started playing – Mic Gillette http://micgillette.com/ Sun, 17 Apr 2022 19:43:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://micgillette.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/icon-2021-08-02T161817.082-150x150.png started playing – Mic Gillette http://micgillette.com/ 32 32 A musician honors his gift from God https://micgillette.com/a-musician-honors-his-gift-from-god/ Fri, 18 Mar 2022 10:15:10 +0000 https://micgillette.com/a-musician-honors-his-gift-from-god/ When Sean Kelly isn’t on stage rocking his guitar in front of thousands of fans, he can be found in a classroom with his students or at home with his wife and two young sons. Lead guitarist for award-winning Canadian singer Nelly Furtado, Kelly is the founder of Toronto rock band Crash Kelly and has […]]]>

When Sean Kelly isn’t on stage rocking his guitar in front of thousands of fans, he can be found in a classroom with his students or at home with his wife and two young sons.

Lead guitarist for award-winning Canadian singer Nelly Furtado, Kelly is the founder of Toronto rock band Crash Kelly and has toured with such legendary artists as Alice Cooper. But he is also a music teacher at both St. Timothy’s Catholic School and Canadian Martyrs Catholic School in Toronto, where he teaches instrumental and vocal music to grades 7 and 8 from kindergarten to 6th year. While it may seem like a double life to some, for Kelly it’s all part of who he is.

“I think I’m honoring a gift,” Kelly said. ” I believe him. I think music is a gift from God and I feel I have to honor it in the best way possible.

He’s been in love with the sound of rock and roll music since growing up in North Bay in the 1980s. With a pawnshop guitar and an old amplifier given to him at Christmas in 1984, he began to trying to emulate his favorite artists such as Van Halen, Def Leppard and Mötley Crüe. Growing up, he found solace in music in many forms, from performing in his church choir to practicing rock and roll with his friends. Like many teenagers, he struggled with insecurities and through music found a sense of belonging among others who shared his passion.

The call to teach snuck up on him. He studied music at the University of Toronto and started playing with bands, landed record deals and started touring. He decided to take a break from touring to go to teachers’ college. His plan was to be a substitute teacher to supplement his music career, but he ended up “falling in love with it”. He started teaching in 2000 and for the past 22 years he’s been in the classroom, making time for gigs touring here and there. He also spent time teaching the music business to high school students on First Nations reserves and mentoring young artists.

As an educator, Kelly ultimately tries to show her students that music is a universal language with the power to create a sense of community and belonging for all, regardless of superficial differences used to divide people. Throughout history, he teaches, music has been a tool of unity. From racial segregation in North America and beyond, music has brought people together and helped show that inside all human beings are essentially the same.

“I think ultimately I’m called to be a teacher based on my experiences,” Kelly said. “I have seen many things in my life. It’s funny, I’ve talked (to my students) about African-Canadian and African-American musicians and artists. I tell them how jazz music has been one of the main sources of unity in bringing together black musicians and white musicians. What a vehicle for social justice it was and how many barriers have come down where politicians have failed and society has failed. I find that music is a way to speak to our greater humanity and is a great common thread.

Balancing his life as a teacher, husband, father, and rock musician has been a synergistic dance over the years. Keeping his family first has been the key that has kept him grounded. These days, raising his seven- and 10-year-old sons holds him back as much as possible. A family affair, his wife and children are also music lovers and his children take piano lessons.

More than a profession, Kelly says music is still her favorite pastime. He’s amassed an impressive collection of guitars over the years and after a long day, tinkering with the guitar is still his favorite way to unwind. It’s a time to reflect on the experiences throughout the day and let the energy of the music reverberate through your fingers. Since childhood, music has always been synonymous with camaraderie, friendship and spiritual connection.

“In church, music is a form of prayer,” Kelly said. “I wonder if it’s always been that way (for me). If you’re still trying to honor the gift God has given you, maybe that’s a form of prayer. Interesting thought.

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Moxai, young group from North Devon, want to do a gig https://micgillette.com/moxai-young-group-from-north-devon-want-to-do-a-gig/ Mon, 07 Mar 2022 00:00:00 +0000 https://micgillette.com/moxai-young-group-from-north-devon-want-to-do-a-gig/ Published: 00:00 7 March 2022 North Devon music news with Andy McAuley: Here’s another rising band I had the pleasure of meeting and getting the scoop on their new single ‘Feeling’ worth checking out… Hello Moxai, I hope you are doing well. If you want to introduce yourself and what you play in the band […]]]>

Published:
00:00 7 March 2022



North Devon music news with Andy McAuley:

Here’s another rising band I had the pleasure of meeting and getting the scoop on their new single ‘Feeling’ worth checking out…

Hello Moxai, I hope you are doing well. If you want to introduce yourself and what you play in the band

LG: Hi, my name is Lily Graver and I play drums.

LHP: Hi, I’m Lily Hanlon-Penny and I play bass.

C: Hello, I’m Cerys Hemmings and I sing and write the songs.

N: Hi, I’m Noah Houghton and I play guitar in the band but I play bass as a daily job.

Where and how did you all come together?

LG: I studied music at A level before starting the course where I met Cerys and Lily – and Ben! Cerys messaged me afterwards and we chatted. I tagged Cerys in a TikTok from a function band playing at a wedding, Lily saw this tag and we decided to start a band.

LHP: The TikTok video showed the feature band playing “Life Is A Highway” and we thought it was hilarious and thought it would be great to start a band after seeing how much fun it was.

C: Yes, we struggled for so long to find a guitarist but luckily we found Noah who was very close because he and I are together!

What are your musical or non-musical inspirations?

LHP: I feel like one of my biggest inspirations is Nothing but Thieves, me and Cerys were lucky enough to see them live.

LG: The punk genre inspires me a lot, especially the Riot Grrrl subgenre. I’m inspired by bands such as The Wood Burning Savages, Touts and Cherym. My music teachers and tutors encouraged and inspired me to look into music. I only started playing the drums three years ago!

C: I did my first solo in the choir when I was three and it really took off from there. I dabbled in musical theater and opera for a decade, then got into heavy alternative indie music, which helped me move away from my musical theater tone – but I’ll be forever grateful to my experience as a performer and my classical training. I like to take inspiration from soul singers like Ella Fitzgerald.

