Those of you who have visited this blog know I've been a fan of instrumental hard rock--shred rock or shredding, if you will--since Joe Satriani launched Surfing With the Alien back in the late 80's. This type of music consumed me for a solid decade.
I knew from the first time I heard Sean Ashe play a simple riff three years ago, that his stars were sure to align. Music is in his genes, you see, and I believe it flows through his being as does blood, or breath.
His first single release, Luminescence, gave further validation to his talent and his second single, Hemisphere, became the launch pad for his first full length album, Flux. For those of us who value the skills of the instrumental rock guitarist, it is sublime.
One might try to compare him to other shredders of our time--Marty Friedman, Vinnie Moore, John Petrucci--but Flux incorporates more depth and more layers to the music than mere shredding accomodates. Aptly named, Flux demonstrates the artist's skills ingeniously. I...
We were within a day or two of finishing the record and my week-long break needed to be planned. My plan was no plan. I would stay here at the hotel, go to the Velvet Room occasionally before meeting the lads in London to commence the tour.
One afternoon, I got a call labelled “Charleston, SC” on the caller ID. I answered immediately. It was not Caitlin.
“Nicholas, it’s Billy Farmer. How are you?”
Billy Farmer was made famous as the singer in the wildly popular hard rock band, 2VS. Later, on his own, he remained a successful act onstage and also had begun producing new artists at his studio near Charleston, where he’d moved after marrying his third wife. We were colleagues—friends—and it was good to hear from him.
“Billy! I’m fine, how are you?”
“I’m good, but somewhat in a bind.”
“A bind?” I asked.
“I have a group of young musicians in the studio who are very talented. Extremely tal...
The week went quickly. I spent my days in recording sessions and Cait’s were spent in legal wrangling. She’d somehow found time to have her hair and nails done, and she wore a bit of mascara and blush. She often felt down when we met for dinner—always in the hotel—but since my days were far less grim, I could make her laugh before the meal was over.
Besides the Empire State Building, I showed her the Statue of Liberty and the World Trade Center Memorial. I took her to museums and galleries. She enjoyed the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens and one evening, we had daylight enough to see Central Park. Every night ended at the Velvet Room.
Too soon, it was time for her to leave.
I exited the lift in time to see her checking out at the desk. Crossing the lobby, I stood behind her as she finished with the clerk.
“I hope you’ll come back to stay with us again, Ms. Flynn. We’ve enjoyed serving you.”
I straightened my signature Union Jack tie for the night’s performance and stared at the stranger in the hotel mirror. I didn’t know who I was anymore. Sure, according to PlecMag, I was “British guitar legend, Nicholas Trent,” an independent shred-rock guitarist of some renown, sought after by major rock singers such as my fellow Englishman Billy Farmer. I was currently recording and touring with another British mate, Taylor Grande. I ran my fingers through my collar-length, brown . . . well, greying brown hair. My eyes had faded more to the colour of washed out denim, no longer the aquamarine of my youth, although they still were fringed with thick lashes. I lifted my cheeks with both hands in a mock facelift. When did I get so old?
I shook off the thought with a lopsided grin and a shrug, stood...
The other one is http://may2014ridingthemusic.blogspot.com. In that one, I have posted chapters of my book, The Guitarist. At this point those chapters are drafts. They resemble the book as it exists today, but many changes have occurred, and many more will follow. Check it out.
I want to start by thanking my young guitarist friend, Sean Ashe of the Chicago area, for the name of my contemporary fiction series, Tools of Tone. He used the term in a Facebook post and I to...