Author Archives: MDuffy

Watch the Lone Bellow Perform ‘Take My Love’ on Conan


The Lone BellowCelebrating the release of latest album Then Came the Morning, the Lone Bellow recently appeared on Conan to perform the single “Take My Love.”

The electrified song shows the band at their most heartfelt, with frontman Zach Williams putting his all into the vocals and guitarist Brian Elmquist getting killer tone out of his Gretsch Black Falcon.

The sophomore effort was produced by the National’s Aaron Dessner, who helped craft a record that is moodier and even more lush than Lone Bellow’s 2013 self-titled debut, and “Take My Love” is a great example of that direction.

Watch the Lone Bellow in action below.

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Top 5 Gretsch Road Trip Songs


Hopefully you have at least one road trip planned for the summer. And whether you’re driving in a Toyota Prius or a ’64 Chevy Impala, a solid soundtrack is a must.  It’s an important list, one that requires the requisite consideration to match the tempo of the ride and the terrain of the pavement.

We take our road trip playlists seriously.  After all, conversation with your fellow riders can only last so long.

So as a public service, we’ve pinpointed five road trip songs that will get your list started on the right foot, errr… wheel.

“Drive My Car” – The Beatles

Coming off the British version of1965’s Rubber Soul, the story goes that “Drive My Car” grew from the Beatles’ first recording session that extended past midnight, as Paul McCartney and George Harrison put together the basic rhythm.

“Drive My Car” features a thumping bottom end that is great for rolling down the windows and revving the engine, with an R&B feel that calls to mind the bass-heavy tracks that came out of Memphis’s Stax Records.

“Beep, Beep! Beep, Beep! Yeah!” indeed.

“Rebel Rouser” – Duane Eddy

The king of twang could have several entries on our playlist, with his signature guitar sound shining so bright on every track he released.  But Eddy’s “Rebel Rouser” has a rambling groove that is well-suited to flat country roads.  The instrumental hit is accentuated with bleats from a saxophone as it winds down, adding a car chase feel to the tune.

But don’t accelerate too fast.  It’s best to just take in the scenery when Eddy is doing his thing.

Highway to Hell – AC/DC

Written by brothers Angus and Malcolm Young and the late Bon Scott, “Highway to Hell” is a paean to the rigors of touring and life on the road with “no stop signs/speed limit.”

The riff is instantly recognizable and makes you want to put the pedal to the metal, as it sears through the brain and has the ability to instantly conjure an adrenaline rush.  Now, this fact might also make the song a dangerous one to drive with, but sometimes you need to drive fast and take chances.

Just watch out for the speed traps.

“Tush” – ZZ Top

Whether you’re going to Dallas, Texas, or Hollywood, “Tush” fits the bill.  The opening riff immediately commands the listener to pull on their sunglasses and secure their cowboy hat.  The original recording was found on Fandango and was ZZ Top’s first Top 20 single, with good reason.

Billy Gibbons takes two turns with searing slide guitar solos, and Dusty Hill’s strong bassline rumbles just as much as the engine.  The Texas trio’s hit is definitely at home when traversing the Lone Star State, but there is certainly room for a lot of “Tush” on the Sunset Strip.

“Long May You Run” – Neil Young

“Long May You Run” is an homage to Young’s beloved first car, a hearse that was known as “Mort.”  Seriously.

But this hearse has a lot of historical significance.  It was the vehicle that carted Young and his original band around Canada.  It broke down in the early 1960s in Blind River, Ont., but that spawned Mort’s successor, another hearse named “Mort Two” which ended up carrying him from Toronto to Los Angeles.  There, Young met Stephen Stills and eventually formed Buffalo Springfield.

So long may you run, Mort, in that scrapyard in the sky.  We’ll appreciate the song you inspired with our wheels firmly on the pavement.

