Sunday, July 31, 2011

Mason Williams - Classical Gas



So I bought a guitar. It is about time right?

It was something I have always been meaning to do but never got around to it. All this time I have been responsible, what with school and work. The guitar was something that needed to happen, it was like a piece of my soul that was just out of reach this whole time, I was admiring music from a far but never being a part of it, never touching it with my hands, only my ears, and now… now everything is different.

Like anything and everything artistic in this world I hold contempt for those who think someone else can teach them to be creative, like for example, oh I don’t know, writing? Don’t get me wrong when it comes to basic use and technique anything artistic can be taught to you by another, but the creative side, that has to come from you, it is like expecting someone else to teach you how to have a identity of your own, it will never work.

So how does Colin Kelly approaching teaching himself the guitar, the same way Colin Kelly approaches every challenge in life, boldly; and by boldly I mean doing things the hard way. What song should I try to learn first? Deep Purple – Smoke on the Water? Forget that, that’s what everyone else does. I’m trying to learn Mason Williams – Classical Gas.

As you can imagine at after just over a month of practicing I am unable to do a great rendition of the classic guitar piece, but the fact I can play the song through its entirety must be a pretty good start.

I tried to show my brother Niall what I could play of Classic Gas, as well as I could anyway, and he could not identify it. This probably had something to do with my limited ability to play the instrument, but he was under the impression I was playing something, somewhat obscure, even after it was revealed to him that is was Classical Gas. Who doesn’t know the opening rift of Classical Gas? I suspect Niall was trying to suggest that my guitar playing was not a factor in him being unable to identify the song, but still I’m surprised someone as close to me as my brother would not have been able to identify Classical Gas in an instant, I guess I forget not everyone listens to the same song list on random as I do; and that’s why there’s the Music in Review.

If you ask someone who the greatest guitarist are in history the list usually contains, Jimmi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, and Eric Clapton, but it should probably contain great classical guitarist too like Mason Williams and... see even I cannot name another one. A good comparison would be to ask someone who the greatest song writers ever are, and the list usually contains the likes of Bob Dylan, Paul McCarthy, and Neil Young, they never think to mention Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig Van Beethoven, or Johan Sebastian Bach. Get what I’m saying? It would pain my heart to think great classical guitarist become forgotten from our casual musical minds.

Classic Gas is one of my favourite guitar songs, and if you somehow dodged this song your entire life and this is your first time hearing it, you’re welcome.

Unit next month, keep on rocking in the free world.

- Colin Kelly

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Rebel Meets Rebel - Cowboys Do More Dope



The Calgary Stampede is upon my doorstep so I might as well talk about some cowboy music. As a rock and roll guy my interest stems from that genre more so than any other, so the best gateway to go from rock to country is bands like The Drive by Truckers, who are basically a country/rock group. I have a lot of metal fans who read my music in review and frankly I have the perfect metal/country group to suggest to them, Rebel Meets Rebel.

Back in the golden age of working at Ceili’s Irish Pub my good friend Gary turned me onto some really good music, namely Black Label Society, but also Rebel Meets Rebel, so as thanks goes, thank you Gary Henderson, you always rocked.

Rebel Meets Rebels defined themselves as a crossover project of American heavy metal / outlaw country, and is a team up of metal guitarist Dimebag Darrell and outlaw country singer David Allan Coe, both rebels in their own right. Fans of Pantera will immediately enjoy the presence of Dimebag Darrell.

Seems to be that Darrell was always a big fan of David Allan Coe, and outlaw country music, which does explain the whole “cowboys from hell,” theme Pantera had going for them their entire career. Admittedly I was never a fan of Pantera, and I never knew who David Allan Coe was before I was introduced to Rebel Meets Rebel so it was quite the experience hearing them for the first time. It was made all the more interesting for me since it was the first time I truly appreciated Dimebag Darrell’s talent, might have been one of those metal mess moments I talked about last month’s Flaw review, I don’t know.

Furthermore it is always interesting to see styles clash. When it works it is a wonderful thing, a combination of two sounds typically thought to be very different coming together and proving that good music really knows no boundaries. Rebel Meets Rebel is good but also fun, it’s fun to hear a country legend sing about his gambling debts with a metal touch to it, and speaking of fun this month’s song is “Cowboys do more dope (than Rock and Rollers).” I grew up in a small town where I was one of the “Rock and Rollers,” but unlike other “Rock and Rollers,” I actually got along with many of the “Cowboys,” and I got to tell you, it’s was a tight race.

When I think of the Calgary Stampede I think not so much about the western culture of my fine city but more about the big party that consumes the downtown, you know, where I live. So a song about Cowboy’s partying like rock stars, seems very, very appropriate to me. As an added bonus the song is awesome.

Have fun at the Stampede folks, or don’t.

Until later this month keep on rocking in the free world.

- Colin Kelly