Tag Archives: Eric Clapton

Twisted Oak Reflects In Album Cold Coffee & Cigarettes

25 Nov

Twisted Oak presents Cold Coffee & Half Smoked Cigarettes as an ode to life, struggles, and everything in between. With lyrics such as “over the hills and under the stars” balancing out the deep and reflective tone the whole album has, Matt Batory draws up visual metaphors within his music that connect to his audience. Overall, the instrumental structure of the album includes a lot of acoustic guitar and raw vocals. For those who enjoy Eric Clapton, Rufus Wainwright, and The Weepies, listeners will enjoy the overall vibe of Batory and his music. Listening further and listeners would think that this album comes from a mature and older musician, but Batory is just 22. With this much promise and reflective quality at an early age, listeners can anticipate that the best is yet to come from Matt Batory and his musical prowess.

For more listening:

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The Greatest Love Song – “Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton

17 Jun
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That stache is endearing

Oh, Eric Clapton, how much I adore this song. What a perfect time for a seemingly random musical interlude from your faithful jester. You see, this blog has seen me meet many milestones, and this weekend another one will pass, one that is certainly more geared towards the message of Clapton’s song. I am getting married this weekend. Our first dance is “Wonderful Tonight” – my choice, of course.

So this blog post is my defense of Clapton’s masterpiece, which was written for Pattie Boyd. She provided inspiration to both George Harrison and Eric Clapton alike; we do have her to thank for some awesome music. Clapton wrote it in 1976 as he waited for her to get ready. Yes, that simple. And that is my first argument in favor of using Clapton’s song for my first dance. It is almost minimalistic in its sincere simplicity. The song’s ultimate message is that “you were wonderful tonight” and that night can be extrapolated out – even though things didn’t exactly work out for Clapton and Boyd. The song is a microcosm for a loving relationship, and its lyric is a testament to that fact; the song just always stuck to me because it is lovey without relying on mawkishness.

Argument 2 is the melody. The concise guitar whine that sits over a delicate rhythm, as if he wrote the melody with Boyd in mind as well. The song is sensuous without any lasciviousness, and that is not easy to do. The song drives forward methodically and is overwhelmingly enjoyable.

Argument 3 is sentimentality. I’ve been with my current fiance for many years, and it has always been out song – yes, this was entirely my doing, but I’ve always connected her to it and that is another reason I love it. All in all, “Wonderful Tonight” the perfect choice for the first dance, and I can’t wait to hear it as we take the dance floor this weekend.

Look out for more consistent posting over the summer!

 

 

Classical Davide – Acoustic Guitar for the Soul

22 Oct

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When I was younger I wanted to be a guitar-wielding, vocal powerhouse rock star. After a few fledgling attempts at musical production with impromptu rock bands, I realized that my dream was limited to the occasional, recreational strumming of an acoustic guitar.

Turn on the radio today, and toggle through the stations. You are bound to find variations of rock and pop. That should come to no surprise to anyone. I dreamed of pop/rock stardom, and I did so because that was what was cool. I was a musical conformist, and although at 14 years old I turned my attention to 60s and 70s rock, I was still focused on rock dreams.

Davide Rigodanzo is not, and that is what makes this 14-year-old fingerstyle guitarist so special. A self-taught guitarist who started playing the guitar when he was 11 years old, he has aspirations different from your normal 14-year-old music lover. Davide, a spitting image of Justin Bieber, represents keen maturity and a perspicacious appreciation of the acoustic guitar and music itself. I’ll leave you to read some of Davide’s words.

“My preferred style is fingerpicking. It is not simple to learn, but I think that this style meets the possibility to have an accompaniment (with finger) + a principal sound more emphasized with the pick.”

You don’t hear many 14-year-old aspiring musicians talking like that. As a music lover, I have much respect for those who play the acoustic guitar well. The instrument has been slightly perverted by pop simplicity – a few chords and voila, a chart-bursting hit. I am endeared to those who actually know how to pick notes and extract emotion from an acoustic guitar so it oozes out in smooth sound. Davide is able to do that.

He even gets the slaps and mutes right! Sorry, I’m getting ahead of myself. “Wonderful Tonight” is my favorite Eric Clapton song. Davide performs it with sophistication and feeling. The sound is crisp, and Davide strikes each note with intensity. He demonstrates a true sagacity in his ability to not drown the sound by playing too quickly or let the sound echo too often. It’s a wonderful mixture.

I’m happy to introduce Davide to the Music Court readership. It isn’t everyday I am contacted by a classical guitarist, especially one who is 14 years old. We should all take a page out of Davide’s playbook. Don’t simply pursue something because it is perceived to be chic or profitable. Do what you love!

