By David Lowry
One of the blessings my job allows me to do is work with amazing musicians like Rob Balducci, Dave Weiner and Jon Finn. Having been a guitar player for almost 30 years and going to music school to be the next Steve Vai,(which obviously never happend) I have a special affinity for listening to guitar instrumental music. It really helps me to focus on my work and really dig into whatever I am doing at the time. This blog may center on this genre but it applies to all genres of music that get ignored by mainstream radio and TV. I have also interviewed many of these artists mentioned in this blog on my radio show “Live From Music City” and really have a strong desire to bring this form of music back to the masses as the music is incredible and deserves as much attention as any other genre of music.
Andy Timmons recorded a song called “Cry For You” that in my personal estimation is one of the best instrumentals ever recorded. It has a haunting melody that just sucks you in and makes you fall in love with it. It reminds of a person I once loved and although that brings a deep pain for me, it also reminds me that this genre of music holds the same ability to carry that emotional quotient that any other genre of music does. The songs that shape our lives should include all genres of music not just what’s on the radio, TV or being hyped by the powers that be. I recently did a review of Andy’s new cd “Andy Timmon’s Band Plays Sgt. Pepper.” I also reviewed Neil Zaza’s CD “212.”
These musicians have found a way to bring us music that doesn’t need vocals or lyrics because their instruments do the talking for them. They bring us music that can still capture our hearts, soul and imagination and most certainly shouldn’t be over looked or passed by just because it doesn’t have lyrics attached. Just like any other form of music you have some artists that are better than others, better songwriters, performers or improvisers, but if you just close your eyes and listen, you will be transported away by beautiful melodies, moving pieces and moody progressions that take us to new emotional places. Some times words aren’t enough to express the way we feel, but you can hear what you want to say in this music or other forms like it.
I encourage you to listen to instrumental music, jazz, fusion, funk, classical or whatever form of music you don’t normally listen too. Learn to listen with new ears and develop a new musical appreciation and understanding of pure musicianship that you normally don’t get in most pop music. Don’t be limited to what you hear on the radio or what’s force fed to you by those with the money and power to make it happen. With all the new music streaming services you can find any genre of music and test-drive it before you buy it. If you do like it please buy it and spread the word about the new music you discovered. Don’t let preconceived notions about what music is or isn’t keep you from discovering a new style of music that may free your mind, your playing or your feelings. As musicians we should always be expanding our listening range and really be able to incorporate the new things we hear to enhance our own playing or writing skills.
In other parts of the world this is a very popular genre. Many countries or continents don’t suffer the same form of genre ignorance that we do in America. To much of the world good music is just that, good music and it doesn’t matter the genre or era it came from. They don’t classify music the way we do in America and because of it, they are more well rounded in their listening tastes and many artists can make a living over there as opposed to not being able to here. Expand your boundaries and listen to amazing musicians that can create melodic landscapes in your mind that the average musician on the radio can’t.
Here is a list of amazing guitar musicians for you to check out in no particular order. Andy Timmons, Steve Vai, Eric Johnson, Tommy Emmanuel, Jon Finn, Neil Zaza, Steve Morse, Carl Verheyen, Dave Weiner, Michael Lee Firkins, Joe Satriani, Rusty Cooley, Rob Balducci, Guthrie Govan and Shaun Baxter. Obviously there are so many more like Andy McKee or Gretchen Menn that have really popped in the last couple years but this is a good start to finding people who have mastered their instrument and have learned how to write songs that reach you just like any other pop song would.
Good luck in your musical exploration!
David Lowry is the President of The Lowry Agency, a full service artist management agency that works with musicians, speakers, entertainers, actors and models based in Nashville, TN. David manages and or books the musical careers of Brother Cane, Damon Johnson (Brother Cane, Thin Lizzy, Alice Cooper), Rob Balducci, Dave Weiner, Jon Finn, Kris Bell and Mindset Defect. For more information please contact The Lowry Agency at http://www.thelowryagency.com.