Jun29

Right TurnClyde @ The "All New" Right TurnClyde Experience at The Bridgewater Summerfest

The "All New" Right TurnClyde Experience at The Bridgewater Summerfest, Bridgewater, PA

Sat June 29th .. the "All New" Right TurnClyde Experience is playing the 2024 Bridgewater Summerfest River Stage ... The Bridgewater Summerfest is in conjunction with all the area "river side" communities tied into the big Butler Fireworks show.

This is going to be a blast .. high energy horn driven rock and roll leading up to the biggest fireworks show in the area. This is going to rock !!!!

The Right TurnClyde Experiences - Chapter Two / How did I learn to play guitar and why 

I tried and failed with guitar twice! - Now, on my third attempt and with the help of the internet and Rocksmith 2014 I’ve pushed through that first year (or two!) ‘pain and frustration’ barrier. There’s no going back now. I am no longer a twice thwarted guitarist - I am loving it.

1988 aged 20 I lived in West London and found myself in London’s famous Denmark Street gazing at a cool looking Japanese Les Paul copy that looked just like the one on ZZ Top’s early bluesy album cover. Somehow this guitar found its way home with me along with a Peavey Rage 158 practice amp. However I was living in a barrack room at the time and felt very self conscious of my loud crappy playing. I had a friend who was learning acoustic guitar at about the same time, taking lessons from Celtic guitarist Peter Chalmers. He progressed with finger style really quickly and through him and Peter I discovered folk and country blues. I lost interest in the electric guitar in favour of my harmonica with which I’d jam with my mate. I was able to practice harmonica throughout the day (even when I was working) so eventually the unused guitar/amp combo got part exchanged for a decrepit old VW beetle.

About a decade later, I somehow acquired a cheap Yamaha dreadnaught acoustic and resolved to follow in my old friends footsteps. However formal lessons weren’t my thing and I didn’t progress much beyond a few chords before disaster struck. Glastonbury festival; some drunk sprawled onto my tent, flattening both it and my guitar inside :’-(

Wind forward another 20 years; in the mean time I had never lost my passion for music and had tried my hand at a number of different instruments. I learned that if I stick at it, it takes me about seven years at whatever I try to get ‘good enough’ to please myself and non-musician listeners - Harmonica, Flute/Tinwhistle, Bodhran.
I was ‘struggling’ with a mandolin I had been left by an emigrating friend. There is the internet now and I found myself viewing blues guitar lessons with way more enthusiasm than mandolin lessons. I also came across the Rocksmith guitar trainer/game and it was this that motivated me to attempt the guitar again. I found an old unwanted electric guitar on freecycle and this time I stuck at it. In two years I have progressed faster and farther than I ever imagined possible back in analog times. I can fingerpick and improvise albeit at a basic level. I play along with friends now and have guitar buddy who complains that I’m gotten ”annoyingly good” in just the same way as I regarded my old friend decades before.

What I’ve learned is that (1) making practice a habitual routine, like meditation or yoga, really pays off over time. I make sure I pick that thing up every day. Even if it’s just 15 minutes to run through a tune once. (2) I’ve learned to recognise when I come to a plateau - I used to think “That’s it, this is as far as I can progress. I’m never going to get any better, I’m a musical failure. I don’t have The “Gift” of music” I know now to KEEP GOING! Rome wasn’t built in a day. So I change things about a bit; switch from acoustic to electric or back, focus on chords or melody; spend some time on theory (I got a little midi keyboard for this); I listen to different genres for inspiration.

A plateau always ends in breakthrough. I can’t say this enough. It is ALL about practice, patience, practice, persistence and practice, NOT talent! - I try to be kind to myself, forgive my mistakes (glide through them) and not compare myself to the professionals or so-called prodigies (they’ve all put in countless more hours than us and it’s not a contest anyhow!).

This is what motivates me to stick at it. I know from the experience of learning other instruments, that so long as I keep pushing there’s always the next breakthrough to look forward to.

Playing in a Band - Looking at Life on the inside out - Part 1 

It's super easy to get caught up in the excitement of playing in a fairly popular band. For the past 10 years our band, Right TurnClyde has been riding the wave of being a well known act in the Pittsburgh area. But to be honest it wasn't always that way. 