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Ken Yokoyama Debuts New Video for ‘I Won’t Turn Off My Radio’


Ken YokoyamaJapanese punk icon Ken Yokoyama recently dropped a video for the track “I Won’t Turn Off My Radio” a rocking song with his trademark high-speed guitars and shout-along choruses.

In the clip, Yokoyama shines in the spotlight while wielding a beautiful Gretsch White Falcon.

Watch the video below and click here for more information on Yokoyama.

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Cassadee Pope Shines at Country Summer


The Country Summer festival in Santa Rosa, Calif., got off to a big-time start on Saturday with Cassadee Pope’s high-voltage set.

The Season 3 winner of NBC’s The Voice has been taking the country world by storm with a platinum debut record and a billing at the 2015 edition of Stagecoach, and she continued that momentum at the Sonoma Country Fairgrounds.

From the start of her 1:30 p.m. slot, Pope had the enthusiastic audience at rapt attention, both with her unbelievable singing ability and her stage presence.

Diving into smash solo album Frame by Frame, Pope opened with “I Wish I Could Break Your Heart” and “Champagne,” which had Pope strutting up and down the catwalk that reached out into the crowd as she showcased her incredible range.

She also added a little bit of a snarl on the track “Proved You Wrong,” which she originally wrote when she was fronting her Florida pop-punk band Hey Monday several years ago. The track sounds like a breakup lament, with heavy relationship imagery, but it is actually about the obstacles she’s faced in the music industry.

Pope also featured “This Car,” “Easier to Lie” and “Everybody Sings” from Frame by Frame, which was produced by Dann Huff, another musician who made the jump from rock to country, having worked with artists ranging from Megadeth to Faith Hill.

In addition, she pulled out two bonus tracks that appeared on Frame by Frame’s deluxe edition – the chunky riff-driven “Cinematic” and “Edge of a Thunderstorm.”

To pay homage to a few classic rockers, the West Palm Beach, Fla., native turned in a killer cover of the Eagles’ “Hotel California” and a joyous version of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ “I Won’t Back Down.”

As uptempo as Pope’s catolog is, she also shined in a poignant moment during the song “11,” which she explained was the most personal she’s ever written. Dealing with her parents’ divorce at the age of 11, one could tell that Pope gets emotional every time she sings it.

At several points during her performance, Pope was generous with those who sat up front and held up things in the hopes of getting an autograph. She also was successful in getting people to stand and dance along to her pop- and rock- influenced country tunes.

But Pope’s voice was a real stunner, showing range and passion no matter the pace of the songs.

Judging by the enthusiasm of the crowd, the country world is welcoming Pope with open arms.

Guitarist Jim McGorman on his Gretsch White Falcon alongside Cassadee Pope.

Jim McGorman on his Gretsch White Falcon.

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Gary Allan Pulls Out Classics, New Single at Country Summer


With a new single out called “Hangover Tonight” burning up the airwaves, it was exciting to see Gary Allan take the main stage at the Country Summer music festival in Santa Rosa, Calif., on Friday evening.

And while he did play that new Motown-influenced gem, Allan also delivered a slew of hits, entrancing a fiery crowd that stood singing along every word before him.

Backed by an ace band that included Ryan Warner and stalwart sidemen Jaime Hanna, who was conspicuously wearing his trademark kilt, Allan’s “It Ain’t the Whiskey” and “It Would Be You,” which is the title track off his hit 1998 album, continued the dive into his back catalog.

Donning a Gretsch Falcon from the Custom Shop, Allan also pulled out “Right Where I Need to Be” from the 1999 offering, Smoke Rings in the Dark.

And while all the classics caused a frenzy in the capacity crowd, “Hangover Tonight” also was a highlight, as Allan’s unmistakable voice paired well with the funky jam.

“Hell with being sober, I want to hang over tonight,” Allan sang, causing many watching to swoon.

For a guy who has a ton of chart-busting hits already under his belt, it’s exciting to wonder what Allan next has in store for his fans.

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