Pete Kennedy releases "Tone, Twang, and Taste" an all instrumental CD celebrating pre-rock electric guitar.
Electric guitars were invented in the 1930's to accomodate the big sound put out by large swing bands. Guitarists soon discovered that the instrument had a voice all its own, and top players in jazz, blues, country and rockabilly gravitated to the sound, led by musical and electronic pioneer Les Paul. The instrument didn't enter mainstream culture as a iconic and creative luxury item until The Beatles wielded them on The Ed Sullivan Show, launching an avalanche of sales to everone from kids jamming in the garage to high powered wolves of Wall Street with money to burn on expensive toys. This followed on the heels of a beatnick/coffeehouse singer interest in acoustic guitars, but the gap between the 1930's and the 1960's raises an interesting question: who were the guitar players before the folk boom and Beatlemania, before Hendrix and Clapton? What music did they play, what did they sound like, and how did they influence the guitar heroes of the boomer generation?
Pete has spent years studying these players, meeting with the ones who still played and those who wanted to pass along their largely forgotten style (Les Paul once said, "Most people think I'm a guitar!") It turned out to be a labor of love, because the level of sophistication of the pre-rock players, who combined jazz, country and early rock'n'roll with a solid grounding in musical theory and technique, was matched by their sense of fun and humor, and that all came across in the clean, bright tones and lyrical chops of the era...a sound quite distinct from the Claptonesque rock that has dominated the guitar world in recent decades.
Les Paul, Chet Atkins and Django Reinhardt are names that might be known to the general public, although their music probably remains unheard by most. Johnny Smith, Tal Farlow, Hank Garland, Lenny Breau, Mary Osborne, Tony Mottola, Lonnie Johnson, Leon Rhodes...the list goes on and on of top players who are nowadays known only to a small circle of guitarists, but to discover them is not only an adventure in American music's colorful past, but also a joyful plunge into a sound so fresh that it remains new today, preserved in amber from around 1959...the era of Tone, Twang, and Taste!
Tone, Twang, and Taste by Pete Kennedy
Here are some early reviews:
"Pete has come up with another winner, this new 38-minute 14-track album. Pete plays at least NINE different acoustic and electric guitars and ukulele, mandolin and even drums. There is only one live track (“Seven Come Eleven”) where is is accompanied by another guitarist (Danny Gatton) and bass. And you’d also know that the song is one of two that Pete composed. All the rest are songs made famous by Les Paul, Merle Travis, Charlie Christian, Django Reinhardt and others. Pete is one of the best “twangers” out there in my opinion (Bill Kirchen and Redd Volkeart are the others; I even prefer them to Duane Eddy)....If ever there was an album that will get you motivated and moving around the house this is one of them. It’s that much fun."
-Steven Ramm, Amazon.com
UK's Guitar & Bass Magazine says:
“A heartfelt tribute to the players who pioneered instrumental guitar music between 1930 and 1960, brilliantly rendered by a man lucky enough to have met and traded licks with many of those greats. Chet Atkins, Les Paul, Django Reinhardt, Charlie Christian and Hank Garland are all honoured with superb technique and empathy; it’s a labour of love that informs and entertains, and also shows off Kennedy’s skills.”