Checkered Trousers and Guitar Solos: Randy Burton’s “Players and Pickers”

My JOMC 713 classmate Randy Burton has written a rockin’ blog on guitar-playing styles called “Players and Pickers.”

Randy’s Blog

On his About page, Randy lists his credentials: he is a self-taught guitar player and picker, with over 30 years of experience in diverse genres: “rock, blues, folk, and jazz styles.” He has played in a number of bands over the years, including playing lead guitar for a blues-rock band called “The Trousers,” who released a self-titled CD in 1997.

I named this post “Checkered Trousers” because when I listened to a couple of songs from The Trousers I was struck by the comfortable, laid-back style, and also the diversity of genres: like a well-worn pair of checkered trousers…

Like other students in JOMC 713, Randy wrote about how he evaluates websites. I agreed with his guidelines, in which he mentioned useful content, appealing design elements, and active use. On the last point, I liked this quote:

There should be evidence of use from other viewers; if there is a bulletin board or forum and only a few people have visited, then the value of the site is questionable.

Evidence of use could include comments, an active discussion board, or links or pingbacks from other bloggers.

I also like how Randy lets you know which websites are trying to sell you some kind of instructional program, like many guitar sites are, versus which others are completely free.

Keep up the good work, Randy!

Are Guitar Solos Dead?

In Randy’s post for last’s Friday’s best and worst links, he links as the best site a blog called “Guitar Licks.”

I enjoyed the post in Guitar Licks called “Is the Guitar Solo Dead?” The post says guitar solos seemed to have “skipped a generation,” as they are completely absent from today’s Top 40. I agree that there is a dearth of good guitar solos in today’s music, even in what passes for rock.

However, I disagree when the author blames the death of the guitar solo on the advent of grunge and alternative rock in the 90’s.

Myles Kennedy and Mark Tremonti of Alter Bridge

Myles Kennedy and Mark Tremonti of Alter Bridge

Some not-quite-top-40 bands and guitarists out there –including those influenced by grunge — are producing excellent-quality guitar solos! One example is Mark Tremonti of Alter Bridge (see picture at left).

Since Mark and the other former members of Creed let singer Scott Stapp go and acquired the more versatile Myles Kennedy, Tremonti has introduced a number of hard-hitting guitar solos into his songs. For example, listen to “Open Your Eyes” on YouTube.

An added benefit is that Kennedy is a stronger guitar player than Stapp, which leads to some better support for Tremonti.

2 Responses to Checkered Trousers and Guitar Solos: Randy Burton’s “Players and Pickers”

  1. Kirk Hathway says:

    THis is a Post on Ramsey’s blog, also posted on Descriptive Eye
    Descriptive Eye’s Inquiry of creativity in assigned student blogs, begins with Bobby Ramsey’s Socratic Questions. Ramsey’s Socratic Questions can be to the creative process what water is to a seed: the initiating material that launches growth and exploration.

    Socratic Questions jumps down the rabbit hole to inquire about learning and especially to question contemporary learning in the face of of western thought, the manners of which are brought to the table largely by Greek philosophers. Each of Ramsey’s posts are like facets on a diamond, glistening by themselves and, together, readers get a sense Socratic Questions is creating a precious gem. Ramsey’s portrayal of education–what it is, what is can be–may seem to be randomly lifting topics out of nowhere, but his own biography acknowledges exposure to ADHD and mathematics (topics in two recent posts). He is, as the cliche for writing goes, “writing what he knows.”

    When I consider my own creative process in the making of a play, taking a photograph, or writing a poem, I have always shared with people two things: one, I have said that being creative for me is dropping into a stream that is more powerful and complex than me and the only way I can manage it is to flow with it more than fight against it; and two, creativity is taking everything you know at any one moment and applying it to the thing you are making or doing at the moment.

    Bobby Ramsey, to me, seems to be matching my pace in both these ideas. He draws from a broad library of reference, and I feel I am behind him in a reference section as he grabbing one book after another and opening it to pages that are relevant to his discussions.

    On a recent post about Michael Phelps, he wrote: “This morning I enjoyed an article on swimmer Michael Phelps from the Edge Foundation. It is titled ‘Michael Phelps is not an Attention Deficit.’

    His mother says the following about Michael’s childhood:

    “In kindergarten I was told by his teacher, ‘Michael can’t sit still, Michael can’t be quiet, Michael can’t focus.’ I said, maybe he’s bored. The teacher said that was impossible. “He’s not gifted,” came back the reply.”

    Not gifted! Let’s look at what really makes Michael Phelps thrive in competition.”

    And here Ramsey goes into dissecting routine and examining inspiration.

    This is Socratic Questions making the laps, being produced in the hands of Bobby Ramsey like a canvas by Jackson Pollack, and so when the hurdles of the assignment is thrown on his track, and he must, for class, produce posts that review other blogs, does he hold true to his artist’s inspirations?

    Well, in his review of Randy Burton’s “Players and Pickers,” Ramsey creatively titles his piece “Checkered Trousers,” and then goes on to explain his process for coming up with that title. No doubt, he is being creative here, but considering the powerful discussion Bobby offers in a post on math educations, I am a little disappointed that Ramsey hasn’t altered more of his analysis to fit his theme. For instance, with Burton’s claim to be self-taught, and my sense of being behind Ramsey in the reference section, I just know that Bobby has something meaningful to say about self-education, about being self-taught. Yes, Ramsey’s site seems a piece of artwork, the diamond being created from the rough, but a blog on guitar styles does not have to be a barrier for Bobby mission but a hurdle he can easily master and use for his benefit.

    I assume that it won’t be too long before he post something here and on his site ammending this interesting post. As a fan of Ramsey’s writing and mind, I added my own two bits to his discussion on ADHD and Phelps this morning:

    How appropriate for Phelps, what Thoreau says of education: “What does education often do? It makes a straight-cut ditch of a free, meandering brook.” This, of course, reverbs in Einstein: “Education is what is remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.”

    Truly, it feels like Bobby Ramsey is teaching us to revive education, and I encourage him to stay focused on that mission, the product of his creative endeavor, even through the heat of classroom assignments.

    – posted here and to Ramsey’s site: 10/9/08 8:00 a.m. EST

  2. Hi, the whole thing is going sound here and ofcourse every one is sharing facts, that’s genuinely good, keep up writing.

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