N: I’ve been playing bass for nine years, the Red Hot Chili Peppers were a huge thing for me when I started on bass so it’s only natural that I take inspiration from them now that I play guitar. There’s something about John Frusciante’s game that speaks to me. A lot of my inspiration comes from jazz, funk and soul, I just wish I could play guitar properly!

You just released your first single ‘Fleeing’, how was it and where did you record it?

C: “Fleeing” is a very special song for us. We thought it would create a community for those who have struggled with creepy individuals following them or those who have felt uncomfortable around people.

LG: As we are a relatively new band, we decided to do everything ourselves. Guitar, bass and vocals were recorded in Noah’s bedroom. He sent me the project to which I added drums and mixed and mastered. Distrokid helped me distribute “Fleeing” on Spotify, Apple Music, Soundcloud and YouTube. Fortunately, the timing worked out and we were able to release it on February 3. We’re going to release an EP this year, which will be a full studio recording.

What are your passions or hobbies outside of music?

LG: I’m a long-time supporter of Derby County Football Club – you’ll no doubt see me wearing a football top behind the drums! Otherwise, my interests are strongly rooted in music, whether it’s playing drums, bass or guitar, performing live, recording sessions, producing, journalism or break down !

LHP: I do a lot of different art styles and will help create eventual album covers, merchandise and anything art-based for the band.

C: I am an avid crystal collector, I have over 200 different types of crystals in all colors, shapes and sizes and I love all things spiritual.


Moxai at the Palladium Club
– Credit: Stuart McConnell

I saw that you had a few gigs under your belt, how did it go and what was the funniest or weirdest moment for the band?

LG: At our first gig, I rocked too hard and cut my finger. I had such an adrenaline rush that I didn’t even notice until afterwards. Things went well. Just hitting things up and hoping for the best.

LHP: I think at most I yell at others saying I don’t know what I’m doing!

C: Yeah, I remember bursting out laughing because Lily said she didn’t know what she was doing and Stuart from The Palladium took a picture of that moment on our Instagram.

What do you think of the music industry as a young band?

LG: Competition for bands doing it themselves has increased due to the rise of TikTok and other social media platforms; we use the DIY punk approach to our advantage. Our ages range from 16-19, so we know what appeals to people our age and post engaging content on our Instagram, TikTok and Facebook @MoxaiBand

LHP: I feel like since Covid there has been an increase in younger groups and we need to find ways to stand out from the rest

When and where will you play next?

LHP: We haven’t booked any concerts yet, but we hope to participate as soon as possible!

LG: We are now concentrating on writing new songs for our EP. Remember the name – it’s pronounced mok see

Keep rocking, rockers!

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art-rock experimenters building their own unique world https://micgillette.com/art-rock-experimenters-building-their-own-unique-world/ Mon, 21 Feb 2022 11:17:57 +0000 https://micgillette.com/art-rock-experimenters-building-their-own-unique-world/ IIn a world spinning frantically out of control, Caroline makes music that forces you to slow down. The London-based eight-piece, whose self-titled debut album is out this Friday, February 25 on Rough Trade Records, creates patient, meticulously arranged music that will not only slow your heartbeat, but encourage you to listen closely and carefully; a […]]]>

IIn a world spinning frantically out of control, Caroline makes music that forces you to slow down. The London-based eight-piece, whose self-titled debut album is out this Friday, February 25 on Rough Trade Records, creates patient, meticulously arranged music that will not only slow your heartbeat, but encourage you to listen closely and carefully; a soft arm around the shoulder to help you lean closer.

Stately guitars rise and fall over luxurious periods, much like the music of Tortoise or Slint, while strings swell and strum, while woodwinds and brass offer delicate texture and dramatic flourishes. It’s a sound that feels like it was made for our time, a unique, accessible and uncompromising hit from left field.

According to vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Jasper Llewellyn, the band’s sound isn’t something even they have much control over, that’s how it breaks down. “I guess we didn’t really set out to create any particular sounding music,” he said. NME. “We just played together and improvised, but it was never intended to do slow music or minimalist music.”

Caroline’s album comes at a time when discordant and experimental British guitar music is enjoying a rare moment of semi-mainstream acceptance, following the success of bands like Black Country, New Road and Black Midi, as well as the re-emergence of the post-rockers Mogwai, now a chart topping band. It should perhaps come as no surprise that in a time of domestic hardship and national political outrage, there is a window for groups offering cathartic release from anxious tension; Caroline certainly fits the bill.

Jhe band formed when Llewellyn and guitarist Casper Hughes, who had become friends while studying together at Manchester University, moved to London in 2017. They brought along mutual friend Mike O’Malley on guitar and within hours they found they had locked themselves into a musical bond that was paying off. At the end of their first session, they had written the track ‘Dark Blue’, which now appears as the opening track of their album. “This song is really a snapshot of the early stages of us as a unit,” O’Malley says. “It happened to be the first thing we ever did.”

Hughes and Llewellyn had played together in bands in Manchester, although of a very different genre, the former being lead singer and the latter on drums. “I was doing more talking and shouting stuff in those days,” says Hughes. “I guess it was a bit more of a post-punk style.” They were united by the love of the Ought group, but they now think of it as having only been a phase. “Everything changed, thankfully, when Mike came along, and it kind of evolved,” Hughes says.

While the three form the key core of the band’s songwriting, they are complemented by an assembly of accomplished musicians who each contribute significantly to the band’s output. The result is an aesthetic that manages to be scrupulously controlled while maintaining a sense of rough, rough DIY, an overall effect that didn’t happen by accident.

“There are moments of squealing intensity,” says Hughes, “that come from having a certain way of playing together in a loose, improvisational way. How these sections are placed in the song, however, is not willy-nilly. Everything is set up in a way that makes sense to us.

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Although their music now defies easy categorization, the band is aware of the influences that have guided them to this point. For Llewellyn and O’Malley, traditional Appalachian folk music has been a constant source of inspiration, while Hughes points to Midwestern emo bands like American Football and Cursive as having fueled the Carolina sound.

“When we started playing together as a threesome, the genre we most associated with what we were doing was post-rock or slowcore,” he says. “Pretty early on, we all started listening to The Dirty Three as well – that loose, improvisational feel and country, swooning fiddle style, which was quite inspiring. And elements of trance, Lorenzo Senni. People are going to say “What?”, but I think it has an influence, even if we don’t do trance bangers. Again…”

vsaroline recorded most of her first album at the end of 2020, choosing to produce it herself. O’Malley is the only band member with significant production experience, having fronted Girl Ray’s debut album “Earl Grey” in 2017, but the band knew what they wanted from the recording process.

