Tag Archives: review

Streamliner Center Block Jr. Wins ‘Guitar World’ Gold

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The new Gretsch Streamliner Center Block Jr. Double Cutaway with Bigsby won Gold in Guitar World magazine’s July issue.

“I can’t even begin to express how much fun the G2655T is to play,” wrote reviewer Paul Riaro. “Out of the box the guitar is setup perfectly, with low action and strings that possess a springy feel, much in part to the Bigsby licensed B50 vibrato.  I found the Bigsby most effective when I used it for slight half-to-whole step vibrato wiggle. As long as you’re not whammy aggressive, the guitar will stay in tune. Also, the  snugly thin profile of the nato neck allowed me to sail across the fretboard.

“The Broad’Tron pickups are noticeably darker sounding with plenty of output, pushing forth deep lows, growly midranges and cutting highs, and sound deliciously smooth when confronted with distortion.”

Read the full review and see a video demonstration over at guitarworld.com.

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Jamestown Revival Spreads Their Movement at Stagecoach

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“Jamestown Revival is more than music.  It’s an idea, and it’s a movement.  It’s grass roots, and it’s back porch.  Our strength is in numbers, but our individuality is ever present.  We appreciate the simpler things, and we know where we came from.  We value timelessness over trendiness, and quality over quantity.  We are Revivalists…”

So reads the band’s description on their YouTube page, and during a nearly hour-long midday set at Stagecoach’s Palomino Stage on Saturday, Jamestown Revival proved that their blend of southern country, Americana and rock is stirring a movement.

“Wow.” “Killing it.”  “Unreal.”

Those were just a few examples of the praise that quickly found its way to the twitter universe, along with some live streams on Periscope.

Zach Chance and Jonathan Clay became friends at age 14 in their hometown of Magnolia, Texas.  By 15, they had written their first song together, but it wasn’t until years later when the then-college roommates got serious about making music as a duo.  But eventually, while spending time on Texas ranch land owned by Clay’s family, the pair sat out on an old back porch with guitar and keyboard and started to write music.

“We wrote them with a different mindset, with a duo mindset, and they were built around harmony and they just had a different vibe. That was really the start of Jamestown. It started that day,” Clay said in an interview with windupmagazine.com.

The childhood friends borrowed their band name from the Jamestown settlement in Virginia, with the idea in mind to leave behind the old and head out on an adventure. (They also note Credence Clearwater Revival as a huge influence.) So they took their dream and headed west to Los Angeles, where they found inspiration for the songs that appear on debut album Utah.

Its track “California (Cast Iron Soul)” earned an immediate and hearty reaction from the audience, which led quickly to a clap, sing and stomp-along from the Stagecoach crowd.

California, I don’t even know you.
You’ve taken me away from home.
Old Magnolia I’ll never get over you.
The feelings running straight to my bones.
Someday I’ll be coming home.
Someday I’ll be coming home.
With a cast iron soul.

The boys did return home, or close to it, anyhow.  After recording Utah, (named after the cabin in Utah’s Wasatch mountains where they made the album), JR would eventually opt to move to Austin, about 200 miles away from Magnolia.

JR also paid tribute to home during their Stagecoach set with a “song they wrote about the good ol’ boys” called  “Head On” that saw them working the stage and at times, sharing a mic to blend their voices, which only added to the communal sense of the performance.

Another set highlight included a shout-out to Merle Haggard as JR gave a poignant cover of “Silver Wings.”

It was an overall emotive and awe-inspiring performance, and we’re betting that the “movement” grew exponentially after Saturday’s solid showing.

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The Malpass Brothers Wave the Banner for Pure, Traditional Country Music

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Traditional, pure country was revitalized opening day at Stagecoach thanks to the Malpass Brother’s outstanding performances of legendary covers and original songs dedicated to their heroes.

These good ‘ol boys brought their Southern roots and love for all things retro to the Palomino stage in Indio, Calif., during a midday set on Friday.

Lead singer Christopher Malpass introduced the band to the audience by sharing two questions they get asked the most:

“Do you really talk like that and is that your real hair?”

So of course, Christopher drawled the answer to both, explaining that “We’re from North Carolina. And yes, this is really our hair. Yes, this is how we really talk.”

