Sep 26

"I never write with the guitar, I just imagine it in my mind." - Martin Taylor

"When it comes down to it, this [guitar] is just a piece of wood - the music doesn't come from there, the music comes from within us. I often think of the guitar as the loudspeaker of my mind. The reason I play guitar… is because it's the nearest way I can get everyone to hear the music that's going on in my mind. It's the best way I can really express that. But when it comes down to it, it's a piece of wood - the music doesn't come from there, the music comes from within.

Posted in guitar, Martin Taylor
Sep 25

bryan sutton - hot rize

Hot Rize first hit the bluegrass scene in the late 1970s coming out of Boulder, Cororado. "I wasn't part of it then, I was 5 when they made their first record," says Bryan Sutton, who's been playing guitar for the legendary group for over 10 years now. 

The original lineup was Tim O'Brien on mandolin, Nick Forster on bass, Pete Wernick on banjo, and guitar player Charles Sawtelle. Throughout the 1980s, Hot Rize became as big as a band could get for bluegrass at that time. Then at the height of their success, they disbanded. They later enlisted Bryan Sutton to play guitar with them after the tragic loss of Charles Sawtelle. We spoke with Bryan when he was in our studio recording new guitar lessons for his students here at ArtistWorks, wanting to get his unique perspective having gone from being a fan to being in the band. 

"What they brought was a bit of a return to a tradition. It was the early 80s and you had a lot of very 80s type influence on bluegrass - things were getting a little louder, electric bass was being used. Hot Rize did have electric bass, but they also wore suits every time they did a show, and they sang around one mic which was really cool and retro at the time - nobody was doing that. Being from Colorado they kept poking at the Southeast, that was the big market to break for any bluegrass band, and being from Colorado they were sort of at an uphill battle.

Sep 22

chuck loeb jazz improvisation

My trajectory towards jazz improvisation began roughly when I was about fifteen years old.

Before then I was steeped in the world of rock, blues, pop and folk music. I would teach myself guitar by listening and copying songs and licks from my favorite artists. I ruined my fair share of vinyl records this way - dragging the needle over the same spot until I got a particular phrase or chord progression under my fingers. I also took an occasional guitar lesson from local teachers, and annoyed my older sister's guitar playing friends until they would show me their licks.

But then one day I heard some music playing in the local record store. The music had the sound of a rock band, but with these other-worldly rhythms, and an amazing array of new notes!

"What is this?!?" I asked the owner of the shop. He told me it was a new record, Inner Mounting Flame by a group called The Mahavishnu Orchestra, led by the amazing guitarist John McLaughlin. I went home with a copy under my arm. 

Posted in chuck loeb, guitar, jazz
Sep 20

paul gilbert pink guitar

Some guitars are so eye-catching, that the guitar player doesn't even need to be in the photo.

Long Live 1987!


Posted in guitar, paul gilbert
Sep 19

Hey Everybody,

Here I sit in what will be a significant part and representation of my "home" this fall, a hotel room. This is a nice hotel room, though. It's also connected to a fun show. Hot Rize will play A Prairie Home Companion this weekend. This is a live radio show I listened to just about as long as I've listened to the Grand Ole Opry!  We're headed to rehearse in abut 45 minutes.  

prairie home companion

Hot Rize will tour a good bit this fall. I'll do more and more VEs from hotel rooms like the one I'm in as the tour progresses. I'm really glad I can do these with my iPad. I'll try to update everybody from time to time with various blog posts or videos. I hope to see some of you out on the trail as well. We most always make our way out front after shows to meet and greet.

I feel very fortunate to be part of this band so I'm basically looking forward to the tour. I don't tour like this all that often, but it seems like every few years, some neat opportunity comes up and this is one of them. I'm one of the lucky professional musicians who don't have to spend all their time on the road.  HINT - It's really not glamorous... it's a lot of 4 am wake up calls after hitting the pillow at 2 am.  You can check out our tour dates at or  A funny thing that really happens is I forget my room number sometimes.  After you stay in hotel rooms a certain number of times in a row, they all look the same, and I really can't remember if it's 145, or 311, or maybe 222... wait, that was last night!  

Posted in bryan sutton, guitar