“Having this total control over how and where things are saved is really important to us,” says O’Malley. We like to use different techniques and atmospheres when we record, so having that kind of control was awesome.

An example of the techniques they implement is the idea of ​​”extreme closeness” on the track “IWR”. The guitar parts were recorded as quietly as possible, with the microphone placed a few millimeters from the strings and the gain brought to its maximum capacity. It gives the song a breathtaking human intimacy and a sense of drama that comes from hearing every minor imperfection amplified. This same freedom allowed them to record wherever they wanted. Recording spaces ranged from professional studios, to the upstairs room of their local pub, to inside a swimming pool, all adding to the eerie and unpredictable atmospheric depth of the album.

Lyrically, the album is laced with psychological darkness and self-doubt, like the voice of “Good Morning (Red)” screaming, “Can I be happy in this world / It will have to change, it does not suit us”. Llewellyn denies that the intention is to convey any measure of existential dread. “The mood of the meaning of the phrase should match the music,” he explains. “They are a layer like any instrumental part is a layer, and they bring their own qualities.” That may be true, but it surely speaks to the mood of the music, then, that such moody lines are becoming so prevalent.

Even in their live performances, they can’t help but do something innovative and deeply intimate. The band kicked off 2022 with one of the most unique shows in recent memory: an uninterrupted five-hour set at London’s Southbank Centre, where friends of the band joined them on stage intermittently and the public were invited to come and go. as they happy.

It turned out that the majority stayed for the duration, which is a testament to the versatile skills of the musicians. “We just wanted to do something totally different that would push us a bit,” Hughes says with a smile. It’s a sentiment that perfectly encapsulates Caroline’s refreshing, disruptive, and nonconforming story thus far, a story that even they can’t predict the next chapter for.

Caroline’s self-titled debut album will be released on February 25

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The Scottish Curling soundtrack, delivered by pipers from Beijing https://micgillette.com/the-scottish-curling-soundtrack-delivered-by-pipers-from-beijing/ Sun, 13 Feb 2022 08:37:00 +0000 https://micgillette.com/the-scottish-curling-soundtrack-delivered-by-pipers-from-beijing/ BEIJING — The curling arena went dark and strobe lights cleared the ice. A band of pipers marched by almost like a vision from another time, or at the very least, another continent. The musicians describe themselves as amateurs, mainly from Beijing. None of them have ever been to Scotland. But they were dressed as […]]]>

BEIJING — The curling arena went dark and strobe lights cleared the ice. A band of pipers marched by almost like a vision from another time, or at the very least, another continent.

The musicians describe themselves as amateurs, mainly from Beijing. None of them have ever been to Scotland. But they were dressed as if they had just arrived from the Highlands: red-checked kilts decorated with small pockets with long tufts of horsehair called sporrans, part of the uniform they had ordered abroad.

The constant shout of ‘Scotland the Brave’ withstood the din of the arena – the selection is undoubtedly a nod to curling’s Scottish roots. But the anthem is also a sort of default melody for the instrument; instructional videos on how to play were easy to find online. And the group needed this help since their teacher, the only one they could find in China, had recently left the country.

“We just love the bagpipes,” piper leader Zhang A Li said after one of their pre-game performances – a staple of curling tournaments, whether in China or Chicago. , “and we all came together.”

That, in itself, is something of a miracle.

In a way, the formation of the group reflects the sprawling challenge faced by Chinese officials in staging the Winter Olympics in a country unfamiliar with the events that would unfold. A large air track was built in a former industrial park, a bobsled course was carved into a mountain and, of course, plenty of artificial snow was needed for an area that receives very little precipitation in winter.

And curling competitions require pipers.

The sport and the instrument are linked by a common history, which dates back centuries to the frozen lochs of Scotland. Yet even beyond these cultural connections, curling and bagpipes also seem to be similar pursuits. For the uninitiated, the sport with stones and brooms and the instrument with a bladder and a tangle of reeds can seem heavy and confusing. In expert hands, however, these parts coalesce into something absorbing, even graceful, and undoubtedly one of a kind.

“Why do you choose curling over baseball? Well, there’s something you can’t quite explain,” said Scott McLean, who plays curling and bagpipes for the Granite Curling Club in Seattle and, as a history teacher, has explored the intersecting roots of the two hobbies. “Why do you choose the bagpipes instead of the violin? It’s kind of a weird thing.

Pipers in Beijing said they were drawn to a sound they found fascinating. “Loud and clear and penetrating”, as Zhang said.

But it turns out that bagpipes is an activity that has yet to find a taker in China, which means it’s not easy to become one of those skilled hands. “I only know about a dozen people in China who can play this instrument,” said Chao Luomong, another bagpipe player.

The curiosity and thirst for challenge that attracted this group is familiar among pipers. Learning the instrument is like solving a puzzle. Playing it offers a unique form of expression.

“It’s the rhythm of a babbling brook, it’s the rhythm of a season, it’s the rhythm of a doe bouncing in the glen,” McLean said. “It brings me to a place where I can emotionally experience, not just play the notes. I think there’s an appeal to all kinds of people.

The band – with four pipers joined by two drummers, coming from a variety of backgrounds including elementary school teachers and a freelance set designer – have been playing together for a few years, just as curling competitions were beginning to heat up across the China before the Games. .

In the months leading up to the start of the Olympics, the band would get together after work to try and perfect a few different songs. Pipers have experience with a range of other instruments, including trumpet, clarinet, guitar, saxophone and organ. “We are all versatile,” said Zhang, 36.

But this range has certainly been tested by the bagpipes. Zhang is one of the most experienced bagpipe players, having first learned to play in 2014. None of his colleagues were terribly advanced, so their lessons started with the basics.

“I think the hardest part of learning bagpipes is mostly not knowing enough about the instrument,” Chao said. “Like, when a bagpipe is broken, how do you fix it?”

Apart from the technical difficulty, the Chinese bagpipe players were also surprised by the physical difficulty it could represent. Bagpipes, Zhang said, “require a strong lung.” He described the force it takes to get the sound right – “controlling the air pressure in the bag, to be stable and unchanging”.

“It takes a long time,” he added, “to repeat every bit over and over again.”