Christopher and Taylor Malpass are as authentic as it gets, and stay true to the deep love they have for the traditional country music first introduced to them on their granddaddy’s phonograph records. From their ’50s throwback pompadour hairstyles and mutton chops to their western outfits and infamous Elvis-like hip swivels, these siblings proudly wave the banner for traditional country music, and they are adamant about preserving the art.

“My brother Taylor and I do the type of music we do because this music speaks to us, and speaks to the souls of its listeners,” said Christopher. “For us, traditional country music is the ‘real deal’ – every song portrays life’s joys, heartaches, problems and happiness. It comes from the heart, and has depth and truth. Nothing is sugar coated. Our goal, really, is to see this music be revived, to help ensure it doesn’t fade away.”

During their mid-afternoon set, the brothers preached that gospel by performing several covers to honor a few of their country pioneers.

Christopher perfectly captured his music idol Johnny Cash with flawless renditions of “Folsom Prison Blues” and his personal favorite “Luther Played the Boogie.” When taking over singing duties for a cover of the Faron Young/Willie Nelson track “Hello Walls,” Taylor’s bellowing vocals also nailed the command and presence shared by those greats.

Other notable covers included Nelson’s “If You’ve Got the Money, I’ve Got the Time,” Jimmy Rodgers’ “Blue Yodel No 4 (California Blues), where Taylor ripped off stellar leads on his Gretsch Chet Atkins Country Gent guitar, Marty Robbins’ “Begging To You” and Merle Haggard’s “Working Man Blues.”

Haggard’s recent passing has hit the brothers hard, as the country outlaw legend was a huge champion of the Malpass siblings.  The duo spent more than 7 years working with Haggard, touring with him and even recording torch track “Memory That Bad” at his studios.

And when it comes to creating original material, the duo firmly upholds the musical styling and qualities that would make their idols proud.  Taylor’s guitar work on “Memory That Bad” perfectly accentuates Christopher’s sincere vocals and lyrics, resulting in a single that already seems country timeless.

The brothers planned to end their set with an homage to Cash via their original number “Man In Black Is Wearing White,” and had even begun to unplug their instruments at its conclusion.  But the crowd was so pleased with the set that they began asking for “just one more.”

So instead, they threw up another song in honor of Haggard with “Working Man Blues,” thus concluding an outstanding west coast showing for this southern duo. But thanks to the Malpass Brothers, the audience got to take a journey of its own, as it was like opening up a time capsule and rediscovering some of country music’s best offerings.

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‘Guitar Player’ Spotlights the Streamliner Collection

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In its April issue, Guitar Player magazine highlighted the Gretsch Streamliner Collection as part of its “Hottest Gear Debuts at NAMM.”

“For those who adore the Gretsch mystique but can’t afford the main guitar line’s ‘Harley Davidson’ pricing, the inexpensive Gretsch Electromatic Series has long been their savior,” notes the mag. “Now, however, the guitar maker has introduced another affordable line—the Streamliner Collection—that proudly puts just the name “Gretsch” on the headstock and pickguard. Love it! The Streamliners offer a new pickup—the Broad’Tron humbuckers—and come in Center Block, Center Block Jr., and Hollow Body models (one of my faves is the G2420T in Flagstaff Sunset with Bigsby.)”

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Total Guitar Reviews Streamliner

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The new Gretsch Streamliner G2622 Center Block Double Cutaway earned the front cover of Total Guitar‘s March issue. And while all the new Streamliner guitars received rave reviews, the G2622 was awarded with “Total Guitar‘s Best Buy.”

Gretsch practically dominates the issue with lengthy reviews of the new models, a Q&A with Gretsch Europe Project Manager Adam Bowden-Smith, tabs to play rockabilly, a look at five legendary Gretsch icons (from Eddie Cochran to Cliff Gallup), a list of alternative Gretsch icons (from Tim Armstrong to Jack White) and a tech piece on how to “get more from your Bigsby.”

As for the Streamliner review—which covers specs, looks and tones of the Center Blocks, Center Block Jr.’s and Hollow Body guitars—the magazine concluded with this:

“Gretsch has picked up the affordable ball and smashed it right out of the park! If you want a proper Gretsch-brand hollowbody or semi, you don’t have to put up with copies with the wrong name on the headstock any more. This trio are quite possibly the bargains of 2016 and we’re only just into the new year. Fit, finish, sound and playability are all way above what you’d expect at these prices.”

Get the March issue of Total Guitar here!

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