Tag Archives: Brian Setzer

Five Great Gretsch Rock Albums of the 1980s

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Gretsch electric guitars loomed large in the 1950s with original-era rock ‘n’ roll and rockabilly; even larger in the 1960s with the British Invasion. They were certainly still around during the musically tumultuous 1970s, although you did have to look a little harder. And then the 1980s arrived.

The 1980s. That was the decade when Gretsch guitars came roaring back in ways both traditional and unexpected, as post-punk, new wave, the rockabilly revival and other fast-proliferating subgenres blasted their way to the forefront of popular music on both sides of the Atlantic. Below, in chronological order, are five fine albums you can thank for that happy development. And we’re not just talking about a Gretsch guitar appearing on a song or two—we’re talking about entire albums that are scorching, swinging, soaring and singing examples of Gretsch guitar artistry all the way through from first track to last …
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Eight Great Gretsch Album Covers

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Gretsch guitars are fabulous-looking instruments. Always have been. So it’s no surprise that they often made their way onto the album covers of those who played them and put them to such great use. Here then, in no particular chronological order, are eight fine album covers notable for being graced with great Gretsch guitars:

1. A Session With Chet Atkins (Chet Atkins, 1961)

There are only about a bazillion Chet Atkins albums that feature a Gretsch guitar on the cover, usually in the hands of the master himself, and all of them look fabulous. So this one is kind of a tough call.

After much consideration, we’re going with the 1961 re-issue of 1954’s A Session With Chet Atkins because it must be the Gretsch-iest original-era album cover ever. The 1954 original cover somewhat somberly pictured Atkins himself, and while the ’61 re-issue cover doesn’t, what it does picture is three—count ’em, three—Gretsch guitars: a Tennessean, a Duo Jet and a 6120; the latter locked in the joyous embrace of a sultry brunette. Come to think of it, 1955’s Chet Atkins in Three Dimensions also has three Gretsch guitars on the cover, but since none of them are locked in the joyous embrace of a sultry brunette, A Session With Chet Atkins gets the nod here.

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Brian Setzer Announces Three-Night Run At The Hollywood Bowl

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Three-time Grammy-winner Brian Setzer recently announced a history-making run at the Hollywood Bowl for three consecutive nights this September.

For the first time ever, his 18-piece Brian Setzer Orchestra will be joined by the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra Sept. 14-16.

For more information, visit hollywoodbowl.com.

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Watch Setzer Rock CMA Country Christmas Special

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Rockabilly king Brian Setzer partnered with country superstar Brad Paisley last night on the CMA Country Christmas Special for a very upbeat “Sleigh Ride.” Enjoy …

Setzer, who was nominated earlier this week for a Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental Album for Setzer Goes Instru-MENTAL!, can also be caught live in action during his current Rockabilly Riot! tour. Tour info here.

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Brian Setzer Discusses Gear, Instrumental Album with Guitar Aficionado

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King of rockabilly Brian Setzer recently chatted with Guitar Aficionado about his instrumental masterpiece Setzer Goes Instru-Mental and all the gear he used to record it.

“I didn’t start off wanting to do a purely instrumental record,” Setzer tells Guitar Aficionado. “When I started writing songs for this record, I quickly completed six or seven songs with vocals. All of a sudden, I started fooling around with the melody chords that became the foundation for my version of ‘Blue Moon of Kentucky.’”

“Blue Moon of Kentucky” is the opening track on the album, which was released in April 2011. It is one of a handful of covers featured on the record, complementing Setzer’s masterful rockabilly/jazz-infused originals.

Setzer recorded the tracks almost entirely on his signature model Gretsch and Gretsch Hot Rod guitar, and tells the magazine that the Gretsch tone can’t be beat.

“For the rockin’ stuff, I’ve never been able to beat that Gretsch tone,” he told Guitar Aficionado. “I bought my first Gretsch 6120 when I was a kid. When I plugged it into my Bassman amp I went, ‘There it is!’ That was the sound I was looking for.’”

Read the entire interview on GuitarAficionado.com, and visit Brian Setzer’s website here.

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