music

checking in

Hope everyone is having a great April! Things are busy here in NYC. I started the month pretty sick, and am finally feeling better. The recording had to be put on hold because of that, but things are moving again and I’m excited to start sharing some updates from the studio with you. My brand new band, The Radiators are playing a show at Rockwood Music Hall (stage 1), on April 30th at 11pm. Super excited to debut this band and a bunch of new songs. If you’re in the area , make sure to come check it out!

The other day I was messing around on the piano and realized one of my new songs translated nicely to a stripped down arrangement. The official version will come out this summer and features a full band and electric guitars. This take is a much more laid back version and I hope you enjoy it - would love to hear what you think!

Check it out below.

Muscle Shoals

Sometimes we experience something so profound we want to keep it to ourselves while fighting the urge to tell everyone. The past few days I’ve been reflecting on my weekend in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. From playing the Wurlizter featured on the The Staples’ Singers hit, “I’ll Take you There,” to the piano played on “Freebird,” I found myself left in awe and speechless most of the time.  I'll let the pictures tell the rest. 

Fame Studios

Fame Studios

3614 Jcakson Highway

3614 Jcakson Highway

Muddy Waters

MUDDY WATERS' CHICAGO HOME

MUDDY WATERS' CHICAGO HOME

Recently I took a pilgrimage to the south side of Chicago.  4339 S. Lake Park Ave doesn't look like much of anything from the street. It stands there lonely and forgotten, many of it's windows boarded, in a state of decay. A closer look reveals two painted flamingos on the front door and an inscription - "Muddy."

The house was built in 1879 and was purchased by Muddy Waters in 1954.  He lived there for 20 plus years during the height of his career. It has been vacant for many years due to legal issues and has changed owners several times. There is a giant push worldwide to have the property preserved as a historical site. 

FRONT DOOR DETAILS

FRONT DOOR DETAILS

 

Walking up to the house I tried to imagine what it must of been like back in Muddy's day.  You could've probably heard Muddy's band practicing in the basement. Maybe you could smell his wife Geneva's cooking on a Sunday afternoon. I imagine the house in it's prime condition. The property would've been a source of pride for Muddy - a far cry from his upbringing in Mississippi. Sitting there on the same steps where Muddy used to sit I found myself overwhelmed with reverence. 

SITTING ON MUDDY'S PORCH

SITTING ON MUDDY'S PORCH

The gear

The guitar nerd in me decided to profile the gear I use. It has taken me years to build a rig that I'm happy with. It takes a lot of trial and error and it is always evolving. I prefer a "less is more" approach and I think that is reflected in my gear. Every player has different needs and preferences - these are mine. Check out my complete guitar rig below.  

MONO CASE:  I love this product because it provides a durable and convenient way to carry my guitar. It is able to be worn as a backpack which frees up your hands to carry additional gear. Highly recommend this product for musicians on the go. Check this case out and many of their other wonderful products HERE.  

FENDER RICHIE KOTZEN TELECASTER:  This has been my main electric guitar for a few years now.  I've had dozens of electric guitars through the years but this guitar has quickly become my favorite. This guitar is designed to Richie Kotzen's (Winery Dogs, Mr. Big) specs. Some unique features specific to this guitar include a very large neck, comfort cut, and two DiMarzio pickups. Despite not playing anything like Richie and my small hands, this has proven to be a perfect guitar for me. I find that a larger guitar neck significantly reduces hand fatigue. This is a very versatile guitar that can cover any style of music. Find out more about this guitar HERE.

MARTIN CE0-7: I've had this guitar for a few years now. The fine folks at Woody's Music in Rock Hill, South Carolina ordered this for me. I love the smaller body and style of this guitar. It has that classic Martin tone and is also quite the looker. Before this acoustic guitar I primarily played a Gibson J-35. I loved the Gibson but wanted something a little more compact since I'm always crammed in some corner of a bar. The only modification I've made to this guitar is adding a LR Baggs active pickup system. Learn more about this guitar HERE

TECH 21 FLYRIG 5: I'm not much of a guitar pedal user, but this product caught my eye a few years ago and I had to have it. It's essentially three pedals in one - delay, distortion, and a clean boost. The greatest part is I can throw it in my guitar bag and go. What also makes this pedal unique is due to the SanAmp portion of the pedal, I can plug directly into a PA system if I absolutely had to. It is also convenient to carry when I'm using back-line gear and am not sure what amp I will be playing out of - I can click on the sansamp function and feel confident I am going to get a good tone. Check it out HERE.

QUILTER MACH PRO 2 HD: This is the most recent gear addition to my rig. After my Fender Vibrolux was stolen after a gig last year, I began a search for a replacement amp and I decided to get something different. Quilter is a small boutique brand out of Costa Mesa, California. I can't say enough good things about this amp. I've owned several Fender amps including a Deluxe and Vibrolux. While these were great amps in their own right, this amp blows them all out of the water. It should be mentioned that this is a solid state amp. Most guitar players I know turn up their nose when solid state amps are brought up. To some extent I get it - we've all experienced the cheap Line 6 and Peavey amps that leave a lot to be desired. The Quilter amps are not modeling amps. This is a high quality solid state amp that responds and sounds like it's tube counterparts - without the typical unreliable tube technology. Not only is this amp incredibly loud - it weighs in at only 21 pounds! Easy to grab and hop on the subway or throw in the trunk and head to the next gig. Learn more HERE.

If you're looking for a fantastic guide to help you pick a guitar, check out Beginner Guitar HQ HERE for some practical tips and advice to help you on your journey!

OTHER GEAR USED: