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Going Home: A Tribute To Alvin Lee

English blues-rock guitarist Alvin Lee, who unexpectedly died on March 6, was an underappreciated artist in many ways. He became worldwide famous for his band’s Ten Years After’s performance at Woodstock in 1969 and subsequent hits followed… but Lee always lived in the shadow of what Ten Years After played at Woodstock, "I'm Going Home.” Before, they were unknowns. After, Ten Years After were stars. Lee was also unfortunate, perhaps, in having to follow in the footsteps of fellow Brit-blues legends Eric...
 
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Free Spirit: The Genius Of Paul Kossoff

“Koss” never achieved mainstream acclaim like fellow British bluesmen Eric Clapton, Peter Green or Alvin Lee, but he was arguably equally as talented. The tragic reason Kossoff is often forgotten is that he died so awfully young – at just 25, after a prolonged battle with medication abuse. Kossoff was always destined to be a guitar star, no matter how briefly. Performing was in his family genes – his father was the noted British actor David Kossoff – and he took classic guitar lessons for six years up until his early teens...
 
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The Tale of Eric Clapton’s “Fool” Gibson SG

Eric Clapton has not often played Gibson SGs, but he did in Cream’s 18-month existence from mid-’66 to late-’68. His SG became a trippy-rock icon and helped birth Clapton’s fabled “woman tone.” Here’s the tale of Eric Clapton’s psychedelic “Fool” SG. From Blues Breakers to Cream. Eric Clapton was known for playing a Les Paul Standard in John Mayall’s Blues Breakers but his favorite “Beano” LP was famously stolen from an early Cream rehearsal. To replace it, Clapton acquired an SG. There are...
 
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How To Write A Song People Care About

Beyond something to do with money, there are a couple of reasons to write songs... 1. You want to express something. 2. You want to create something that others will connect with. If you're simply wanting to express something, you can stop reading now as there is nothing I can advise you on. If you're looking to write songs that better connect with people, this article is for you. "Expression" is great, but at its heart, it's something private. Once your thoughts have been put on paper or otherwise recorded, you've ...
 
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Play Like Billy Gibbons’ Hero Lightnin’ Hopkins

No less an authority on blues than the Rev. William F. Gibbons considers Sam “Lightnin’ ” Hopkins one of the genre’s essential figures. Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys concurs, as does Jimmie Vaughan. And departed giants including Stevie Ray Vaughan, T-Bone Walker and Albert Collins held the same perspective on the lean, laconic, dark sunglasses sporting Texas bluesman who emerged out of the Houston ghetto to tour the world and stake his place in six-string history, earning the number 71 slot on Rolling Stone’s ...
 
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Five Career-Endangering Mistakes for Songwriters (And How To Avoid Them)

One of the great mysteries in the music business is how to meet the decision makers who can help bring success to you and your songs. However, the second greatest mystery is why, - once in contact with one of these elusive industry people - so many songwriters throw common sense out the window and behave in ways that can only hurt their cause and, ultimately, their reputation in the eyes of the industry. In my years as a professional songwriter and producer, I’ve been on both sides of the equation and so ...
 
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The Big Send-Off: 10 Epic Guitar Outros

A great guitar outro can serve as the musical equivalent of an exclamation point, something to drive home a song in a memorable way. Whether flashy or subtle, the best guitar codas leave an impression that lingers long after the last notes fade. Below are 10 of the very best. “Mr. Crowley” (Ozzy Osbourne/Randy Rhoads). Randy Rhoads’ beautiful, classically inspired outro elevated this Ozzy classic into something of monumental proportions. The late guitarist spent hours working on the solo, but remained frustrated...
 
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Bad Moon Blues at the Crossroads

Crossroads is visceral code for the blues, hailing back to an urban myth that Mississippi Delta blues master, Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil to become a successful guitarist. Little wonder a new club in Nashville has branded itself in that dark Faustian myth to attract the best the blues has to offer in Music City. So I went over to Crossroads Grille on Murfreesboro Road March 16 as the boys from Bad Moon were back in town after a road trip playing to packed houses at Sweet Pea's and The Art Museum in...
 
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10 Rockers to "Like" on Facebook

Social media has changed the way we interact with each other. Now we can get up to the minute information about the lives of our favorite musicians through services like Facebook and Twitter. There is quite a change that has occurred in just the past ten years. It used to be that if you wanted information about a band you would have to wait for an interview in a music magazine. Now many musicians write on Twitter and Facebook, giving their fans up to date information on their latest projects. Here we list ten musicians who...
 
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Twitter Readies Stand-Alone Music App

Twitter acquired the music discovery service We Are Hunted last year and is using its technology to build a standalone music app, CNET has learned. The app, to be called Twitter Music, could be released on iOS by the end of this month, according to a person familiar with the matter. Twitter Music suggests artists and songs to listen to based on a variety of signals, and is personalized based on which accounts a user follows on Twitter. Songs are streamed to the app via SoundCloud. Twitter Music, which is set to arrive...
 
crowd-funding

Crowdfunding: The Act Of Asking

Amanda Palmer, an American musician, took the stage at a recent TED conference like a human statue. She stood on a plastic crate with a man’s hat upturned in front of it, held a length of tulle across her arms and a flower in one hand, and paused. Ms Palmer, who is an advocate of crowdfunding and communicating with her fans online, then delivered an electric talk about patronage in the internet age. The audience response was such that TED immediately (and nearly without precedent) edited and...
 
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Chicago Blues Storms Into Southern California

Two of blues' giants were honored courtesy of an amazing tribute on Wednesday night (March 13, 2013). The late Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf were celebrated by living artists who have some of the strongest links with those legendary Chicago blues pioneers. With The Fabulous Thunderbirds anchoring the Blues At The Crossroads 2: Muddy & The Wolf performance staged at Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa, the evening also featured harmonica great James Cotton, and guitarists Bob...
 
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5 Things Your Band Needs to Consider About Branding

Check out five ways you can set your band apart from the rest with smart branding methods from Kyle Valentic, a Los Angeles-based graphic designer and the founder of ROKRIOT.com, a design blog that highlights the innovative ways bands connect with their fans. 1) The Brand. Don’t be intimidated by the word “brand” or blow it off as corporate marketing-speak; branding is simply storytelling — which is something your band does every time it writes a song, so you already have some experience. Now it’s time...
 
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5 Aspects Of The Old Music Industry Being Disrupted And Replaced By Social Media

In a widely noted Billboard interview, Amanda Palmer stated that "Twitter has replaced Google and [music] management." Nobody cared about the Google part but her claim of replacing music management certainly raised a few eyebrows. Of course, like many such claims, it wasn't totally true but it did provide an interesting example of the disruptive power of social media to replace expensive professional roles with cheap, good enough solutions. Claire BeDell, writing for Sprout Insights, doesn't break new...
 
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Kim's Songwriters Toolbox: Find a mentor - Be a mentor

I recently read something about one of my mentors, whom I haven’t spoken to in over a decade. She is now the founder and CEO of a medical group that restores sight to children with visual disabilities, but when I knew her, she was a research professor at Vanderbilt University here in Nashville. I had just moved to town and needed a job to support my music habit. She was an fairly accomplished cello player and quit sympathetic to my musical goals. She allowed me to work a schedule that permitted time for...
 
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