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Gillian Whitaker

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Top 10 Blues Guitarists | Stevie Ray Vaughan

Posted by Gillian Whitaker

No best blues guitarist lineup would be complete without a mention of Stevie Ray Vaughan (1954–90). Exploding on to a generally lethargic blues scene in 1983 with his Texas Flood album, Stevie Ray Vaughan administered a high-voltage charge that revitalized the blues with his stunning playing and imagination. 

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Topics: Flame Tree Music, great guitarists, blues guitar,, flame tree pro

Top 10 Guitars | Gibson L-5 & D’Angelico New Yorker

Posted by Gillian Whitaker

This week brings a bonus blog to our series on top guitars. We couldn’t not include the Gibson L-5 and D’Angelico New Yorker, whose elegance, fine design and rich sound put them in a whole category of their own. So here they are, earning their place alongside our top 10.

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Topics: Flame Tree Music, Classic Guitars, flame tree pro

Remembering Leonard Cohen: The Early Years

Posted by Gillian Whitaker

 

The sad news of the death of Leonard Cohen has prompted many to mourn the loss of the folk rock icon, whose most recent album – You Want it Darker – was produced by his son Adam and released just a few weeks ago. Covering such topics as politics, religion and love, his unusual and intelligent songs have always possessed a strangely addictive, dwelling aura, the words threaded with subtle power and wrapped in an unconventional singing voiceThe acclaimed Canadian songwriter's influence can be felt in the works of many other music stars, including the likes of Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Philip Glass, Tom Waits, Rufus Wainwright and U2, and his most famous works – including Hallelujah (1984), Bird on the Wire (1969), Suzanne (1967) and So Long, Marianne (1967) – will no doubt continue to capture the imagination of their listeners. As tributes continue to pour in for the great poet and musician, we take a look back over the early life of this captivating figure, whose beautifully enigmatic songs betray his early days as a cult author and poet

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Topics: rock icons

Composer Biographies | Erik Satie

Posted by Gillian Whitaker

A famously eccentric figure during the Modern era, Erik Satie (1866–1925) was a French composer, pianist and writer. His pieces are at once nostalgic and playful, simplistic and strange, and his own disposition was well-matched to his radical musical style. Sometimes described as ‘anti-emotional’ and ironic, Satie’s work was a response to and escape from German (in particular, Wagnerian and Romantic) models. He is also famous for the unique titles of his works (such as Genuine Limp Preludes (For a Dog)), and his bizarre performance directions (for example, instructions that a section be played ‘as dry as a cuckoo’), as well as his humorous miniatures for piano, where bar lines, time signatures and even keys were removed. Having once referred to himself as someone who ‘measures sounds’, Satie is often identifiable by his strange, unresolved chords; his most well-known works include the 'Gymnopédies’.

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Topics: classical music, Biography

An Evening at the 2015 VMAs | Bieber, Taylor Swift, Kanye, Nicki Minaj & more | Music News

Posted by Gillian Whitaker

The MTV video music awards took place on 30th August, and as usual there were all manner of outfits and personalities sparking excitable conversation on Twitter. What with One Direction's recent announcement about splitting up, there was already a flurry of interest in the music industry's most recent news, but how interested were the people in the music video awards? TV ratings would suggest not very, with an all-time low, so positive reports are choosing to focus on Twitter ratings instead, which by contrast rocketed: Nielsen reports that the VMAs this year was the most-tweeted non-sports program since 2011 (when Nielsen first began tracking Twitter TV activity). The 2014 awards generated 12.6 million tweets, which this year’s far surpassed with more than double that figure: US stats show 21.4 million tweets from users. As usual, the music videos seemed to take a backseat in the night’s affairs, with the drama all happening with the figures onstage. We'll do a quick run-down of the highlights of this year's awards.

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Topics: taylor swift, justin bieber

Queen’s Freddie Mercury | Classic Rock Bands

Posted by Gillian Whitaker

This July will mark 30 years from Queen’s legendary Live Aid performance, which stole the show and was one of their finest moments. We’ve already blogged about Queen’s talented guitarist Brian May, and in today’s blog we’ll be taking a look at the front-man of the ground-breaking group. A true entertainer with an incredible voice, Freddie Mercury has become a rock'n'roll icon. His theatrical and charismatic persona onstage is infamous, and his impressive vocal range is almost unmatched in the history of rock'n'roll. Queen came together in 1971, and the energetic band has its ups and downs but produced a great number of best-selling hits and transformed the face of 70s music. Freddie wrote many of the most well-known Queen songs – 'Killer Queen', 'Bohemian Rhapsody', 'Somebody to Love', 'Don’t Stop Me Now', 'Crazy Little Thing Called Love', 'We Are the Champions' – many of which are instantly recognisable and remain much-loved. Mercury had an affinity with musicality and rhythm that set him apart, with his expressive performances and daring, confident and inventive work – such as combining opera with rock music – making him as much an intriguing character as a great musician.

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Topics: rock icons, 70s music, Queen

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