Saturday, July 14, 2007

Book Review: Guitar Man: A Six-String Odyssey

Guitar Man: A Six-String Odyssey. A book review by KXCI's Dr. Dan.

The author, Will Hodgkinson, lives in England with his wife and two young children and is in his mid-thirties. He is a freelance journalist, writing for the likes of The Guardian, Mojo, Vogue, and The Daily Telegraph. Hodgkinson loves the guitar, but has never picked up the instrument. Inspired by Davey Graham’s “Anji,” Hodgkinson decides to learn the play the guitar, but even more interesting, commits to a debut concert in only 6 months time.

Using his music industry contacts, he approaches several musicians and asks them for tips on how to play. Artists such as Chan Marshall (Cat Power), Devendra Banhart, and James Williamson from The Stooges. He even gets a guitar lesson from several of these independent artists.

He plans a trip to the States to tour several important guitar-centered sites. On his first stop, he lands in Florida just as a huge hurricane is bearing down on Orlando, but still manages to get The Byrds’ Roger McGuinn to teach him Eight Miles High as McGuinn’s wife Camilla prepares to evacuate their home. He travels to a crossroad in Clarksdale, Mississipi, and prepares to sell his soul to the devil just as Robert Johnson is said to have done. He gets a private lesson from Fat Possum’s Model T. Ford, who did not pick up a guitar until well into his fifties.

For the guitar enthusiast, or music aficionado, this book provides an interesting look into the history of the guitar and how it has contributed to folk and rock n roll. Most importantly, it provides a ray of hope to those of us trying to learn the guitar, or advance our playing, well into mid-life.

KXCI recieves a percentage of any purchase placed via a link on the KXCI website...Thanks!


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