The group designed the stitched logo on their uniforms, which includes the letters Y and S, representing the Chinese word for warrior – another tribute to Scottish history.

Yet, they conceded, they did not choose the instrument out of interest in the traditions of a distant place. Curling, by the way, doesn’t matter much to them either. At least one piper tried to loop once and said it didn’t fit. They watched some games on their phones, which they store in their sporrans. “Honestly, I don’t know much about rules,” Chao, 37, said. “What we like the most is bagpipes.”

And yet the group has been emblematic of a transformative time for curling, as the sport balances the traditions embedded in its DNA with a surge in global popularity in the years since it became an event. official Olympic Games in Nagano in 1998. (In Mexico, some clubs have replaced bagpipes with mariachis.)

Chinese pipers gained a worldwide following at the start of the Beijing Games and in doing so received some attention from the Scottish news media. In an article, The Daily Record, a Glasgow tabloid, wrote that the band had “revealed that they loved all our traditions – apart from going commando under a kilt”, saying that it was custom for men not to wear underwear when wearing the garment.

In the article, Zhang replied, “We try to be as close to the traditions as possible, but it’s cold – we have our underwear for sure.”

Otherwise, the response has been much warmer. “I’m very happy to have them here,” Bruce Mouat, from Edinburgh who represented Great Britain in the mixed doubles competition, told reporters after a match. He added that the music reminded him of his home.

On the first night of the men’s competition on Wednesday, Team USA’s Chris Plys noticed them as well. “It’s been a long time since I heard ‘Scotland the Brave’ come out,” he said. “I was not expecting that at all.”

In truth, as remarkable as they may seem, the pipers have yet to have their breakout moment.

Curling has one of the most demanding schedules of any sport at the Winter Games, with competitions running from February 2-20 and with up to three rounds of matches per day. Pipers play before each round, and each performance follows the same routine, becoming a sort of Groundhog Day experience.

On Wednesday evening, as the curlers crowded into a final practice run, an announcer, joined by the plump panda who serves as the Olympic mascot, tried to shake up the modest assembly of spectators scattered in the stands.

As the band came out and started playing, the announcer faced the sound of bagpipes and continued to talk, introducing the curlers from various countries. There was some applause just as the band finished their snippet of “Scotland the Brave”. But the applause, it turned out, was for the Danish men’s team as its members waved to the crowd.

Pipers stood stoically along the edge of the ice, knowing they would be back in less than 12 hours, donning the same uniforms and playing the same song.

Liu Yi contributed report.

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SOMERVILLE ARTIST PROFILE: AROUND HEARING https://micgillette.com/somerville-artist-profile-around-hearing/ Tue, 01 Feb 2022 21:36:33 +0000 https://micgillette.com/somerville-artist-profile-around-hearing/ Bringing music to the community in an affordable way Violinist Marji Gere and pianist Dan Sedgwick are co-directors of Around Hear, an organization that aims to accessibly enrich the town of Somerville with the art of music. They offer free concerts and music lessons for low-income residents, inviting people to “gather, listen and learn”. I […]]]>

Bringing music to the community in an affordable way


Violinist Marji Gere and pianist Dan Sedgwick are co-directors of Around Hear, an organization that aims to accessibly enrich the town of Somerville with the art of music. They offer free concerts and music lessons for low-income residents, inviting people to “gather, listen and learn”. I reached out to Marji and Dan to ask about the programs they created and how they continued to pursue this form of expression.

Around Hear was created in 2017. How did you know you wanted to create a musical program together, and what was the inspiration?

I (Marji) obtained a grant from the Somerville Arts Council in the spring of 2017 to design and execute a citywide community program tour as a solo violinist. The twelve performances I gave on this tour exposed me to many different and wonderful after-school programs and other community programs around Somerville, but the highlight of the whole experience was the series of visits I have made to the Mystic Learning Center, which is based at the Mystic Activity Center of the Somerville Housing Authority. It shouldn’t have been surprising that I felt most comfortable at Mystic; I had been a volunteer for the Welcome Project (based in the same building as the Mystic Learning Center) since 2014, and I had already gotten to know the Mystic scene pretty well, and I knew I liked it. I received another grant in the fall of 2017 (from the St. Botolph Club Foundation in Boston) to provide more free community concerts in Somerville, and it only made sense to partner again with the Mystic Learning Center and the Somerville Housing Authority to make it happen. . Knowing that any long-term art project should involve Dan (my main collaborator and husband), Dan and I worked with Florence Bergmann, the (now retired) director of the Mystic Learning Center and other powers that be at the Housing Authority to donate a grand piano to the Mystic Activity Center. The experience of working with Florence and other tireless mystical leaders to achieve this challenge, and then to establish a series of regular free concerts and a program of free music lessons, has been the most rewarding experience of our professional lives.

You offer free community concerts and art-based social and educational events. Can you describe what they usually sound like and what attracts you to the music you perform?

Since the spring of 2017, Around Hear has held free public community concerts at Mystic Activity Center, a community center based at Somerville Housing Authority. In our planning and implementation of these events, we consider the comfort and happiness of audience members of all ages and backgrounds: to facilitate and enhance listening, we pair music with elements of theatre, storytelling, visual arts, puppetry or dance. ; we provide printed programs in Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole and English; our programming features our students and other artists of color and their creative work; we strive to create a stigma-free space where people are welcome to walk around, create art, come and go, and yes, even audibly express themselves by listening.

One of the goals of this concert series is to create a long-standing community ritual of coming together for free, fun, high quality, uplifting and inclusive public music events in Somerville Housing Authority. By providing compelling, eclectic, and unique programming, prioritizing low-income residents’ access to these events, and welcoming music lovers and other curious people to the Boston metro area, we hope Around Hear will help break the socio-economic, racial, cultural and generational barriers that exist in our society.

Around Hear also offers free one-on-one music lessons to low-income Somerville residents. Can you tell us what you like about teaching, your approach to education and what it means to serve this particular community?

It is widely accepted by music teachers that regular, individual instruction is essential to musical mastery. While affluent Somervillians may choose to enroll their children in private lessons, this option is prohibitively expensive for low-income Somerville residents. Therefore, despite the school district’s efforts to make arts education inclusive and accessible, there is an arts achievement gap in school and city cultures.

