Back from California.. and more

Warming up George Lowden's guitars in the am at the show.True to form it’s been a while since I logged on to share my thoughts and keep everyone up to date.

My son and I returned from the NAMM Show last Monday evening to face about 1″ of icy slush in the streets of Philly. It turns out there is a priority on Route 76, so at 12:15am last Tuesday we discovered that the expressway in/out of Philly was mostly wet due to liberal salting and service. However, the other roads (not just sideroads) were hideously slippery. Our normally 40-minute drive was close to 90 minutes without traffic. quite a shock from the 75F days in Anaheim….

The show was the usual whirlwind of activity and noise. Highlights (for me) included spending time at George Lowden’s booth, playing and discussing guitars (and many other subjects) and trying to play everything in the Godin room (including the new multiac oud). Of course, I spent time with my friends at Ibanez (where I was elbowed in the stomach by security as Steve Vai walked through) and became re-acquainted with the folks at EMG pickups. I was visiting a lot of companies, too numerous to detail and recall on the spur of the moment. My son did shoot videos of performance and meetings – however the noise level in most of the situations is awful and the soundtracks need quite a bit of work. In may cases I am totally inaudible despite amplification. I was disappointed in the number of companies that weren’t there – I was looking forward to checking out some new gear and gaining more firsthand information about things. It seems the financial crisis is real for the smaller companies (which I can attest to personally).

On the musical side of things I’m finally wrapping up the new CD, getting the post-production finished on the solo tracks from Crossroads and some other recording dates in 2010 — all solo. The trio is still very much in action, though as of this writing we aren’t scheduled to perform until March in Princeton NJ. I’m also beginning a collaboration with a very talented flutist with a focus on an acoustic duet, possibly a trio. Of course my solo work is still very much up front. I’m also considering a power trio…..

I did enjoy spending time with the great Pierre Bensusan last night, hearing him perform and then discussing world culture, politics, music, art and life in general. He’s in the US for a stretch and always worth seeing.

It’s about time to get the real work done — more udpates to follow…. more frequently.

Stay well.

MattReturning from NAMM '11


Following a great Group performance…

The Kimmel Center pedalboard

… at Philly’s regional performing arts center (the Kimmel Center) I can’t help feeling very satisfied and inspired. The group sounded and played great and I had the best guitar sound I’ve ever had. My compliments and appreciation to the staff at the Kimmel (especially Megan, Vanessa and Bob) for making this go so smoothly. I’d be glad to do this every week, though in all fairness there are other artists who deserve to get their turn on this stage.

For the guitar aficionados — I used my mid-70s Hagstrom Viking with John Pearse nickel electric strings (.011 set), through a pedalboard (yes, a new one exists) and into the Lab L3 (newly cobbled together after the FedEx mishap). The guitar and amp are a fantastic combination – the amp has the most tube-like sound with a mid-range richness that I can’t describe…. the pedals included an Arion Tubulator (yes, that’s right), Boss flanger, Boss volume, Boss DD2 and RV2. This Tubulator, I’ve been told, has a clone of the original Ibanez Tube Screamer circuit and I believe it.

What really counted was the performance – Adrian and Chris have the best interactive dynamic I’ve ever been a part of. They are the text-book example of a bassist and drummer who really connect on every level… and they’re great guys to work with. I did press Record on my DR1 at the beginning of the set and actually got a fairly clean recording on the stage. Maybe I’ll send out a bonus track for the holidays……

I’m getting deep into Ted Greene’s Chord Chemistry book — what a brilliant musician. I’m pondering ideas and clearing a lot of cobwebs out of my mind — it’s shocking how habits get so ingrained but it’s good to give them a hard shake-up now…

It’s been a busy family day and I still didn’t finish painting the porch. (Luckily it’s just some touch-ups.) I’ll be posting again soon…

All the Best!