The Best Guitarist You Never Heard Of: Save “Awesome” For Beppe Gambetta

After I had the honor and pleasure of opening, with two fellow local musicians, for Beppe Gambetta’s modest Lopez Island show, several friends of mine told me I was “awesome.”

Thanks, guys, but seriously–let’s apply that “A-word” more carefully, shall we?

If you’ve heard of Beppe Gambetta, good for you. I hadn’t, till he toured out here a few years ago. Since then I’ve become familiar with the delightful story of this 11 year-old Italian kid who somehow got his hands on a Doc Watson record, over in Genova, and had his life changed by the ol’ flatpicker from Deep Gap, North Carolina. Beppe, with zero background in anything but traditional Italian music, started practicing, and kept on practicing…till he learned to do THIS:  (note–keep watching; he speeds up as he goes!)

If you check out Beppe’s website and his music, you’ll see that he actually does way more than “just” American-style bluegrass flatpicking. He plays traditional and modern Italian music, composes his own melodies, and sings in four different languages. 

Check Beppe’s tour schedule (he and his delightful wife Federica tour all but 100 days per year–year after year!). If he’s playing anywhere near you, get tickets IMMEDIATELY. And save up your use of the word “awesome” till you see him play live.

Grazie.

 

The Gift of Confidence: “Gretchen Wing with Chicken Biscuit” Now Feels…Legit

meThis is what I’m doing tonight:

This is my second annual “Gretchen Wing With Chicken Biscuit” concert. The year before we were simply Chicken Biscuit. Then I started writing songs, and something changed.The story’s a little longer than that, but I’ve told it before.

Right now, I just want to compare two Gretchens:

October 2012
Lopez Community Member: “So, you’re giving a concert?”
Gretchen: “Yeah, I know, it feels so weird, I can’t believe I’m actually asking people to pay money to come hear me, I’m just, you know, I’ve never done anything like this before.”

November 2013
Lopez Community Member: “So hey, another concert?”
Gretchen: “Yup! So excited! Hope you’re coming!”

What changed? I’m only a marginally better guitar player than I was a year ago, and I have a long way to go before I reach the level of the wonderful Biscuits who play with me. My voice is probably a little stronger, from a year’s worth of singing.

But the main ingredient of change is CONFIDENCE. By now enough people have told me I am a good singer and a good songwriter that I have finally stopped thinking they are all extra-nice folks with low standards.

I believe I’m good: therefore I am. WHOA. Talk about a life-changing Blinding Flash of the Obvious.

I could probably run with this theme, and who knows where it would take me? But I’m kinda in a hurry here…gotta walk the dog and get the house ready for the post-performance party before heading into town for set-up and sound-checks. (I meant to post this yesterday, but our internet went bye-bye…so it goes!)

So I’ll close with the obvious question: Have YOU had an experience where someone telling you you could do something made it happen? Are you having such an experience now? Please tell me all about it!

 

What’s Your Happy Song? Civil Wars’ “Barton Hollow”: Not Too Happy, But Boy it Works For Me

Do you have a happy song?

You know what I mean. That song that shoots a stream of energy into your blood and makes your body start moving no matter how tired you are at work, or how long you’ve been sitting in traffic.
It doesn’t have to be happy. Mine isn’t. For some reason, whenever my co-worker Ty plays his “Stompgrass” playlist in the bakery and “Barton Hollow” comes on, I have to dance in the middle of rolling out butterhorn dough. It’s a pretty bleak song. Doesn’t matter.

I’m not going to analyze a thing about beat or harmony or the effect of those Southern lyrics on my North Carolina soul. I’m just going to share the song and let you see what I mean:

And then of course I have to ask: What’s your Happy Song? Maybe I can get Ty to add it to his playlist.