Welcome back to Fret Buzz The Podcast.
Today we’re getting into Part 2 of
Fingerstyle with Dustin Furlow.
I just want to pop over to iTunes and
read you one of the reviews that we got
from drifting along. He gave us a five
star review and said, “Insightful”. He
goes on to say, “I just listened to
episode 007, It’s a Musical Life. I
really enjoyed this one, well-thought-out
ideas. Interesting to hear the different
perspectives from people who have lived
through a variety of musical life styles.
Will definitely check out more episodes.
If you guys have any reviews, pop on over
to iTunes and give us a review, I’ll read
it out. And without further ado, let’s
jump into Episode 29 with Dustin Furlow,
all about finger style on Fret Buzz The
Two questions with you having a album
coming out I’m kind of interested in a
your approach to your compositions how
you go and write something is it more
through theory is it more through ear
that’s kind of one direction I would
like to kind of ask you about and then
earlier on you had talked about
hopefully in the future touring I would
like to kind of get on a little bit into
how you get your gigs and manager if
that’s in your future or how you see
your touring schedule and how you’re
gonna go about that so kind of a – two
different directions I would love to
hear your thoughts on well yeah yeah
good questions too because I I did want
to talk about that one point arranging
and making your own instrumental music
that seems like an impossible task for a
lot of guitarists right you know aren’t
that haven’t submerged themselves in
that area guitar playing I can note for
me like I said I learned a lot of
arrangements from any McKee and Tommy
Emmanuel Jimmy Walsh seen a couple of
guys that I looked up to and I kind of
got a feel for you know I feel like a
lot of the best guitarists they follow
the same sort of formula that pop song
writers use and also I’ve learned a lot
of covers obviously I play in a lot of
venues sometimes for three to four hours
locally right know that I’ve learned all
these pop tunes and I know that how
they’re arranged okay is that the
standard first one chorus one verse – of
course – bridge final chorus outro or
whatever that’s the basic structure for
a pop tune you can get away from that
you can add pre choruses you can do
multiple bridges – key changes whatever
but having learned how a lot of those
songs that have been successful for
other people are put together that’s
helped sort of guide me when it comes to
writing instrumental music I know Tommy
Emmanuel getting back to him I think
again he’s a great reference for people
that want to be musical with their
instrumental guitar playing when he was
talking about how he warms up he’s like
I just play songs like I don’t get back
there in practice scales I want to be
musical so I want to play a song I want
to play the melody I want to switch I
want to abandon to switch from horse to
bridge or you know whatever I want to
deal those changes and breathe the music
and get my mind where it needs to be and
so for me a lot of times when I’m about
to start sitting down with a new tune
like I’ll come up with a cool verse idea
I’ll just play something else you know
I’ll try to get through a whole tune and
see if I can embellish and change things
and then I’ll tackle that tune you know
I think it helps a lot to have a good
road map of okay what do I want to do
with this tune like for instance I have
a song that is gonna be on wood scapes
that I called finally and it’s in
standard tuning key of a which has been
pretty pretty friendly key at least for
me and it has there’s there’s an intro
verse pre-chorus chorus verse two and
then straight to a course it skips the
pre-chorus the second time sort of just
to keep on the listeners attention you
know and then we go to a bridge key
change in an outro which is the same as
the intro a lot of times I’ll recycle an
intro reintroduce the idea just the same
way jazz guitar player will introduce
reintroduce the theme you know after
they’ve sold for a while so yeah the
answer your question I write
compositions usually in the same
structure as a lot of pop tunes that I
like or you know I go off of how I’ve
written my own tunes that have lyrics
that I actually sang out you know I like
stray away whenever possible from that
you know common structure verse chorus
verse chorus bridge right whatever but
you know with instrumental music it’s
cool because a lot of times I would
actually say most times instrumentals
aren’t really meant to be hung or sung I
guess well obviously not song but the
melodies are kind of they’re not always
meant to be catchy like with a pop tune
