Tag Archives: Brian Setzer

Brian Setzer Announces New Concert Blu-Ray/CD


On Nov. 4, three-time Grammy-award-winner Brian Setzer will be releasing new concert Blu-ray/CD Rockabilly Riot: Osaka Rocka!, which was filmed on February 18 at Namba Hatch in Osaka, Japan.

Live and loud, the concert encompasses songs from the Gretsch signature artist’s acclaimed 2014 studio album Rockabilly Riot! All Original—a sizzling rockabilly effort from start to finish featuring his trademark twang and fretboard fire. Also included are classic hits from his Stray Cats days, Brian Setzer Orchestra tunes and tracks from his solo albums.

In front of the wildly enthusiastic audience, Setzer and his band—Noah Levy (drums), Kevin McKendree (piano and guitar) and Mark Winchester (bass)—are firing on all cylinders.

“When you look up rockabilly in the dictionary there is a picture of Mark Winchester,” says Setzer. “He grew up slapping the bass and is in a class of his own.  And the relationship with the drummer and the bass player in rockabilly is very unique. The slap bass is a rhythmic sounding instrument, so the drummer has to be very in time with him in order not to sound sloppy.  Noah Levy is a very on-the-beat solid drummer, whereas me, as a guitar player, I push everything while they hold it all in place.  And when you’re talking about the great rockabilly piano players, it’s a very short list, and Kevin McKendree is on it.  And he also plays guitar incredibly well.

“We all just complement each other.”

Setzer was also complimentary of the Osaka audience.

“This is the first time we’ve recorded the Rockabilly Riot on film,” he offered.  “And also, just like in America, the cities differ in Japan.  The Osaka fans are noted for generally being a very loyal and energetic audience.  As you’ll see from the show, the Osaka fans are die-hard and know every single song and applaud after guitar solos, and even sing along to songs that I typically don’t see in other cities.”

Setzer and his 19-piece Brian Setzer Orchestra will visit 32 cities beginning Saturday, Nov. 12 in Appleton and make stops in Nashville, Los Angeles and San Francisco, among others (full itinerary here). Get your tickets to their 13th annual “Christmas Rocks! Tour,” presented by SiriusXM at www.briansetzer.com.

You can also watch a teaser video clip below from the upcoming live concert release, and place your pre-order at www.BrianSetzer.com.

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Guitar Player Tests Out a G6120 Brian Setzer Nashville


Guitar Player‘s Michael Molenda tested out a Gretsch G6120 Brian Setzer Nashville for the magazine’s February issue.

In the review, Molenda runs through the instrument’s construction, control switches, pickups, playability and tones.

“No matter what sound you’re rocking, string-to-string articulation is exceptional. The Nashville may look like a retro, rockabilly twang machine— and it is—but it’s also a guitar that can product beautiful jazz timbres, blitzkrieg-ing punk sounds, hefty classic-rock tones, and even some funky, R&B style skanks.”

Molenda wrapped up his stellar review with this:

“If I didn’t need food, sleep, or gainful employment, I could play this thing 24/7 and be a very happy camper. The only bummer about today’s Gretsches is that they’re expensive little jewels. But if you can save up the bucks, these retro beauties bleed rock and roll. The G6120 Brian Setzer Nashville ups that ante even further by delivering modern, vintage, and versatile tones with attitude to burn.”

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What Inspired the Lone Bellow’s Brian Elmquist to Play Guitar?


Brooklyn-based indie folk rock trio the Lone Bellow started off 2015 with the release of sophomore album Then Came the Morning.

Having written more than 40 songs while out on the road touring, the band teamed with the National guitarist Aaron Dessner on the recording effort, spending two weeks at Dreamland in upstate New York, a nineteenth-century church that had been converted into a homey studio. There, the singers found the space to inspire the emotional gravity necessary for the material and the acoustics they were looking for.

“These are true stories,” says guitarist Brian Elmquist. “These aren’t things we made up. We tried to write some songs that had nothing to do with our personal stories, but we just didn’t respond to them. But we’re best buds, so we know each others’ personal stuff and trust each other to figure out what needs to be said and how to say it.”

For instance, Elmquist wrote “Call to War” about his own struggles during his twenties, but gave the song to Kanene Pipkin to sing on the album.

“The content is painful and brutal, but the imagery, the vocals, they build something delicate and ethereal,” she said. “That kind of contrast illuminates the true beauty and power of a song.”

When Gretsch caught up with Elmquist, however, we enjoyed hearing about a happier memory from his youth.

“So for Christmas my dad wanted to get me a guitar because I had been talking about it and I had picked up other people’s guitars,” recalled Elmquist. “He told me he would buy me a guitar for Christmas but I was like, ‘No I want a Nintendo,’ or some games or some clothes or shoes or something stupid. Right after that,  I knew there was a guitar upstairs in the attic so I went up in the attic and got him to help me restring.

“But the reason I wanted to (play) was I watched Slash play the lead in ‘November Rain’ and that was the first thing I sat in front of and learned how to play every note. I couldn’t play it for real until I was in my 20s, but him standing on that piano at the end of ‘November Rain’ is just … and like when the train is coming by. Who wouldn’t want to play music?”

Elmquist also explains what turned him on to Gretsch guitars, and reveals that “Heaven Don’t Call Me Home” was a tribute to the rockabilly style of Brian Setzer.

Watch the full package below.

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Brian Setzer Discusses his Signature Gretsch Hot Rod Models


What made the legendary Brian Setzer decide to put TV Jones Pickups in his 2015 Hot Rod signature Gretsch models?

Turns out it was a sly move by his guitar tech.

In our exclusive video below, Setzer tells that story and also explains a few of his other choices.

Check it out, and shop the Brian Setzer Hot Rod,—available in Harbor Blue (shown in the video), Tuxedo Black, Blonde, Green Sparkle and Highland Green here!

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Brian Setzer to Release New Christmas Album


Brian Setzer. Photo by Russ Harrington

On Oct. 16, Gretsch signature artists Brian Setzer and the Brian Setzer Orchestra will release Rockin’ Rudolph, their first studio Christmas album in 10 years.

The 18-piece band will support the album with a major concert run—the “12th Annual Christmas Rocks! Tour”—  delivering the rocking and colorful holiday extravaganza they are known for.

Additionally, fans will have the opportunity to purchase a limited edition, numbered deluxe package of the album via PledgeMusic.com.

“It’s been about 10 years since I made a Christmas record,” said Setzer. “It [Christmas music] just seems to get more popular every year. They’re classic songs and you wonder after a couple records how many of them are left. Once you dig in you find, wow! I’ve haven’t done ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,’ you know. I’ve never done ‘Here Comes Santa Claus!’ Ones that everyone knows and are still out there. These songs are great songs. It doesn’t matter if they’re holiday songs or when they were written, they’re just great songs.

“So the trick is to make them sound hip. Some of them are eternally hip, you know, so you don’t have to do too much.”

Produced by Peter Collins (Rush, Bon Jovi, Alice Cooper, etc.) and recorded in both Nashville and Hollywood, the 12-track effort includes highlights such as “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” “Yabba-Dabba Yuletide,” and “Rockabilly Rudolph,” among other notable Christmas classic tunes with Setzer’s trademark guitar work and vocal stylings paired with the Brian Setzer Orchestra’s rockin’ big-band horn arrangements.

Watch a short sizzle video for Rockin’ Rudolph below and visit BrianSetzer.com for additional album details.

The Brian Setzer Orchestra Rockin' Rudolph from Surfdog Records on Vimeo.

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