I recently shared a bill here in Nashville with Dan Phelps and was intrigued by his looping setup. He gave me a quick tour after the gig but went into much more detail during his clinic at Full Sail in Florida. Looping fans will enjoy how the elegance of his simple approach permits a wide variety of sounds.
This year’s winter NAMM was INSANE! Thursday was as crowded as a typical Saturday and it escalated from there. The noise floor was non-stop jet-engine level. I came home with ears ringing and NAMMthrax. Was it worth it? You bet. Three full days was barely enough to cover all the cool stuff. It opened with a terrific concert band doing a modern composition that incorporated either recorded or live recitations from young people (I couldn’t see from my vantage point) about the difficulties of growing up. This boded well for a forward-thinking show and, in fact, there were ample examples of manufacturers leaving the traditional behind to explore new territory.
Other than the upward trajectory of the business evidenced by the crowd, the only trend I noticed was the invasion of the pedal market by Greece and Brazil. As usual, NAMM often stands for “Not Available, Maybe May,” so stay tuned to the manufactures’ sites and guitarmoderne.com for updates, and, if you would like to hear me talk about this year’s winter NAMM, check out Matt Wakeling’s Guitar Speak podcast featuring yours truly.
We first interviewed Dan Phelps three years after the release of Modular, his collaboration with drummer Matt Chamberlain and bassist Viktor Krauss. His fourth release, Arc, continues his er, arc, of making records that employ great drummers (in this case, the legendary Jim Keltner), great guitar tones and technique, and an exemplary command of both live and studio effects. It seemed like a good time to pay Phelps another visit, this time for a wide-ranging discussion about his new record and his awesome gear.
Thanks to Geary Yealton at Electronic Musician for this great rig rundown with David Torn. I couldn’t embed it so click the link.
Seattle guitarist Dan Phelps’ recorded output is minimal but choice. Modular, a record with the sometime Bill Frisell rhythm section of Viktor Krauss (bass) and drummer Matt Chamberlain is a feast of textures and rhythms, while his more recent solo EP offering, Death Under Rainbows, explores Torn-like distortion along with Phelps’ unique take on twang. That is pretty much it, but the music was intriguing enough to make me seek him out.