Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Dallas Guitar Show, Part 2

THE ONE THING I didn't expect at the Dallas International Guitar Festival was the continuous music. There were two big outdoor stages, one massive indoor stage, and two demonstration stages. You could check out an amp or guitar clinic one minute, see an incredible player the next and then get blown away by a blues band you've never heard of.

Some guy on the clinic stage playing G&L guitars through a Vox amp is one of the most mind-blowing players you've ever heard, but at the Dallas International Guitar Festival, he's one of many.

Dallas Guitar Festival owner
Jimmy Wallace with his band, The Js.
John Hodge has told me about these gifted players, but you really have to see them to believe it. I am now a huge fan of Johnny Hiland, who has played with just about every big name in Nashville. One second he's chicken pickin', the next he's shredding like a gear head.

I'm now a Lance Lopez fan. He's a Texas blues and boogie player with a phenomenal voice. During the all-star jam on Saturday night, Lopez and Hiland started trading licks and the place came unglued.

The thing that gives an old geezer like me hope is that many of the players were, well, experienced. Case in point were my two favorites, Rick Vito and Rick Derringer. Vito played with Fleetwood Mac in the late 80s, and everybody knows his slide solo on Bog Seger's "Like A Rock." Vito's set Saturday night was done with two Reverend guitars right off the Reverend display inside, and he's proof it's all about tone and how you play, not necessarily how fast. Like everybody at the show, he just wanders around and hangs out at booths when he's not performing, and Sunday morning we had a great conversation with him about Reverend guitars and life itself.
Is that Warren Riley on the right?
Nope, it's Wes Jeans with Lance Lopez.

Derringer defies description. He's 70 plus years old and still cranking it out way too loud, with a killer band to boot. We went nuts when he blasted out "Rock N Roll Hoochie Koo" and I want to be like that when I'm 50 in a couple of years, let alone 70.

Age doesn't matter. If you can play, you can play.

Some of these bands are local acts, and you've never heard of them, and they just blow you away with their tight arrangements, harmony vocals and rock and roll style. Another thing about the festival - there were no overblown and profane acts, nothing you couldn't take the kids to see. Good clean fun never killed nobody, Holmes.

Last but not least, John Hodge and I were floored by young Australian guitar phenom Joe Robinson, who soared on a Gretsch guitar and is way too young to be that dang good.

"It's enough to get you through a year," Hodge said.

He's right. Except I want to go back. Now.

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