Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Introspection, Music, and BOTB Results

(Rodin's 'The Thinker' -- Image from wikimedia Commons


I've been doing some thinking lately.

Nothing Earth-shattering; just some ideas about how best to focus and apply my creative impulses and ways to use my limited free time.  I'm not sure if thinking about creativity can be considered creative thinking, but I'm at least trying to be creative as I think of creating new ways to highlight the things I've created.

Got that?

Anyway --  I've made some decisions and set some goals that I want to accomplish in the upcoming new year.   And since my I consider this blog to be geared toward "the creative outlet" of your humble author, all these decisions and goals will eventually impact what you see here. Again -- nothing major, but looking ahead, I want to give you a heads-up that I have some new things planned for my blog.

I'll give you more details on the results of my introspection as we get closer to 2015.


And speaking of introspection:

http://www.wikiloops.com/backingtrack-jam-28255.phpI recently took a (post-joyful-and-gluttonous-family-feast) free moment on Thanksgiving two weeks ago to download another very cool jam from wikiloops and to lay down a simple rhythm guitar track over it. Then, the next day, I quickly added two more guitars and came up with this piece, I call, "Thanksgiving and Introspection." 

I loved the mix of drums, flute, and keys that "MrAdamOnDrums" had set up in the jam, and found it a very fun thing to play over. I think the result end up being a little spacey and...  um, introspective?

Feel free to click on the link in the title or on the StratoRaptor icon to the left in order to check it out. I'm very thankful for you taking the time today to listen!

BOTB Results 

And speaking of today:

This is December 9th! 

Did you know that 49 years ago, on this day in 1965, A Charlie Brown Christmas made its TV debut on CBS???

I've twice used music from this wonderful Christmas special in previous Battle of the Bands (BOTB) posts -- last year for my first BOTB post, and in my most recent one from last week. There, I pitted two live guitar renditions of "Linus and Lucy" against each other.  Gary Hoey played one and Danny Gatton the other.

I'm glad that both versions received some votes, but I'm also not surprised that Danny Gatton got more.  To my ears, it's easily the better version.

Yes, I gladly admit that Gary Hoey has talent -- he has chops galore and does a rocking, somewhat interesting version -- framing the piece with the Hendrix-esque opening and closing riffs, adding room for the bass and drums to add fills, and offering plenty of wah-wah shredding.  But somehow, it just doesn't quite grab me. It feels too pre-canned, too generic, too artificial. From saying the song is, "by Charlie Brown" (I think you mean "Vince Guaraldi," Gary -- Charlie's a cartoon character) to blandly pointing at the drummer during every break (okay -- yes, that's a video criticism, not an audio one, but it matches the effect I get from the lackluster interpretation), it just seems put-on to me. It's like Gary's not really feeling it -- it's flashy, but he's just going through the motions. No, I can't fault his technical ability and respect him for it, but the delivery still seems blase.

(Danny Gatton -- from DannyGatton.com)
On the other hand, Danny Gatton seems to be riding a wave at a break-neck pace, teetering on the edge of disaster, careening around those frets with heartfelt abandon. It feels like even HE doesn't know what note's coming next.  I picture him smiling with a, "Whoa! Did I just play that?!?!" expression on his face. Maybe that's not the case -- he might have played that ending medley a gazillion times exactly the same way -- but it SOUNDS like it's new and exciting.  It feels to me like he's serving it up with his heart and soul in every measure of the tune. And the playing is exemplary as well, even more-so than Gary Hoey -- Danny's is fast, expressive, and full of nuance, even at blinding speed. Gatton's not just regurgitating the riffs he's drilled into his subconscious through rote repetition -- he's fully in-the-moment, expressing a range of emotion, and having fun with the audience.

Even if Danny Gatton was less proficient on the guitar than Gary Hoey (and I submit Danny is clearly much MORE proficient), I'd still vote for feeling over flash.

So -- just in case you couldn't tell, I'm adding my vote to the Gatton group to seal the win:

Danny Gatton -- 8;  Gary Hoey -- 4.

Thanks for visiting! 

I invite you to come back on the 15th for another Christmas-themed, special Battle of the Bands.


  1. I liked that riff. Very melodic and peaceful.
    Since everyone wants to hear me play, I've finally picked the piece and have been practicing. Will probably make a YouTube video though.

    1. Thanks, Alex!

      And that's great -- I'm looking forward to seeing it!

  2. GgC ~
    Hoo-Wee, man! I really dug that track 'THANKSGIVING AND INTROSPECTION'! So far, I have genuinely enjoyed ALL of your recordings that you've shared with us her on your blog, but this one might be my favorite thus far. It's got that sinewy, twisting moody feeling to it with just a perfect amount of sustain.