where there’s a voicing you know so
right right instrumental acoustic guitar
players they want to go off of a
technique or an idea so what I’ve tried
to do on a couple of my tunes like
that’s this I got a list here so I wrote
actually written called Andy’s gift and
I started writing it during Hurricane
Florence finished it than a month or
shoot month or two and that’s that tune
was it started because I learned a new
Andy McKee tune dreamcatcher and I
borrowed a hammer-on idea he does hammer
on it’s like a hammer onto a triple role
and then he kind of embellishes with
those I borrowed that and I just decided
okay well that’s Andy’s gift he borrowed
that technique from him and from it came
a song and it’s pretty much you know the
simple intro verse pre-chorus chorus
verse pre-chorus chorus there’s a bridge
that modulates and then what I usually
like to do after bridges you know four
out of five times with my tunes is
already either reintroduce the intro or
I’ll switch up the verse so um yeah so
I’m very much songwriting forward with
instrumental arrangements I don’t like
to just make noise and shred how about
your in terms of the arrangement
well how instead of the arrangement how
about your melodies and how you go about
creating a melody how do you come up
with those and then once you’ve finished
let’s say a verse or how do you come up
with the chorus what is your process of
going like the transition
and how do you come up with the melody
um it’s a lot of times it’s out of order
I there’s you see there’s a tune I wrote
called the elder tree and the course of
that beautiful song by the way oh you
mustn’t it oh yeah oh yeah absolutely
yeah the elder tree the course for that
are it’s a set of harmonics very
hummable melody and again it’s in the
key of a so I actually use the open a D
and E strings for that course it works
it works so well got really lucky when I
wrote that on but I came up with that
the chorus first okay do you do that do
do do you use theory to come up with
your ideas or do you just kind of hear
something in your head and apply it to
the neck it’s it’s both a lot of times
if I’m playing sometimes like I said I
get lucky and I’ll noodle and if
something comes out it sounds like oh
wow that’s a cool idea there’s some
things that are really theory focused
for instance I wrote tune called
Skykomish River and that’s very
classical influenced the structure of it
and the key changes and the weird
inversions and stuff okay I don’t
usually get really into like I don’t try
to put theory behind the wheel as much
it’s just you know from the heart
yeah can I hum this and it sounds
Pleasant you know like I said long write
it sorry are you humming from do you
have a key that you’re starting with and
you’re noodling and humming within that
key yeah oh yeah yeah definitely I
always picked the key you know depending
on whatever depending on whatever
section is made first like for instance
with elder-tree that noodle that became
the chorus I was like okay that’s in the
key a my salon was in the key of a
because I’m gonna work around that
course I like it a lot and from there
you know if that’s the case if you come
up with a course so if first part of
your tune that you write and you’re like
oh wow it’s awesome if that’s the light
bulb moment you
to sort of backtrack if you’re gonna go
to your verse you have to be like okay
well what’s the conversation leading up
to this though for the elder tree for
instance when I did the verse it just
became a very like playing for you not
at you sort of thing where I’m walking
down from an opening and it’s it’s
actually it’s actually a pretty
repetitive melody but because of bass
notes that are walking down in the earth
yeah in the first verse yep yeah it
becomes like a story like here’s the
intro to the story and by the time you
get to the chorus you’re like okay
that’s starting to well hopefully get
interesting ya know I thoroughly like
enjoyed the elder tree I think
especially you do the leading tone with
it it’s cool it’s awesome
appreciate that yeah yeah um that tunes
really special for me in fact you can
see it right here this is that melody oh
wow yeah I had it tattooed on my arm
awesome but yeah but that tune is very
much written like a Tommy Manuel song
it’s very much like structure this is
meant to keep a listener interested who
isn’t into fingerstyle music it’s meant
you you know not specifically that he’s
not into it but for somebody who isn’t
into fingerstyle music they have to have
some sort of common ground so you have
to have either a melody or a structure
that is familiar to them as as they
would hear in a pop tune or you know so