A True Guitar Festival – Crossroads Night One (4/12/13)

21 Apr

Eric Clapton Crossroads (DAVID HANDSCHUH/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

Within the first ten minutes of the first night of Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival, I turned to my buddy and exclaimed, well, “that was better than an encore. Do we go home now?” Behind the attempted humor, I was serious in my sentiments.To open the show, Eric Clapton and guests greeted an enthusiastic full house at Madison Square Garden with a five-song acoustic set that drifted and jived through Clapton staples like “Lay Down Sally” and “Wonderful Tonight.” Clapton invited artists like Vince Gill and Andy Fairweather Low on stage, the latter of which sang tremendous lead vocals on his song “Spider Jivin” – the second song of the night. Clapton began the concert with “Driftin.” In the middle of his opening set, Clapton performed “Tears in Heaven,” which he has unearthed for his 50th Anniversary Tour. The song, written in response to the death of Clapton’s four-year-old son, is as potent as it is simple. Because of its subject, Clapton rarely plays it (last time before this tour was in 2003). Hearing him perform the song live was well worth the price of admission.

At the helm of the show was emcee and original Blues Brother, Dan Akroyd, who introduced artists and, prior to the concluding set by the Allman Brothers, performed a rousing version of “Got My Mojo Working” with Keb ‘Mo. In reviewing my notes from the show – and recalling my euphoric loquaciousness during/after the show, I realize now that despite my pre-show expectation to see a slew of revered guitar gods, I couldn’t quite grasp how overwhelming and ethereal the concert would be. Perhaps the “kid in a candy store” axiom might suffice in describing the crowd’s zeal, but I believe it may be a little weak. There was an infectious gregariousness to the crowd; this wonderful atmosphere of musical passion and friendship. It was as if the guitar community was coming together for a convention, a mind-blowing convention.

Let’s face it; the entire five-hour concert was a highlight. It was a virtual all-star game of guitarists. I intended on marking down some highlights of the night, but I ended up typing furiously on my cell phone (and then my friend’s cell phone after my battery depleted) just to keep up with the plethora of highlights. For your reading pleasure, I have narrowed down my thumb-tiring list of typed highlights to just three major performances during the show. Before I get to the top three of the night (not counting the Clapton solo set I mentioned above), let me commend Booker T and Steve Cropper for their set (the first after Clapton’s acoustic opener). Paired with Blake Mills, Matt “Guitar” Murphy, Keb Mo, Booker T and the NEW MG’s played a five-song set (concluding with “Green Onions) that featured a strong version of “Born Under a Bad Sign.”

Now on to the top 3…

3.) “Everyday I Have the Blues” with Robert Cray, B.B. King, Jimmie Vaughn & Eric Clapton

Blues royalty. Yeah, something like that. B.B. King, who is in possession of a personal fountain of youth, was electric for the few songs he sat in on. I particularly like this performance because it highlights the spirit of the festival. As these legends (King, Cray, Vaughn, and Clapton) playfully swapped and stole solos from each other, the crowd could almost smell the aroma of blues – which to me is a mixture of hard scotch and worn guitar strings. This jam is about as authentic as you can get. It is the blues. Strip away the stage, crowd, and allure, and there would still be four individuals playing the blues.

2.) “Don’t Let me Down” with John Mayer and Keith Urban

After a small set of original pieces, John Mayer summoned Keith Urban onto stage to complete a guitar duo for an electric performance of The Beatles’ “Don’t Let me Down.” There are so many things to like about this performance. A.) It’s an awesome cover of a Beatles’ song. B.) John Mayer and Keith Urban can flat-out kill it on the guitar. C.) They also can sing pretty damn well. D.) If you listen closely, the band adds several interesting influences into the song (country hints mixed with traditional blues). E.) Go to the 3:00 minute mark, refer back to B, and enjoy.

1.) “Whipping Post” with The Allman Brothers Band

12 minutes of pure, unadulterated, brilliance. Watching the Allman Brothers Band is always a treat, but they brought it to a completely different level for this concluding performance at Crossroads. The solos were that much more inspired, and the band played with some extra fire and oomph that propelled the song to the apex of awesome. Listening to the jam-packed crowd, five hours into the concert, belt out the familiar lyrics like it was the opening song was also spectacular.

Legendary show! And, all for a good cause.

Crossroads Guitar Festival 2013 – TONIGHT!

12 Apr

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One of my students recently celebrated a birthday. The day before her birthday was the “day of anticipation.” I thought that was an elegant way to describe her excitement, and, with all the credit to her, I will now sample the phrase and admit that this moment is of potent anticipation. In less than five hours, I will be among a full crowd of music lovers for Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival 2013 at Madison Square Garden.

As I wrote back in November, my buddy Josh and I have envied those who attended past Crossroads festivals (watching videos of the ethereal artist combinations) since Clapton first started this charity concert. Now, finally, we will attend (the concert is in our backyard, so to speak). While I have seen Clapton three times, I am assured that tonight will be a different experience. The line-up is freakishly good. The concert, which will run for 4.5 hours, will be the best representation of musical firmament. As you can tell by my effusive excitement, I am ready for this show.

It is also wonderful to be supporting Clapton’s Crossroads Centre in Antigua. Clapton was once afflicted with addiction, and the Crossroads Centre was founded in 1998 to provide treatment to addicted individuals. The festival proceeds tonight support the centre.

You can follow the Crossroads Social Media feed on Facebook and Twitter. If you were lucky enough to score tickets to the show (it was a harrowing experience, trust me), ENJOY! I will be there rocking out from my seat.

Be sure to expect a review of the show in the coming days.

 

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