Around Hear’s main goal is to fill this gap by offering free, weekly, one-on-one music lessons, performance opportunities and concerts, and to make these experiences accessible by offering them at the Mystic Activity Center, based in the largest public of the Somerville Housing Authority. housing development. Currently, we meet with 24 students, aged 6 to 70+, for one-to-one lessons each week.

As teachers, we continue to embrace the challenging and joyful work of helping each student find their own meaningful path in music. Each week, we strive to provide our students with opportunities to expand their musical horizons, use their musical instruments to tap into their family and cultural traditions, and explore their personal interests. It’s fun work that requires patience, humor and commitment from everyone involved.

I know that Marji is a violinist and Dan is a pianist. What were your experiences as a musician and how did you first learn these instruments?

We were both fortunate to grow up in families with parents who played musical instruments and listened to a lot of music at home, and in cities with strong public school music programs: Marji in Davenport , IA, and Dan in Worcester, MA. We had the opportunity to play in a variety of high school ensembles: orchestra, orchestra, jazz band and other small groups. While Marji focused on the violin and Dan on the piano, we were also encouraged to explore other instruments: Marji played percussion and piano; Dan played French horn and guitar. We both studied music in college (Marji majored in violin performance and English, Dan in composition), and we were also lucky enough to find our way to the Apple Summer Festival. Hill Center for Chamber Music, Nelson, NH in the late 1990s where we met and started playing chamber music together.

You have a concert just before Valentine’s Day. Can you tell us a bit about what this performance will look like?

Thanks for asking the question! Our next free community concert Around Hear is scheduled for the afternoon of Saturday, February 12 at the Mystic Activity Center (530 Mystic Ave). For this event, we are trying something new: while we play music from 2-5pm, viewers are welcome to come and go as they wish, stay just for a moment or as long as they wish. We will provide our usual communal drawing paper and pencils, as well as valentines to write on in response to the music, or audience members can bring their own art, writing, knitting (etc! etc!) .!) to enjoy while they listen. We will play the complete sonatas for piano and violin by Johannes Brahms, the most romantic music we know! For security reasons, participation in this event is limited. If you would like to come, please RSVP here.

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Buford High School Alumni – Then and Now: Seth McLaughlin https://micgillette.com/buford-high-school-alumni-then-and-now-seth-mclaughlin/ Sat, 29 Jan 2022 21:56:36 +0000 https://micgillette.com/buford-high-school-alumni-then-and-now-seth-mclaughlin/ It was Monday, January 10. The two biggest teams in the SEC, the University of Georgia and the University of Alabama, faced off in the national championship game. Social media was abuzz with posts from fans swearing allegiance to one side or the other. In Buford, Georgia, a town less than 50 miles from Athens, […]]]>

It was Monday, January 10. The two biggest teams in the SEC, the University of Georgia and the University of Alabama, faced off in the national championship game. Social media was abuzz with posts from fans swearing allegiance to one side or the other. In Buford, Georgia, a town less than 50 miles from Athens, red and black ties were strong and fans cheered on the Bulldogs – and Alabama offensive line center No. 56 Seth McLaughlin.

It may have been rumored that a boy from Buford was playing for Alabama in the national championship, but what they may not know is the person behind that jersey or the fantastic young man what Seth really is.

Seth is the son of Suzy and John McLaughlin of Flowery Branch and is the youngest of their three sons: JR, 26, Caden, 24 and Seth, who turns 21 in August. He began his freshman year at Buford High School after moving that summer to Georgia with his family from Alcoa, near Knoxville, Tennessee.

I still remember Seth and Suzy entering the choir room for the first time at the old BHS on a pre-ninth grade open house. I glanced at him, smiled and said, “I bet you’re here to play football!” To my delight, he came to meet his new choir teacher and see the room in which he would sing every day.

His kind, sheepish smile and hopeful eyes told me that there was a tender little boy beneath all that 6ft baby-faced musculature who was thrilled to be noticed and just wanted to make a difference. Four years later, all of Buford knew that Seth had made a difference – not just on the court, but in every class he attended.

Coach Nick Saban discovered Seth had made a difference too and came to Buford in December 2019 to sign Seth to play for the Crimson Tide. Saban visited Seth at school, came home to meet the family, and offered him the opportunity of a lifetime – a full athletic scholarship to play football for the University of Alabama. In January 2020, Seth graduated from BHS a semester early and enrolled in AU.

Currently a sophomore at the University of Alabama, Seth is a finance major specializing in value investing. When he’s not on the practice field or playing for an important game, he enjoys playing guitar and singing, which he has enjoyed since he was in eighth grade.

“I got into it because my older brother had a guitar and I wanted to do what my older brother was doing,” Seth said.

While at BHS, Seth was an ideal representative of the AAA brand. He was a 4.0 student taking AP classes, won a state football championship, and appeared on two variety shows as a backing tenor.

“Soccer was my main extracurricular area,” said Seth, who started playing the sport when he was 8 years old. “My senior year, our team hit the road in three playoff games and ended up winning the state in an overtime comeback.

“Football and weightlifting have been the most influential for me. The coaches have helped me so much to grow as a man,” he said.

He not only grew in character and strength, but he also grew physically. The No. 58 finished his high school career at 6-foot-4, having played football for four years where he was a three-time letter carrier, state champion, varsity captain and four-time Student Scholar Athlete award recipient Team award.

“I think I was very lucky to have great teachers throughout high school who helped me grow as a student and prepared me well for college,” he said. he declares.

Seth fondly recalls his construction classes with Coach Laws and says his favorite teacher was Sean Gilbert, who taught AP World History.

“You could really tell how much he cared about his students’ learning. He really wanted us to succeed in his class and as people,” Seth said.

In Seth, you could say Coach Gilbert had his wish granted; Seth maintained a 4.0 throughout college and is on track to earn his bachelor’s degree just two and a half years after graduating from BHS. All that, and he still has three years of college eligibility left.

It would appear that Seth wins the biggest game – life; even more important than stats or grades is the character this young man possesses.

Alabama fans may have seen Seth start the season as a third-string center. Most kids in his position can take it easy and think of themselves as just the practice squad. Not Seth. He continued to show his heart and work ethic until he was thrown out at halftime of the Alabama/Auburn game. A week later, he started in the SEC Championship game against UGA, then again in the semifinal game against Cincinnati, and finally in the National Championship game. Seth didn’t allow a sack in his three starts, helped stabilize the offensive line in the SEC Championship Game and helped Alabama go for over 300 yards in the semifinals.