there’s repetitive parts in the elder
tree and it does follow the basic intro
verse pre-chorus chorus verse pre-chorus
chorus bridge turnaround which is the
intro goes to one final verse and then a
final chorus which becomes the outro so
that’s very much a traditional alright
that’s a formula that’s worked for me
with the songs that have lyrics so now
on the other side of that I have a tune
called strange new world and that one
was the first dadgad tune that I ever
wrote Matt Thomas had taught me a whole
bunch of really cool tricks and scales
open hammer-ons for that tunity and that
song was actually not repetitive it’s
it’s very much an instrumental guitar
piece a la drifting permeating the key
or you know it’s it’s very much like a
it’s meant to be okay this is about the
guitar there’s there there’s some
repetitive things but it’s more of a
journey odyssey whatever you whatever
you will write people as uh there’s a
really great guitar player named Callum
Graham and I’ve gotten to meet him a
couple of times
well actually sorry just once um it’ll
be meeting him again in January but he’s
a more recent addition to the candyrat
records label that got Andy famous and
Don Ross he is a very very melodic song
forward composition forward finger style
player he’s got the chops he’s got the
accuracy the you know the technique down
to science as well but his arrangements
and his compositions are just they’re so
humble you know they get stuck in your
head which we can’t yeah about a lot of
instrumental guitar players um but
example is he has a tune called the
channel that he used to win the Canadian
guitar festival like four or five years
ago and that tune doesn’t repeat at all
it’s a journey it’s I believe he said he
wrote it about a man that’s sitting at a
channel and he’s waiting to die it’s
kind of dark but he’s seeing his whole
life flashed before his eyes so the song
the song starts out so beautiful and
just melodic and right you know you you
really do get the sense that there’s
this man just staring out it’s glass
calm water you know but then by the end
of the tune he’s getting just so into
the percussion and at the very end of
the song he just does this like crazy
harmonic run and bends the guitar neck
to where it just sounds almost like Jimi
Hendrix doing the national anthem
beating on their tar like Hartley like a
dude and you get the sense oh the guys
finally passing through so that that
team is very much it’s like seven or
eight minutes but it’s a journey
oh so there’s you know that doesn’t make
it any less of a moving song it’s just
not repetitive it’s so it’s the journey
but then a lot of his other tunes do you
follow the basic you know verse chorus
verse chorus of competitive parts we all
right when I found with a lot of really
established by your style guitar players
is they usually straight away from doing
the second verse exactly like the first
know either they leave either at a
harmony you know like a skip a string
and do the same the same melodic idea
but then add the harmonies to the second
verse whereas it the first one or
they’ll just play a lower or higher
register so that’s always a good thing
to do for your composition to freshen it
up and keep your listener interested um
that’s something I mean I at least try
to do but getting back to how I start
these compositions it’s I always try to
just let my ears and the heart guide me
you know yeah if it’s that I think is
gonna move people the way it’s moving me
in that moment when I’m alone with my
instrument then it’s it’s a good recipe
to follow so my advice for people
writing music is to just all your melody
and follow you know definitely try not
to get too caught up in oh this is a
cool little roll technique girl this is
I think people really like this roll or
people like this scale like alright you
can do that all day long
but you probably lose people’s interest
and they’ll probably think of you is
just you know I’m making noise alright
with you coming out with a full
instrumental album in the future not you
veering away from the vocals or is that
just for this album and that’s it how do
you find yourself in the future
yeah great pressure I’m glad you asked
that um so I still have about six tunes
that I’m really happy with that have
vocals that I do want to record with Kim
person after this album and that’ll you
know that might be a year or two after
this I try I’m going to try not to put
too much out within too much of a
to close of a gap to instrumental album
but I’m not departing from writing
lyrics at all I in fact while doing the
recording with Kim it’s like three days
you know eight-hour sessions it I didn’t
want to say I burnt out doing the
