Friday, June 29, 2007

3 Doors Down Away From The Sun Rock Music CD Review

The extremely talented group 3 Doors Down have released their latest CD on the Universal Records recording label, entitled Away From The Sun.

It's a rare day indeed that I get a CD from an artist that I can truthfully say does not have a bad track in the bunch. I'm more than happy to announce that's exactly what I must say about this one. There simply is NOT a bad one in the bunch. No fillers here at all.

Refreshingly, this was one of those CDs I was able to just pop in and comfortably listen to from beginning to end. Every track is enjoyable and was pretty easy for me to listen to from start to finish.

Away From The Sun is a nicely varied, mix of 11 tracks that are very well written and brilliantly performed songs by these clearly superb musicians. Most of the songs display a lot of the kind emotion that makes for a really great listen. Clearly drawing from what I can only imagine are their own real life experiences. At different points touching on the most real emotions of love, heartbreak, pain, failed relationships and unattainable romance. They're all here.

Listen to and I think you'll agree that the song choices are excellent, the production is outstanding and 3 Doors Down is clearly a group that is in top form.

While the entire CD is really very good the truly standout tunes are track 2 - Away From The Sun, track 3 - The Road I'm On, and track 10 - Going Up In Flames.

My SmoothLee Bonus Pick, and the one that got Sore [ in "Stuck On REpeat"] is track 5 - Running Out Of Days. Good stuff!

Away From The Sun Release Notes:

3 Doors Down originally released Away From The Sun on Nov 12, 2002 on the Universal Records label.

CD Track List Follows:

1. When I'm Gone

2. Away From The Sun

3. Road I'm On, The

4. Ticket To Heaven

5. Running Out Of Days

6. Here Without You

7. I Feel You

8. Dangerous Game

9. Changes

10. Going Down In Flames

11. Sarah Yellin'

12. untitled - (hidden track)

3 Doors Down: Brad Arnold (vocals); Matt Roberts, Chris Henderson (guitar); Todd Harrell (bass). Additional personnel includes: Josh Freese (drums). Recorded at London Bridge, Seattle, Washington; Greenhouse, Burnaby, Canada and Ocean Way Studios, Hollywood, California.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Correct Approach When Learning How To Play Guitar

Guitar playing skill should be on autopilot

The most important first step to any kind of musical ability is mastering the playing technique on your instrument. whether it's guitar, piano, sax, anything really. One should get as much technique as possible. This may seem obvious, but it is the downfall of many good musicians, that would otherwise have been great.

Forget about playing other peoples music for a while, learning how to play their songs etc.

Okay, there is a small concession to make. If you are using someone else's music for the sake of learning a particular lesson, for example, getting familiar with chords and practicing changing chords faster, then that's still okay. The problem comes in when one learns other peoples solos and runs, guitar riffs etc, but haven't taken the time to really learn the fretboard and scales. I'm going to talk more about the guitar here, because I'm a guitarist, and because guitarists are "My people". Let me just say, that there's no such thing as a rhythm guitarist. Before you get too far along with guitar lessons, you'll realize that the way to be the best rhythm guitarist, is to learn how to play lead guitar as well.

Get as much technical ability going as you can by learning to play scales, in their entirety, up and down the fretboard, so that the various patterns that make up the scales are etched into your memory. You will notice later on how the different chords fit into that scale. This has a very positive effect on your ability to write songs, as well as your understanding of what you are doing within a song. Hone your technical ability to the point where your fingers know what to do, and where to go even before you do.

Half of playing the guitar is confidence

This is where playing guitar really becomes quite beautiful. Get as much technique as you can, and then forget it. It will be that you simply intend for something to happen, and your fingers take care of the rest. The reason I'm telling you all this, is because I have known guitarists who learned other peoples riffs and solo's, could play them perfectly, but when it came time to do their own thing on the guitar, where at a loss because they had a very limited understanding of the fretboard, had only practiced their scales in a few positions on the fretboard or had settled for learning only the pentatonic scale. Be the creative force on the guitar. Why settle for just regurgitating someone else's creativity. Blaze a trail across the fretboard, going where you want, when you want, as fast as you want, without regard for consequence. I have done things on the guitar that I myself couldn't fathom or repeat. that's because my guitar playing is on autopilot.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Free Legal Music Downloads - Should They Be DRM Free Too?

It's what everybody's after; free, legal music downloads. In many cases it's not only the fact that people want free downloads, it's that they want their music to be unencumbered by DRM restrictions. Once they've downloaded their music, people want the ability to transport it to as many of their playback devices as they wish. The typical downloader today has a laptop, at least one desktop machine, a portable MP3 player, and possible an MP3 / WMA enabled head unit in their vehicle(s). Most consumers would like to be able to burn their music onto a CD for archival or playback on other devices that don't support any of the download formats, like a traditional CD player.

The requirements of DRM that limited them from being able to freely use their music in any or all of these devices was a prime consideration in their desire to obtain free, legal music downloads. It's typically not all about the money. There's more in play when it comes to downloads. After all, consumers have shown time and again they are more than willing to pay a fair price for a product or service if it meets their needs and expectations.

A 2005 survey of European Internet consumers by the Indicare Project revealed that 40% listened to music on MP3 players and 69% listened to music on their computers, but many were confused by DRM restrictions. Most surveyed expected to be able to transfer and burn their music downloads, and were "confused and annoyed" when unable to. With the rising popularity of not only music downloads, but the increasing popularity of video and movie downloads, this problem is likely to grow worse.

The recent announcement that and EMI that they would be releasing legal music downloads with no DRM restrictions seems to bear out the fact that such restrictions are actually of dubious benefit to the recording and movie industries, despite vicious prosecution of many downloaders by industry associations such as the RIAA. In fact EMI is the 4th largest record label group in the world, and you can be sure they have studied the DRM / downloading issue ad nausem.

The reality of the situation is that consumers want to be able to do with their downloads as they please, especially if they've paid for them, and the restrictions posed by DRM are actually hurting the industry. Unless it can be shown that a substantial percentage of those who availed themselves of free music downloads would have actually purchased similar content had they not downloaded the music some other way, the music industry will suffer by continuing to impose such restrictions. Actually the number of people who avoid DRM encumbered, legal downloads altogether due to portability issues will continue to contribute to the decline in music sales, when music downloads should be creating a much larger revenue stream for the recording industry and the artists.