While it might have been easy to feel defeated and slack off at the start of the season, Seth’s competitive nature and character pushed him to show tremendous poise on one of the biggest stages. – the one the Wolves first-year player could only have dreamed of, but with a quiet integrity that has shaped his entire life.

“My parents are the most influential people in my life,” Seth said. “They have always provided a loving and supportive home to come home to every day. It is a blessing for which I am very grateful. They really made me the man I am today.

“I’m so grateful to the Buford community,” Seth said. “I would love to go back and experience winning the state championship my senior year. Looking up and seeing Hayden Olsen’s basket splitting the uprights and everyone rushing onto the court is a feeling I will never forget.

And Buford won’t forget you either, Seth. Whatever the school colors, we’ll all be cheering for you, especially in the biggest game of all.

Buford High School Alumni Spotlights are made possible through the generosity of the City of Buford.

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Nashville singer-songwriter remembers Marin’s childhood in new single https://micgillette.com/nashville-singer-songwriter-remembers-marins-childhood-in-new-single/ Fri, 21 Jan 2022 13:39:55 +0000 https://micgillette.com/nashville-singer-songwriter-remembers-marins-childhood-in-new-single/ As a teenager, singer-songwriter David Austin was inspired by the poetry of Bruce Springsteen’s early hymns about coming of age in New Jersey’s working-class urban grit. In his new single, ‘Cut Hunting’, the 25-year-old musician explores the same themes as Springsteen – young people seeking freedom and independence in an adult world – only Austin’s […]]]>

As a teenager, singer-songwriter David Austin was inspired by the poetry of Bruce Springsteen’s early hymns about coming of age in New Jersey’s working-class urban grit. In his new single, ‘Cut Hunting’, the 25-year-old musician explores the same themes as Springsteen – young people seeking freedom and independence in an adult world – only Austin’s ode to adolescence springs from his memories of growing up in the idyllic natural landscapes and safe suburban streets of wealthy Marin County.

“We’ve had bands like Journey and Train and the Grateful Dead and a lot of other bands that came out of Marin, but I don’t know if I can say a lot of them wrote strictly about Marin in a kind of poetic narrative style,” he says over the phone from his home in Nashville. “I kind of wanted to do that about how I grew up in Marin. It’s an absurdly beautiful place. I said, ‘I need to write about this. It’s my childhood.

As a child, Austin lived in Ross and began playing guitar and singing in student bands at Marin Country Day School.

“It was a great starting point,” he says. “It was a very open and free contemporary music program with rock and world music. In middle school I started playing classic rock and guitar, and being able to be in the school band and play AC/DC and Boston at school gigs was super cool. It got me going.

When he was 14, he went to boarding school on the East Coast and started writing original songs. During vacations and through the summer, he would come back to Marin, reunite with his old running buddies, and experience a kind of teenage culture shock.

“Living Two Lives”

An image from David Austin’s “Cut Hunting” music video.

“I felt like I was living two lives, going to a super strict boarding school with all these rules,” he says. “You had to check in by 11 p.m. on Saturday night. There wasn’t a lot of partying. And then I would come back to Marin and it would be, ‘Oh my God, you’re out until 2 a.m. every Friday and Saturday night.’ It was crazy.”

Where Austin and his pals went and what they did at those crazy weekend parties is what ‘Cut Hunting’ is, a mix of truth and fiction. The title comes from a slang phrase he overheard a friend use to describe driving and finding secluded places and hidden corners of the county to do what young people do when their parents and teachers aren’t around. not here. The name of the lyrics verifies Phoenix Lake as a particularly nice place to “get down”.

Thinking back to his teenage years, Austin fondly recalls that he and his young pals were fans of Bay Area rappers E-40, Too Short and Mac Dre, who rhymed about an urban subculture that was outside of the experience. of the average sailor. child. In a memorable line from “Cut Hunting,” Austin sings, “Well, I know I’m just a white Marin boy. I had redwood dirt smeared on my skin.

Chance encounter

After high school, Austin earned a music degree from the University of Southern California and lived in Los Angeles for a few years before a chance meeting in Marin led him to move to Nashville. He was playing on a bench near the College of Marin when Novato restaurateur and songwriter Robin Lindsey overheard him and put him in touch with his brother, the Nashville country music producer, Chris Lindsey.

“He’s definitely the real deal,” says Robin Lindsey.

A singer-songwriter who plays acoustic guitar, Austin has spent the past year recording a dozen new songs in Lindsey’s studio for a second album, “Carolina Blue,” which will be released in early summer. This follows an eight-song debut track, “Southwood Waltz”, named after the street in Ross where he and his family lived when he was growing up.

David Austin’s next song, “Cut Hunting”, is a mix of truth and fiction.

Sidelined for much of the past two years due to the pandemic (he’s recovered from two bouts of COVID-19), Austin and his four-piece band kick off a Northeast tour in February . He will be in the Bay Area on February 19 for a concert at The Brick & Mortar in San Francisco.

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Am I Too Old To Learn Guitar? https://micgillette.com/am-i-too-old-to-learn-guitar/ Sat, 08 Jan 2022 11:54:39 +0000 https://micgillette.com/am-i-too-old-to-learn-guitar/ By Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers If you’re worried that you’ve waited too long to get started, don’t worry and read on for tips and encouragement for learning guitar at any age. Is there an optimal age to learn guitar? There really isn’t – nor is there a perfect age for everyone to get married, have kids, […]]]>


By Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers

If you’re worried that you’ve waited too long to get started, don’t worry and read on for tips and encouragement for learning guitar at any age.

Is there an optimal age to learn guitar?

There really isn’t – nor is there a perfect age for everyone to get married, have kids, or play tennis. We all live and learn on our own schedules, and the simplest answer is that we are ready to take the guitar when we are ready to take the guitar, when we have the desire, the energy and the time.

Of course, our age and stage in life greatly affect the learning process. Children learn fast, with high energy, flexible limbs, and a knack for imitating what they see. But Marcy Marxer, who along with Cathy Fink has been teaching and entertaining children and adults for decades, points out that some things can be more difficult at a young age. “The coordination and dexterity required to play the guitar is often more of a challenge for children than for adults,” she says, “so they have to be patient because it can take a little longer. But the only thing kids have is time: they tend to have more free time than adults.