instrumental stuff but I definitely was
like yeah I’m gonna strum some cowboy
chords Yeah right so uh you know I’ve
always had a really big appreciation for
contemporary folk artists like Ray
LaMontagne Gregory Alan isakov’s Ben
Howard those are three my favorite
writers currently I really like the
Americana influenced thing that’s I
would never call myself like a purist or
a bulky or anything but I do really love
that simplicity that goes behind their
songwriting you know really well
tailored lyrics / cool musical ideas and
time signatures I do like doing that
kind of stuff still but for this album
I’m definitely wanting to push what I’ve
been working on guitar so so I get
caught up where I get really excited
about you know the the instrumental
stuff or the guitar stuff specifically
but you know you’re like me you’re out
there performing to make a living I find
that most of my audiences don’t have the
same mindset as me yeah you know I can
go and play the like the most awesome
guitar solo I think I’ve ever played and
I look out and people like it might be
like a couple actual guitarists in the
crowd that are paying attention but like
the people the normal people that are at
breweries and bars seem to respond to
singing the most which can be incredibly
frustrating because I feel like people
just don’t understand and respect the
fact that what I was doing on the guitar
was took much more of my time in my yeah
I devoted my life to that and then you
start singing you know some hop song
they like and they’re like oh I love
that song and it’s like it’s it’s
incredibly frustrated
to me but I have I understand that I
this is how it is and I have to do this
to make my living well but I wonder with
your you know it seems like you have the
same mindset where the the instrumentals
really do they they’re fulfilling to you
as a musician is and as an artist yeah
do you get out there and find that same
thing when you play that you sometimes
aren’t getting the respect especially I
mean I know listening room is different
but yeah at your typical venues where
people are there for the to hang out
rather than to listen to you like a
concert yeah yeah I try to on it depends
on the venue always it’s always a thing
where you have to gauge your crowd but I
try to mix in you know some instrumental
covers occasionally like we were talking
about earlier girl from Ipanema
don’t know why from Norah Jones I’ll do
what the world standards and I’ll do
close to you from the Carpenters
somewhere over the rainbow stuff like
that and I like to get people warmed up
to things that they immediately
recognize one thing that’s worth saying
is in the instrumental guitar world
you’re gonna have little notes that
success playing your originals in
environments where people are expecting
to hear something they’re familiar with
people just naturally want to celebrate
the old things are familiar with it
takes people a little bit to get their
guard down especially if you’re doing
instrumental guitar stuff so I I
typically part of the reason I start
singing is at the open mic you know
somebody’s like oh you should try just
saying you know to try to try to do a
couple things that you know a couple
your favorite tunes I was doing Beatles
Beatles stuff at that time 18 and I was
still doing the instrumentals
incorporated but to get people’s guard
down you know it’s just a natural thing
they want to hear a voice first a lot of
times it’s there there’s some gigs like
we’re talking about the other day I
talking about our retirement home gigs
there’s some gigs where people really do
appreciate it
just from the get-go they’ll
they’ll immediately recognize the talent
from across the room and I think you
know somebody of your you know caliber
for sure they recognize the talent
straightaway but then if they have a
conversation or something it’s easier
for them to get more involved with that
because there’s a given voice involved
which is a more immediate connection
that we sends primarily but yeah I mean
it’s funny what Matt Thomas and I he’s
like I said before really great
instrumental guitar player we use some
of the same rooms they’re our agent and
you know what we’d like to do it our duo
gigs is I always like to disarm people
with you know a couple songs that
they’ve heard before I’ll work in one or
two and my originals that have voice and
then near the end of the set they’re
warmed up and they’re paying attention
and as long as there’s interesting
banter and the crowd isn’t overly stiff
it’s pretty easy to hook them in and by
that time I introduced Matt and I have
him play three or four of his songs and
he’s like I said he great guitar player
