8 good reasons to be a lousy musician

Phew, that’s OK then!
Dustin Wax tells me why I don’t need to improve

C) There’s no pressure.

If i never get even the tiniest bit better than I am right now, it won’t matter. Nobody’s life, freedom, or even happiness depends on how well (or poorly) I play “Rocky Raccoon”. Whether I improve or don’t improve is totally irrelevant to anything or anyone but me.

D) It creates a social bond between myself and others.

I’ve met thousands of other crappy guitarists over the course of my life, and a few great ones. Being a guitarist myself creates a connection between us, gives us something to talk about. Guitarists are always giving each other little gifts — showing each other how to play a tricky part of a song, teaching each other new chords or new ways to make old chords, sharing licks and riffs with each other.

CD/DVD review John Mayer "where the light is"

(Disclosure: I got this CD/DVD for free)

Not too long ago I reviewed John Mayer’s Continuum and I guess you could say that while I was interested, I wasn’t 100% convinced. Luckily for me, Arbell Camron over at Sony in the US asked me if I wanted to review Mayer’s new CD & DVD combo – “where the light is”. Naturally, I said “Yes indeed”. And I’m glad I did. I’ve had the double cd in constant rotation in the car for a week now, and today I sat down with the missus and watched the DVD of the same show recorded last December in LA.

The CD and DVD bring us three facets of Mayer’s music – a (mainly) solo acoustic spot, a set by The John Mayer Trio (featuring the fantastic rhythm section of Steve Jordan on drums and the mighty Pino Palladino on bass) and a full band set by The John Mayer Band.

And fantastic stuff it is too – from start to finish. Although Mayer doesn’t need to prove anything to me at all, this CD & DVD has convinced me that he is a great singer (sounding at times like Jack Bruce, Clapton, and several others too) – he has a great vocal range, slipping into falsetto at times, which adds a different aspect to some of the songs; a great acoustic fingerpicking guitarist; a tremendous electric guitar player (blues and more) and a great songwriter too. He gives us blues (his own and others); Hendrix (“Axis: Bold As Love” and “Wait ’till Tomorrow”); arrangements of other folks songs (Ray Charles’ “Don’t Need No Doctor” has my vote to appear in a Big G setlist soon, I hope) and of course his own songs, mainly from his last release “Continuum”.

We see a great array of guitars on the DVD, some nice Martins and a variety of good looking (and sounding) Strats, a Guild and a Gibson jazz box (175 maybe) as well as some behind the scenes stuff, where Mayer comes across as a really nice guy.

I like lots of different tracks on this set, but my favourite section as a whole is the John Mayer Trio set – Pino Palladino and Steve Jordan are awesome and Mayer impresses with his vocals and guitar playing.

So – John Mayer: young, handsome, a talented singer, songwriter, guitar player, and a nice guy. Damn!

Mayer has a blog here where there are some videos and stuff, and there are videos for “Neon“, “Vultures” and “Waiting For The World To Change” – Caution, these are all over 100Mb in size.

Book Review – Guitars – A Celebration of Pure Mojo

I posted briefly about this book here at the beginning of June – a few days later I was lucky enough to receive a free review copy, and I’ve been spending a lot of time with it since then. You can check out the book here, but believe me, if you are at all interested in guitars, you should get this book. The handy size (about 7″ x 4″) mean that it can be kept close to hand. There are pictures of around 500 guitars here, many of which I’ve never seen before, and there are hours and hours worth of reading, pondering and perusing to be had. You could, if you wanted, start at the beginning and work your way through to the end (and I might do that some day) or you could just keep dipping in and out, guided by the contents page or by just flicking through the pages – you won’t have to flick through too many before you find something of interest.

Almost in the centre there is a section on 23 guitars that changed the world – spoiled only by the way the fold of the book cuts through the photographs this section is totally droolworthy – if I could have one of each of those guitars I’d be a happy happy man!

Also spread through the book are short articles on The Greats: Dylan, Robert Johnson, Django, Charlie Christian, Hendrix and many more, giving an insight into their guitars and playing.

This book will be a great addition to any guitar lover’s library, standing alongside any of Tom Wheeler’s books – except I’ll be keeping mine close to hand rather than on the bookshelf!

David Schiller, the lucky author of this book, has a blog here.