“Adults have other advantages of listening for longer,” she adds. “I once had a student in her 50s who was playing guitar for the first time. She wanted to learn swing music, so we went in that direction, and all she needed to know was how to play a few chords – she automatically knew how to put them together from their sound. She was like: Oh, it’s like that song or that song. This life experience really helped her.

Carol McComb, veteran teacher and performer and author of Country and blues guitar for the musically desperate, observe that certain aspects of the guitar tend to be easier to learn at certain ages. She says, “For example, playing fingering is difficult for young people; I don’t think they developed the motor coordination, overall, to do it. Some kids are unusual and agree with it. Adolescents become very coordinated from around the age of 12. This coordination remains in adulthood, but she finds that some students over 60, especially those with arthritis, have difficulty learning basic techniques with their fingers.

Due to the guitar’s close kinship with rock’n’roll, many of us begin playing in our teens, a time when we (potentially) have not only coordination, but motivation and motivation as well. schedule to devote countless hours listening, practicing, and leaning on guitar magazines – Bill Purse calls hungry young students as these “legends of their own room”. Of course, that same source of energy can easily be diverted to a number of other activities, leaving the method manual or the lessons unfinished.

According to Purse, it all comes down to engagement. If we’d rather shop, fly fish, or surf than play the guitar, we probably won’t go far with the instrument. But if we, regardless of our age, are truly determined to get music out of those six strings, we will.

Any advice for a newbie adult with a job and a family?

As an adult, you might well envy all the kids learning the guitar, with reserves of time, energy, and confidence in their ability to conquer the six-string beast. But you also have special advantages. As Marcy Marxer noted, your years of listening have given you a lot of intuitive knowledge about the structure and traditions of music, as well as an idea of ​​the specific style (s) you want to play. Your experience mastering so many new skills, from driving a car to job responsibilities to parenting, has undoubtedly given you some insight into the best ways to learn – a lesson you can apply to this. new quest.

And while you may have passed up the opportunity to be a child prodigy or a teenager, it’s never too late to start. Ask any teacher. Cathy Fink talks about a favorite student who learned guitar at age 55. “I walked around the room and asked all the newbies what they were doing in the classroom,” she recalls. “This guy said, ‘Well I looked at my dad when he retired and he was feeling lonely and bored. It’s not going to happen to me, so I have a guitar. ‘”Too bad this man’s dad doesn’t know the 90-year-old couple who once took Carol McComb’s debut class at a music camp!

As a newbie adult you need to strategize about time first – this project will require regular commitment. To be realistic; There is no point in setting a goal of training three hours a day if there is no hope of it. If you are taking lessons, immediately discuss time issues with your teacher. Your gaming sessions don’t have to be long: Effective 20-minute training sessions that address specific, achievable goals are more effective than hours of mindless noodles. So reserve small chunks of time at frequent intervals for you and your guitar, and protect them. Finding a space at home where your kids won’t climb on your back while you play isn’t a bad idea either.

There are so many ways to learn guitar these days, from books, videos, and apps to private and group lessons to music camps, that you can surely find one that fits your schedule and needs. your personality. (Check out our guide to the best websites and apps for learning guitar.) Plus, you have more options than a kid, given that you hold the purse strings and likely have wheels.

Many adults are inclined to study on their own, and there is nothing wrong with that. But many teachers highly recommend group lessons, jams, and music camps as a way to speed up learning and have fun at the same time. (Check out our guide to planning your summer camp getaway.) The opportunity to play with just one other person can bring huge rewards. I know several parents who have decided to start playing guitar with their children, a special experience for all.


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Remember that whenever we learn something new we have to allow ourselves to be clumsy and clumsy for a while. Children are more used to it, while adults tend to focus on activities that they are familiar with and can do competently and unconsciously. Jimmy Tomasello, who teaches a wide range of guitar lessons at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago, notes that “people who take adult lessons are a little insecure. And they want to be right – it’s a lie when you learn something. The more mistakes you make, the closer you get to the goals you set for yourself. So let go, take risks and most of all, enjoy the incomparable experience of learning to make music with your own hands.

More resources for adult beginner guitarists from master teachers to Acoustic guitar magazine:

the Acoustic guitar method is the only beginner’s guitar method based on traditional American music that teaches you authentic songs and techniques. From the folk, blues and old music of yesterday, rock, country and jazz of today were born. You can now begin to understand, play and enjoy these essential traditions and styles on the instrument that truly represents American music, the acoustic guitar.

You want to start playing guitar on the right foot so that you can quickly enjoy all the fun and satisfaction that music brings. This useful book is full of advice from master guitar teachers to Acoustic guitar, which shows you the right way to play chords, songs, and solos with six essential lessons and audio accompaniment. You’ll also get answers to dozens of questions about buying, owning, and starting your guitar. The best way to have fun with the world’s most popular instrument is to get some solid advice and instruction right from the start, and Teach yourself the basics of the guitar is the perfect companion to start your musical journey.

Book cover for "Teach yourself the basics of the guitar" by Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers with subtitle "Learn how to choose, buy and maintain a guitar.  Plus 6 lessons on how to play your first chords and songs"

learn guitar - information and tips for learning to play the acoustic guitar
Want more information and advice on learning to play the guitar? Click here.

How old were you when you first started playing? What tools have you found most useful to start your guitar learning journey? Give us your suggestions, stories and questions!


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Listen to Edgar’s winter cover ‘Johnny B. Goode’ with Joe Walsh https://micgillette.com/listen-to-edgars-winter-cover-johnny-b-goode-with-joe-walsh/ Fri, 07 Jan 2022 15:49:42 +0000 https://micgillette.com/listen-to-edgars-winter-cover-johnny-b-goode-with-joe-walsh/ Edgar Winter has released the first song on an upcoming tribute album to his late brother, Johnny Winter: a cover of “Johnny B. Goode” by Chuck Berry. The new track, which you can hear below, stars Joe Walsh, as well as guitarist David Grissom, who has performed with John Mellencamp, the Chicks and Joe Ely. […]]]>


Edgar Winter has released the first song on an upcoming tribute album to his late brother, Johnny Winter: a cover of “Johnny B. Goode” by Chuck Berry.

The new track, which you can hear below, stars Joe Walsh, as well as guitarist David Grissom, who has performed with John Mellencamp, the Chicks and Joe Ely.

