So this became my 1st NAMM in the heat of Summer in Nashville … a year and a half after I created my Christmas stocking wish list from my finds at Winter NAMM 2010.
Summer NAMM was of a smaller scale than that of the Winter show in Anaheim last January, occupying the one hall’s worth of toys at the Nashville Convention Center.
This made my life easier as I quickly honed in on the ones that would excite my musician/geek senses. On entering the exhibit hall it became obvious that guitars would reign at Summer NAMM but the usual giants of innovation were prepared to bombard me with their new delights. (continue reading…)
My first Summer NAMM in Nashville! I’ll be posting up videos and the such soon, so stay tuned! For those who might like to try out my Quiz, please leave your answer in a comment on my youtube channel “Oceanachine”, below the video (click on the Youtube icon on the player to get there!!!) Cheers, Shueh-li
If one were to bring a group of music lovers together and asked them who their favourite pianists of the Romantic period were, Beethoven, Mozart, Brahms and Chopin would undoubtedly be mentioned.
Now ask me, and my answer would be a trifle long winded – - though I savour the music of those maestros, I die-hard for Alexander Scriabin (late Romantic/20thC), hooked after playing his Prelude and Nocturne, Op. 9 for the left hand only.
Take a look at the picture to the left. I’ve heard many would swoon for this man.
He is depicted as a child prodigy from the various accounts I’ve read. The tomes describe him as a great improvisor, a talented composer, a true showman and a personality to be reckoned with.
According to Wiki, his “mesmeric personality and stage presence” created massive hysteria at his concerts to cause ”Women (to fight) over his silk handkerchiefs and velvet gloves, which they ripped to shreds as souvenirs … his playing raised the mood of audiences to a level of mystical ecstasy.”
Wishful thinking but, I’ve got to meet this guy! (continue reading…)
What sound system would you pick to dress up that room where you relax after a hard day in the world of power suits, the room where you also entertain high roller friends, and where million dollar deals are cut? What system could transform a not too shabby room into a feast for the ears and then some?
That system just might be the shiniest toy on the home entertainment block; the Steinway Lyngdorf, born from the collaboration between Steinway & Sons and Danish audio engineer Peter Lyngdorf.
An invitation for me arrives from the Steinway Piano Gallery of Nashville, to oogle at the first and only speaker system to bear the Steinway insignia.
I do a double take as I walk onto the showroom floor … there is a 9 foot grand and … what do we have here?!
I meet George Rolden at his home in Coatesville Philadelphia. Thanks to Jill Hughes-Kirtland (editor, usaprogmusic), who drove me to meet this old acquaintance of hers from the Progrock world, I arrive in time for George’s weekly radio broadcast of Prog Rock Cafe; equipment housed in the basement of his home.
George politely and magnanimously welcomed us in on this somewhat chilly December night. Under Jill’s advise we had packed our bags to stay-over at his humble abode; a long drive back up to Jersey just wouldn’t work in the thick snow.
I set up the vidcam on the topmost shelf of George’s bookcase as swiftly as I could so as not to interrupt his radio schedule. We were ready for the simulcast of Prog Rock Cafe and Sonicfreakz’s video interview.
George is an old hand in the progressive rock circle. As the president and promoter of ROSfest – Rites of Spring festival held annually in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, he has made ROSfest one of the premier ProgRock festivals on the North-east region of America; this region being New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Washington DC, Delaware. (continue reading…)
Singaporean blues-rock guitarist Rosli Mansor just released his sophomore instrumental guitar album, and his management scanned the review I published in my newspaper day-job and blogged about it, so I thought I’d link to the scan and blog post here. You can buy Rosli’s album from indie online music store CD Baby. We don’t get a commission here at Sonicfreakz if you buy it; just wanted to give the guy some props.
A duo is probably the most efficient way to describe Francis singing and playing guitar, with Tom on keys. I have reviewed several acoustic shows in pint-size venues before. Some have outperformed my expectations, others just seem to fade into the noise of claustrophobia.
An innocuous stage setup lay before me at the Tin Angel in Philadelphia.
