So last night I played a pretty cool venue in Dallas call the Rustic. It's located in uptown, which means that it is trendy, mildly expensive, and full of people much more attractive and classy than me, which is of course not saying a whole lot. Regardless it was a great place to play despite the inclement weather: we wound up dominating conversations at tables close to the stage inside instead of serenading hundreds of people outside on the patio.
I had a great time, because I got to play with a good friend of mine, Gary Kyle. I've known Gary for about six years. He hired me to play guitar when I moved to Denton in 2012, apparently not perceptive enough at the time to notice that I had absolutely no understanding or experience with country music. As an ignorant rock musician, I just went to the audition making sure that I had learned the songs, showed up on time, and was easy to work with. I got the job, and played for him for about three years until I left to focus on the studio. I still play with him from time to time whenever he is close by.
Gary is one of the hardest working musicians I have ever met. He has a relentless touring schedule, but still prioritizes being a hands on husband and father of six. His life revolves around music and people, and it's been great to work with him in a number of capacities: as a touring guitarist, session musician, co-engineer for his latest album, and as an engineer on other music he has produced at the studio. It's all a result of one thing that I have learned that has expanded my musicianship and increased my profitability: being willing to work with people in different styles of music.
Like I said, anyone who listens to me play can tell after about 30 seconds that I'm not a true country guitar player. I am a self taught musician who loves to play and work with talented people, pretty much no matter what the genre is. It's made me a better musician, engineer, and producer. Seeing music from someone else's perspective can be a very enriching and enlightening experience. What if we applied that to other forms of communication, hmm?
This interest of mine in being able to work in all sorts of genres has also directed purchases of equipment over the last 5 to 10 years. Last night my set up included the Friedman Dirty Shirley Mini and matching cabinet. It's one of the best sounding amplifiers I have ever owned, and it's extremely versatile: it will do blues, country, and hard rock. It's very pristine, as well as quiet, which is why it gets a lot of use in the studio as well. This amplifier is all over the latest album by Justin Ross, along with a number of my guitars.
Last night at The Rustic I was happy with my tone even though the monitoring situation was not ideal. I could hear well enough and even though I hadn't played with Gary in a while I feel like I slipped back into a familiar role: making music with friends made through music.
Be sure to catch Gary on tour if you can, he's really great. Heck, you might even catch me as well.