Robben Ford Brining It Back Home Mascot Label Group Over the course of his 40-plus year career, Robben Ford has survived within a niche that is just jazzy enough for

Robben Ford
Brining It Back Home
Mascot Label Group


Over the course of his 40-plus year career, Robben Ford has survived within a niche that is just jazzy enough for the beboppers and yet still contains enough soulful string bending for the hardcore blues hounds. With Bringing it All Back Home, he eschews his penchant for jazz-bop and instead presents a collection of blues and R&B tunes that focuses on the emotional content rather than guitar pyrotechnics. Even though he is quite a prolific composer, Ford decided to dig deep into the history of American music for the source material with only two originals on the album. Everything from Charlie Patton and Allen Toussaint to Big Joe Williams and Bob Dylan are covered here and masterfully interpreted by a group of A-list musicians that includes organist Larry Goldings and drummer Harvey Mason.

Relying entirely on the neck pickup of his 1963 Epiphone Riviera, Ford’s tone throughout the album is the unifying thread here. It also provides a complete argument for the musical cliché that “it’s all in your hands.” During his solo on “Bird’s Nest Bound,” you hear everything from crystal clear rhythm stabs à la Cropper to just a hint of breakup when he digs into some mean double-stops. Each track has the looseness of a jam session but refrains from the extended over-soloing–only the instrumental “On That Morning” extends over six minutes. Ford breaks out some Wes-style octaves for the head while Goldings lays down some of the most tasteful B-3 fills since Jimmy Smith’s Christmas album. With this album, Ford has found the right mix of vibe, tone, and material—not an easy task. —Jason Shadrick
Must-hear track: “Trick Bag”

Rig Rundown: Adam Shoenfeld

Whether in the studio or on solo gigs, the Nashville session-guitar star holds a lotta cards, with guitars and amps for everything he’s dealt.

Adam Shoenfeld has helped shape the tone of modern country guitar. How? Well, the Nashville-based session star, producer, and frontman has played on hundreds of albums and 45 No. 1 country hits, starting with Jason Aldean’s “Hicktown,” since 2005. Plus, he’s found time for several bands of his own as well as the first studio album under his own name, All the Birds Sing, which drops January 28.

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Diatonic sequences are powerful tools. Here’s how to use them wisely.

Advanced

Beginner

• Understand how to map out the neck in seven positions.
• Learn to combine legato and picking to create long phrases.
• Develop a smooth attack—even at high speeds.

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Knowing how to function in different keys is crucial to improvising in any context. One path to fretboard mastery is learning how to move through positions across the neck. Even something as simple as a three-note-per-string major scale can offer loads of options when it’s time to step up and rip. I’m going to outline seven technical sequences, each one focusing on a position of a diatonic major scale. This should provide a fun workout for the fingers and hopefully inspire a few licks of your own.
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