April 16, 2009

Fred Kinbom

Fred Kinbom is a fantastic guitar player and songwriter, and no stranger to anyone frequenting one or more of the various online forums dedicated to slide guitar playing.

From his own bio:

Drawing on influences from his Scandinavian roots as well as music from various parts of the world - Eastern Europe, South and North America, Africa - his very personal brand of music and approach to the instrument, along with his strong sense of melody, has won him many fans across the globe.

People often comment that it's refreshing to hear lap steel music that is "not the usual slide stuff". "Soulful" and "unique" are other words uttered more than once by listeners.

An accurate description, for sure.

Here's a clip of a fantastic piece recently posted by Fred...enjoy!

April 13, 2009

Dean Magraw

The world is full of amazing guitarists.

There are flatpickers, and fingerstylists. Performers and composers.

Guitarists engaging in a variety of genres - country, jazz, folk, classical, rock and roll, avant garde, and world music. Players who shine a light on the traditions of the past, and others who look to the future for sounds yet unheard.

It's very rare that a single player can cover so many bases, and still excel at all of them.

Maybe that's the best way to describe Dean Magraw's talent - rare. From bebop flavored jazz sets at the Artist's Quarter, to rollicking takes on folk music from around the world with his eclectic ensemble Boiled in Lead - Magraw never disappoints. His solo acoustic work goes in many directions, sometimes with a pick in hand, and just as often without. At times, very traditional; and at others, wholly contemporary. He can push the sonic boundaries (and his audience's comfort zone) with his forays into the avant garde, embracing the chaos that makes space for the beauty of it all.

Magraw is a guitarist's guitarist - talented, skilled, adventurous, and never lacking the playful spirit behind his ever-present smile.

He sees the threaded connections between all music, threads that might seem disparate to most others.

In a world that asks us to define, categorize, and compartmentalize, Magraw (true to form) runs against the grain and simply asks us to listen.

And we should.

April 4, 2009

Tim Sparks - Sidewalk Blues

One of Minnesota's internationally acclaimed guitar legends - and all around great guy - Tim Sparks stopped by The Podium today to chat about guitars, visit, and generally let us know what he's been up to. His most recent CD - Sidewalk Blues - is now available.

This is a great collection of tunes that will sure to please any fan of guitar music.

As described on Tim's website:

"Sidewalk Blues is a collection of virtuoso Fingerstyle Guitar solos Ragtime and Jazz from New Orleans Sportin' Houses and Harlem Speakeasies mixed with Country Blues and Gospel Tunes that evoke a world of tobacco fields, fire-breathing itinerant preachers with moonshine on Saturday night and rapturous Gospel singing on Sunday morning."

And how!

Tim's new release is available from the link above, or at The Podium...

April 1, 2009

Roland and Clarence White

Bluegrass Legends.

There is hardly a flat picking guitarist today that hasn't been affected by the propulsive style of Clarence White. His venerable 1935 Martin D-28 with the enlarged soundhole - now owned and played by Tony Rice (a legend in his own right) - has inspired custom guitars from almost every maker, including the Clarence White signature model from Martin.

His playing - with the Kentucky Colonels (featuring Roland on the mandolin), as a session player, and with the Byrds - set the benchmark for contemporary bluegrass guitar playing, a style that Rice, Russ Barenberg, David Grier, and others continue to develop and expand.

Recently, Roland published a fantastic book titled "The Essential Clarence White Bluegrass Guitar Leads". With over 100 pages, plenty of photos, and 2 compact discs, this is a must have for bluegrass fans, or anyone interested in the rich contributions made by White to the history of American guitar music.

We've had a few copies at The Podium that went fast, and a few more have just arrived.

Here's a great clip of young Roland and Clarence White appearing on the Andy Griffith Show: