It may be his best guitar record yet, and the specialness lies in that it isn’t only that.

ALBUM

John Butler Trio
Flesh and Blood
Vanguard Records

Aussie roots virtuoso John Butler is known for his masterful lap-steel talent, as well as his unusual preference for playing acoustic guitars through a variety of pedals and distorted Marshall amps. But when it comes to the playing of stringed instruments, he virtually does it all, and extremely well at that, with a rare air of originality. JBT carved a niche in the jam-blues circuit with the success of Sunrise Over Sea in 2004, and has since built a following with accessible songwriting and experimental multi-instrumentalism that includes Australia’s beloved didgeridoo.

So it should be no surprise that this album is richly textured, going from clean to feeding-back 12-string fingerstyle excursions, and then to Weissenborn–fueled exclamations (“Livin’ in the City” and “Devil Woman”), while the last quarter of the album moves to a mellower, more melodically haunting pace. It may be his best guitar record yet, and the specialness lies in that it isn’t only that.

Must-hear tracks: “Livin’ in the City,” “Young and Wild”

Photo by cottonbro

Intermediate

Intermediate

  • Demonstrate a variety of drone guitar techniques and approaches.
  • Examine drone points of reference from an array of genres.
  • Learn how to use standard, drop D, and uncommon alternate tunings in drone contexts.

Playing a melody or solo with a “drone” means playing over just one note or, in some instances, one chord. Besides playing without any harmonic accompaniment, it is about as simple a concept as one can image, which also means the possibilities are endless. We’ll look at ways to use drones in a variety of contexts, from ancient to contemporary, blues to metal, traditional to experimental.

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See a sampling of picks used by famous guitarists over the years.

Marty Stuart

Submit your own artist pick collections to rebecca@premierguitar.com for inclusion in a future gallery.

How does a legacy artist stay on top of his game? The pianist, hit singer-songwriter, producer, and composer talks about the importance of musical growth and positive affirmation; his love for angular melodicism; playing jazz, pop, classical, bluegrass, jam, and soundtrack music; and collaborating with his favorite guitarists, including Pat Metheny and Jerry Garcia.

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