It all started after going thru several auditions, crash and burning thru them. You see I thought I was hot after playing for a few years in a local worship team playing for a church , 2 services a Sunday. Pastor was switched out and the contemporary music program was discontinued. I thought I was really good only to find out .. I wasn't  

I thought I could try my hand at playing in a “real” cover band. So after after a series of auditions I realized I sucked. So what do you do in this situation .. practice. 

So after trying again and again I still struck out. Then out of no where I answered a Craigs list ad which in turn landing me a rhythm guitar gig with a fairly popular Pittsburgh area country act. That was a ton of fun and very educational. Then .. the band disbanded. I was like - what's next ?   Do I audition all over again or do I create an acoustic duo act … well I decided to create a duo. Something that we could do Happy Hours small groups etc.     

 

Thus the beginning of Right TurnClyde. The next time we chat we'll dig into how it all started.   

The Right TurnClyde Experiences - Chapter One / Creating A New Sound 

Welcome to our new blog ….

I'm inviting you to join me as we begin our journey (10 years in the making) of the biggest adventure of the history of Pittsburgh - Right TurnClyde … We started as duo, to a trio, to an acoustic rock trio to a full band. Man o man what a journey it's been.  So welcome to our The Right TurnClyde Experiences blog,  join me as we take a journey from where we started to what we're becoming. Let's start at the beginning.

Have you ever been challenged to instantly recognize a sound that's yours?

One of the biggest challenges I had in the beginning was having a signature sound. It is an absolute must in today’s local “cover” band world. With dozens of bands (both old and new) that seemly pop it up every day, you don’t want your band to sound just like everyone else’s sound.—you want to try to be memorable and recognizable. So how exactly did we accomplish this?

Well, to start, let’s dispel the idea that a signature sound is something you can create, or something that lives outside of you that you must obtain. When you take this approach, you run the risk of simply copying other people’s signature sounds (and that defeats the purpose, doesn’t it ?).

Instead, your signature sound should be viewed as something that already exists somewhere inside you—it’s part of what makes you unique as a person, not just a musician. Your job, is to search within yourself, uncover this unique sound, refine it, and use it at the core of all your projects. When you take the time to do this, your bands music can evolve through different styles and genres, but retain that special something that makes it uniquely yours. Being a cover band the challenge is even bigger and for the past 10 years I've focused my efforts with Right TurnClyde to always be different.   


1. How it Started - Man did I listen to a lot of music

Through out the years our signature sound was essentially synonymous with ‘elements of music that I loved.’ quick note - if you think you’ve found your sound, but you don’t particularly like it, that’s a good sign that you need to keep looking.

So how did I find what you I loved ? Well by listening to lots of music. I love music. however simply passively listening to music isn’t enough. you have to engage in active listening and document what you learn. The idea here is to identify what you like about other people’s music, what resonates with you, and what inspires you.

Keep in mind that the purpose of this exercise isn’t to simply copy ideas from other people. Rather, it’s to identify what your ear naturally finds pleasant and interesting. From there, you can modify these ideas, combine them in unique ways, or try them in unexpected places. You may even try to replicate something, and in the failure to do it precisely, find that you’ve created something you like even better.

Once you’ve gone through your favorite songs, you can also try actively listening to songs you don’t like. It’s just as important to identify elements that you’re not a huge fan of, so you can deliberately avoid them in your own music. Note: Be sure to listen to songs in genres you don’t typically listen to—you may discover something you never knew you liked!

2.  I had to embrace my strengths

When I first got started I was the rhythm guitar player and vocalist for an area church worship team. My strengths - I wanted to play and sing. However although I thought I rocked it in the beginning , I really wasn't that good. I  enjoyed playing and practiced as much as I could. Of course, there’s was something to be said about developing new skills, I just knew I wanted to play. Wasn't obsessed with guitar riffs, and years away from creating a signature sound.

Remember that your sound is something only you can create, so think about what you’re naturally good at, what you gravitate towards, and what you enjoy working on.

End of Todays Story

In the next few weeks we're to visit a bit more with my memories as we become the whole new version of The Right TurnClyde Experience. I'll share our successes and not so stellar times as we make our way to a dream come true .. 10 years in the making . 

 

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