I had never seen Francis Dunnery perform until that night. I am of course somewhat familiar with Tom Brislin’s career. Mr Dunnery it seems has had a fairly illustrious musical career, being the frontman for sometimes rock, other times pop, but mostly ProgRock band It Bites during the ‘80s. It Bites had a fair amount of success including a #6 with song ‘Calling All Heroes’ on the UK Singles Chart. According to what I read online, his career also saw him hobnob with some significant names in the British ProgRock scene, such as Chris Squire and Robert Plant.
His most current projects are his solo performances and the recently formed New Progressives. The latter it seems, has as its mission, to develop a new approach to progressive rock.
Prog music has its roots in the British movement against pop and rock music of the late ’60’s/early ‘70s. Those who championed this style chose to push the boundaries in composition and live performance; hence the term progressive. Many iterations later, prog music has in many ways become more of a show than a movement. I would very much like the opportunity to sit down with Mr Dunnery to discover what he thinks he has added to the ProgRock repertoire; so Francis, give me a call. (continue reading…)
I wrap up my coverage on NAMM 2010 with a special article, special to me for many reasons. I am a music tech buff or geek as some like to call me. I can’t deny it, bad habit. I am also a history buff; I love to listen to treasured stories. I can’t refute that, and I won’t kick the habit. But most of all, I can’t deny that my love for playing music has enabled me to connect with people … and that leaves me eternally grateful.
1st day at NAMM – - I picked up my badge at the will-call station in the lobby of the Anaheim Convention Center. Had to place the printout which bore my name and Moog Music Inc, into the given plastic holder. Also printed on the badge was the letter ‘A’ in white which sat in the middle of a black square designed in the lower right-hand corner. ‘A’ – - stood for ‘artist’.
Why am I telling you all this? That’s because of the strange sensation that washed over me as I realised all curious by-starers would ‘recognise’ me as a Moog artist … and it made me want to get down on my knees.
I visited family when I caught up with the folks at Moogmusic. That’s how I consider them; family.
The name Moog (pronounced like ‘vogue’) is known for technology that has made music history. The home-grown company has stayed true to its roots by continuing to come up with fantastical products while keeping the legacy of its founder alive. Robert Moog’s inventions left an indelible mark in the sound palette of the world (read footnote) and thanks to their strong following, no product stays long as a number on the production line. (continue reading…)
Thom Shepherd is one of these down to earth musicians I’ve mentioned in my various articles. The kind so comfortable with themselves and their music they don’t try to please. They are just who they are; comfortable.
Thom wore a perpetual smile on his face for the 45 minutes we chatted in his office just off Music Row, and was accommodating in more ways than one. This two-times cancer survivor is unabashed about his brush with death; which he agreed was fodder for songwriting, his love for country music, and respect for his fellow musician and partner Megan Linville.
Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Thom Shepherd has written songs recorded by various artists and is the winner of an Achievement Award from the Nashville Songwriters Association. He proudly boosts of three hits since his move to Nashville. The first, “Riding with Private Malone” was written before he even had a publishing deal. “Private Malone” which was recorded by David Ball, made it to #2 on the country chart. Thom was also responsible for “Redneck Yacht Club”, co-writing this second hit with Steve Williams. The song was recorded by Craig Morgan. At the time of this interview Thom had a Texas #1 three weeks in a row with “Beer Season” recorded by Kevin Fowler. (continue reading…)
Yamaha occupied an entire ballroom in the Marriott, a short sprint across from the Anaheim Convention Center.
I caught up with long time supporter of Xenovibes, Western Regional Manager, Frank Yardley who gave me a tour of the ‘booth’ beginning with my favourite department; the wonderful world of electronic wiz.
John Anthony Martinez, my Xenovibes partner, and I have toured in confidence knowing that no matter where we landed there was a Yamaha representative. When we arrived in NYC for Moogfest07 at B B King in the rain there was rep Eugeni with a DTXpress III. At the 2004 Xenovibes premier in Singapore, Yamaha Asia had a DTXpress II ready for our rehearsal. An O1X mixer/HUI complete with MLan and two 32-bit multi-effects processors was bought to record the show; an item I’ve since used faithfully on every CD. On the other end of the musical instrument spectrum, a Yamaha C3 concert grand was my instrument in my undergraduate years at the Elder Conservatorium …
But then I digress. What can I say about Yamaha except it is a name associated with innovation and quality.