love This Giant on Wednesday at the lovely, Art Deco-era Wellmont Theatre in Montclair, N.J., a quibbling thought occurred. You’ve got that great band, built around an eight-piece brass section — make that brass section/dance troupe, with the amusingly effective and effectively amusing choreography you’ve given them. You all got to know each other and feel out the range of talents you collectively embrace on last year’s introductory tour.

So why not, for an encore at least, let the brass really blast, really let loose for a version of, oh, Marvin Gaye’s “Ain’t That Peculiar?” The song’s snap-back beat would be a great extension of the rhythmic invention you displayed all night, the same way Clark’s effects-filtered guitar leads at times expanded on and contrasted the brass sounds. And a little evanescent duetting, Gaye and Tammi Terrell-style, between the two of you would make the perfect complement to the winningly arty manners of the concert. Something along those lines could even moreso tie together a set drawn mainly from the album, in addition to such St. Vincent solo gems as the colorfully defiant “Cheerleader” and, of course, several keystones from Byrne’s Talking Heads and solo catalog.

Again, that’s just a quibble, just a little thought. There was nothing lacking from the show, per se. It’s a fully conceived, fully realized combination of two distinctive, idiosyncratic (in the best way) talents. The choreography, the players flowing around the stage or doing slo-mo dosey-does, was just part of it, as was the black-and-white color scheme (the silver front panel of Clark’s skirt and the now-platinum blond hue of her hair, not quite matching Byrne’s near-white cropped coif, the only slight exceptions). Continue reading

Bombay Bicycle Club Performs ‘Always Like This’ in the Guild Lounge

Bombay Bicycle Club’s 2009 debut album I Had the Blues But I Shook Them Loose contained several gems, and the English indie rockers pulled out one of them when they stopped by the Guild Lounge

Check out the group playing “Always Like This” after the jump and visit their official Facebook page for more information. Continue reading

Grizzly Bear Perform on Ellen

Brooklyn-based indie outfit Grizzly Bear recently appeared on Ellen, where they performed “Yet Again” off Shields. Host Ellen DeGeneres, who said she “just loves this band so much” generously gifted the audience members with copies of the band’s latest album.

Watch the clip below, and check out the sweet vintage Guild electric that guitarist Daniel Rossen is rocking.

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