Big Ears Festival 2018

This was my first time attending the Big Ears Festival in Knoxville, Tennessee, but it won’t be the last. I was initially drawn to the possibility of seeing Stian Westerhus live, but unfortunately, though originally announced, he was unable to participate. I decided to go anyway, excited to see Nels Cline with Jenny Scheinman’s Mischief and Mayhem, Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog, and the Bang on a Can All-Stars. My wife Liz and I had been talking about visiting Knoxville for a long time, so the stars seemed to align.

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Introducing: The Messthetics

Congratulations to modern guitarist Anthony Pirog for being lauded in the New York Times. His new band with the rhythm section from the legendary Fugazi recalls Sonny Sharrock, surf music, punk and other influences, while centering them all in a cohesive whole. Look for another interview with Mr. Pirog (as they say in the NYT) soon.

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Spotlight: Sandy Ewen

I have come to realize that Sandy Ewen is something of a rare bird: the Avant performer who began by playing experimentallly, without any background of performing mainstream music with more typical technique. I was lucky to see her on tour in Nashville, in a small enough space to fully experience her unique use of a pan pedal that moves her prepared guitar sounds across the stereo spectrum. Since moving from Houston to New York she has become a fixture on the improv scene there in a surprisingly short time.

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Modern Guitar Supergroup: Nels Cline and Julian Lage

I was lucky enough to see the first time Cline and Lage performed together. It was in NYC at Le Poisson Rouge for a celebration of Downtown Music Gallery’s 21rst Anniversary

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Since then they have toured and recorded together as a duo. Now, for his second record on Blue Note, Cline is featuring a quartet with Lage as the other guitarist. It will be released April 13th. Here is a teaser:

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Guitar Moderne Festival XIV

The weather outside is frightful but at GM it is so delightful because we have a festival of concerts by modern guitar pioneer David Torn, Jam Pedals founder Jannis Anastasakis, as well as Guitar Moderne Spotlight subjects Nicola L. Hein, Hans Tammen, and Martin Siewert. So snuggle up in your jammies and check them out.

Sun of Goldfinger in Schlachthof, Wels, Austria

David Torn (guitar, effects), Tim Berne (saxophone), Ches Smith (drums)

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