    When I was a dumb 15-year-old, I probably would have said something dumb like: "It's not fast enough, it's not loud and rambunctious enough!" But now I say, "That porridge is JUST RIGHT! My understanding has changed a great deal over the last 4 decades when it comes to really developing a more finely-tuned ear and greater appreciation for music of all sorts. And now, although I still occasionally (not often, but occasionally) appreciate hearing something that flies all over the fretboard exhibiting speed-demon gymnastics, I far more enjoy music with lots of nuance and subtle shadings that really draw you in and make you concentrate on the value of every note. In other words, I now prefer stuffs like 'Thanksgiving And Introspection'.

    As you know, I'm a HUGE fan of Danny Gatton (for my money, he was the most interesting guitarist I've ever heard, and I've heard plenty others such as Wes, Burrell, Kessell, Carlton, Metheny, Ponder, Django and so on and so on...). I really dig Hoey on a good number of recordings as well, but Gatton is my man. And it's funny that the Gatton stuffs I would have loved the most when I was 15, are very different from the Gatton stuffs I appreciate most now at 55. Like what he does with 'Harlem Nocturne' (both recordings of it, but especially the one I used in an old BOTB), and the elegant shadings of 'Poinciana' (which I intend to use in a future BOTB), where I find myself hanging on every delicate shift in tone and rhythm.

    You did a masterful job of explaining why you preferred Gatton in this BOTB over Hoey. I tried to express some similar ideas in the comment where I placed my vote, but you being an actual guitar player while I'm merely a guitar fan, you have a more skillful way of expressing what I have to merely stab at with vague terms not rooted in a player's musical foundation.

    I've noticed that this is not the first time you have decided to layer some of your playing over a base track created by "MrAdamOnDrums". Apparently you feel musically drawn to the sorts of musical foundations he likes to create. Also, I love your term "StratoRaptor".

    I hope part of your future announcements regarding this blog's activities going into 2015 will not include a decision that you will be dropping out of BOTB, because I always look forward to the interesting Battles you always put together. If you must go, I understand, as ya gotta live yer own life, but just know you're going to leave a grown man crying in your wake ...you lowdown, dirty whatchamacallit! :-) Ha!

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

    1. Thank you very much, StevieMacDaddy! I'm glad you enjoyed it!

      Yeah -- Gatton was a master who tragically died far too young and far too under-appreciated. But there are a lot of people who really love his playing, and in some ways, his fame continues to grow. And I wasn't really trying to slam Gary Hoey -- he does a fun rendition, with a rocking edge and he can clearly play very well. Maybe it's just me, maybe this was just an off-night, or maybe just an off-song on a great night, but it just doesn't strike me as much more than a throw-off tune for him.

      Yes, I have used quite a few pieces with MrAdamOnDrums from wikiloops -- but all you have to do is look at the total jams posted by each user: Adam is WAY out in front, LOL! He's been on the site forever, and --- as a drummer - -- he often uploads the new "template" that many others will end up adding to. And I also like his playing and the quirky grooves he creates when he adds some keys and stuff to his drum tracks.

      Finally -- I didn't say I was leaving BOTB -- just that changes are in store. :)

      Although, just between you and I (and any other random blog visitor that might read this): Yes, I've truthfully thought about it. It's a post that's fun, but it's not really something where I'm 'creating' anything of my own. I'm just serving up someone else's tunes. And frankly, it's not something that really generates a ton of 'new' traffic to my blog, and I'm even often one of the blogs that's last to get visits and votes from all the other BOTBers.

      But it is fun to do, and I still have plenty of thoughts about tunes to highlight, and I do have at least a small, but dedicated BOTB following (i.e., you) that I'd feel bad about abandoning. So... it's sticking around, but a new blog project will take forefront the rest of the time.

      I'm not cutting -- I'm adding. ;)

  3. Seems like the end of the year always produces some introspection. Another year down. What have I accomplished? What did I want to accomplish? How do I want next year to go? Then we set goals to try and make those things happen. (I admit when I've been in the throes of migraines... my goal was just to see the next day for far too many years, but that isn't NORMAL.)

    Not at all surprised that Gatton won BOTB.

    Listened to your link.... it is very introspective and "spacy" in a good way. Very relaxing music. I can imagine this playing while drinking wine by the fire.

    1. This is true -- a time for retrospection and goals not achieved; introspection and goals yet to be. I'm hoping for positive and creative movement in the coming year. And writing -- much more writing! ;)

      And thank you very much for your kind words! I'm very glad you enjoyed it. Usually, where my music is concerned, there's much more whine than wine:

      "Ohhhhhh, dang it -- I messed up that note!" "Awwwww -- I wished that part had turned out better!" "Whaaaahhh! It never sounds as good as I wanted it to!"


  4. In my mind this BATTLE turned out the way it should. While Hoey sure has style (I'll leave the guitar god comments to you and STMc, because I know when I'm outta my league) I liked what Gatton did with this tune much better.

    As for your music, very, Very, VERY nice. I really enjoyed it and thought it fit the title well.

    1. thank you very much for your kind comments, FAE! I'm glad you enjoyed my track!


Don't be shy -- feel free to comment. I really appreciate your thoughts.