“To this day, when I think of rock ‘n’ roll, I think of Chuck Berry and ‘Johnny B. Goode’,” Winter explained in a press release announcing Brother johnny. “It’s not just Johnny’s story, but also the story of every kid who ever bought a guitar, coming from humble beginnings with the idea of ​​someday growing it. So, of course, this must be on this album. “

According to Winter, he dreamed of being able to do the song with Walsh. “Joe and I go back to the ’70s, playing concerts together when he was in the James Gang,” he noted. The duo recorded their vocals at Walsh’s home studio. “I made her sing the second verse and do the harmonies on the chorus ‘Go, Johnny, Go’, and just like that my dream came true. Thank you, Joe, for taking time off your schedule. loaded up with the Eagles and your radio show to make this special duet. It reminded me of when Johnny and I used to sing it together, and I felt like the good old days. “

The Winter brothers grew up in Beaumont, Texas and started playing music at a young age, but Edgar remembers a local talent show that gave them their chance. “It was called the Johnny Melody contest, and the top prize was the chance to make your own record,” he said. “I guess I was 11 or 12, and Johnny about 14 or 15. We had our very first band called Johnny and the Jammers, and the best song we knew was ‘Johnny B. Goode.’ So we went in, we went on, we played it, we won and made our first record – a song that Johnny wrote called “School Day Blues.” And like they say, the rest is part of it. ‘story.”

Brother johnny is slated for April 15 and includes appearances by Joe Bonamassa, Billy Gibbons, Taylor Hawkins, Warren Haynes, Steve Lukather, Michael McDonald, Ringo Starr, Derek Trucks, Waddy Wachtel and more.

“My deepest and deepest thanks to all the great, fantastic and amazing artists for their incredible heartfelt performances,” said Winter. “You touched our hearts on behalf of Johnny and the Winter family.”

Top 100 classic rock artists

Click to see how they rank, as we count the top 100 classic rock artists.


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Meet Cait Devin: The Guitar Community’s Most Charitable New Player | Guitar.com https://micgillette.com/meet-cait-devin-the-guitar-communitys-most-charitable-new-player-guitar-com/ Fri, 31 Dec 2021 09:30:25 +0000 https://micgillette.com/meet-cait-devin-the-guitar-communitys-most-charitable-new-player-guitar-com/ At just 20 years old, Cait Devin is already climbing the industry ladder. Although she is a passionate singer-songwriter in her own right, the shredded collaborations she hosts through YouTube have not just been fundraisers for charity, but impressive mini-concerts where she has performed. been joined by some of social media’s most notable players and […]]]>


At just 20 years old, Cait Devin is already climbing the industry ladder. Although she is a passionate singer-songwriter in her own right, the shredded collaborations she hosts through YouTube have not just been fundraisers for charity, but impressive mini-concerts where she has performed. been joined by some of social media’s most notable players and musicians, from Michael Angelo Batio to Lexi Rose, and more.

We tell her about the use of music to relieve health problems, her latest Shred collaboration, Jams For Benefits, and her recent single, jokes about you.

How long have you been playing guitar?

“I bought my first acoustic guitar when I was 14 and started playing acoustic concerts regularly when I was 15. When I was around 17, I started playing solo guitar and formed a hard rock band, and that’s where I got a lot of experience. After that, I decided to contact my favorite players, hoping to work with them. But lead has always been my second voice.

Since then you have organized numerous charity shred collaborations. Why haven’t you pursued a more linear solo career?

“Experiencing an illness like trigeminal neuralgia has really opened my eyes to what other health issues can really be struggling with. So, it really inspired me to do some charity work so that my projects can also benefit those in need. I have a main solo career alongside my guitar work – I’ve been a singer-songwriter since the very beginning of my career. I would consider the shred collaborations and things as a side project, but a very, very worthy project that I’m proud of.

What can you tell us about your future collaborations and projects?

“I’ve organized three mega shredding collaborations and a few more, including Vinnie Moore and Andy James. This next event will be called Jams for Benefits and it will be a multi-week concert series. I’ve partnered up with a new artist streaming platform called The Avenue, artists like Rikki Lee and Sarah Longfield have already made their own streams there. It’s a great place to build an audience.

“The event will open with a series of independent and underground artists and headliners, including Bill Hudson of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Michael Angelo Batio, Lexi Rose and many more. Each feed will have a tip jar attached and the proceeds will go to the Facial Pain Association – a link will be shareable for viewers to tune in – and they essentially provide resources for patients like me with trigeminal neuralgia. If you don’t know what it is, it is a severe chronic nerve pain that affects the trigeminal nerve that carries sensation from the face to the brain. More details and the full lineup will be announced later in October. “

What do you learn by collaborating with confirmed guitarists? Have you ever felt the pressure of being a rising and rising woman?

“Honestly, I don’t feel any pressure. I’m just happy to be here! I take tabs for a few solos from different people, and just go over exactly what they’re playing, so I’m definitely picking up a few guitar hits again. The more melodies in my brain, the better!

Who influences your sound as a guitarist?

“I have explored many genres. My recent single, jokes about you, has a very alternative pop touch with elements of hip hop and rock, I think that’s where I’m headed. I feel like I’ve found a sound in which I can express myself freely and be the most authentic. I was in the rock business for a long time – and I still consider myself given that I host all of these genre-based projects – but I’m open to artists of all kinds and try to think outside the box. I love songwriters like Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift, but I’m also a huge fan of Doja Cat, The Weeknd, and Grimes. When it comes to my game, I have so many people that I admire who have influenced me, some that I can now call my friends including Sophie Burrell, Nita Strauss, Angel Vivaldi and many more!

Do you see future projects following a similar theme or going in a different direction?

“Alternative pop is definitely where my heart is – often accompanied by a few guitar riffs. I’m a lover of all styles and because of who I am as an artist I try my best not to label. But I’m really happy with where I am.

What are your goals as a guitarist and composer?

“I want to continue to fundraise for good causes – making music just for myself alone is sort of in vain. It is one of my goals for the future to eventually be signed and join a great team. And that doesn’t mean I can’t be a freelance artist forever – it’s definitely more than doable and fun – but being part of that “family” vibe would be cool. Of course, I have to tackle my illness a little more, but I am confident that I will get better and come back to life!

Cait Devin’s new single, jokes about you, is now available. Visit caitdevin.com for more information on its Jams For Benefits.


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