he has a good in melodic sense so he
doesn’t lose people right away
and so by the time they’ve warmed up and
dropped their guard it’s nice that
they’ll listen they’ll be like holy
you know like this guy’s good so they’ll
actually appreciate it once they’ve you
know dropped their guard per se I mean
Tommy Manuel he’s for instance coming
back to him a lot of his staples are
robbers and he you know he won’t admit
it all day long because it’s something
done well that has worked and there’s no
shame in borrowing something from
something you know people can celebrate
you know you have to play for your
audience not for yourself a lot of times
so if you’re being paid to play Oh
yeah yeah I do a couple there’s a couple
of rooms where I will just do the first
set completely instrumental because they
have a dinner crowd or something like
the hunt room for instance when I was
doing that is a solo gig all
instrumentals and you know some people
like that some people were just like
okay well whatever you know right
background in certain venues
oh sorry would you say I said some
people look at it like background music
yeah yeah and it’s a there’s no voice
sometimes people are just quick to be
like okay well there’s noise happening
right you can’t always blame people if
they’re eating I I’ve been I don’t know
if it was in May or April of this year I
went to a little restaurant with some
friends I danced in a while I was with
my wife and there was a musician there
great local guy and he he was great but
we were actually there to see the
friends that were in town yeah we had a
hard time talking cuz we were it was
loud and I’ve been more conscious of
especially when people are eating yeah I
try to keep the volume
oh yeah low because I like they didn’t
come for your concert there
yeah and that’s you know what that’s you
know as a somebody that tries to promote
the art of guitar and performing you
know that aside I have to say that
that’s a good thing for you to say
that’s the difference between a
professional and just a guy that goes on
plays on the weekends because a
compliment that I’ve gotten a couple of
times is your volume level is just right
and you know and I realize like you said
like they’re not always there for the
music so you have to be conscious of
that I’ve actually gone you know in the
past I’ve gone on dates to see couple
local musicians who are awesome I’m not
gonna drop their names despite the fact
I’m saying they’re awesome
but their volume levels were just like I
was like 20 feet away from the stage
area and I couldn’t have a conversation
with my date because they’re just
tearing into this Jimi Hendrix solo you
know it’s like it’s it’s really
distracting I mean I’m a musician so my
voice wants to hear that too but for
somebody that is they’re trying to like
I don’t know like work on their
chemistry with a new date or something
they do not oh god they’re probably the
last thing okay so I was in music man
yeah there’s lose that to consider yeah
having it a lot of it comes down to the
yeah and the event that you’re playing
yeah like you said like in terms of a
bar scene or a dinner or something like
you’re not the main focus and you always
have to keep that in mind
yeah you always have to kind of say okay
on the background I just want to keep it
light and yeah terms of being able to
like you said Joe like if you’ve spent a
lot of time on something they’re not
going to appreciate that and nor should
that’s not really their focus but I did
see on your website Dustin that you know
there you do have specific events where
people are coming to see you and that
kind of leads me into this the the other
part of the question that I that it was
kind of going towards was the of the on
tour and people were actually coming out
to see you as a musician how like how do
you how you see that coming down your
line so at the moment I’m I’m sending a
bunch of emails the past month or so I
was a little late to this game I had
like three booking agents in this area
Hinton Rhodes okay she’s respectively
Virginia Beach Norfolk Williamsburg
Chesapeake Portsmouth you know within an
hour of Virginia Beach quite full time
but I’m gonna interrupt real quick just
just so the audience knows how did you
go about and when did you decide to get
the the booking agent um they a lot of
times will reach out to you if if you
have any merit as a performer and a
professional if you’re not getting drunk
at your gigs or you know singing out of
key and stuff right right right yeah
that’s actual talent yeah they they want
their Commission to and they want to
have somebody that they can build a
relationship with and that they can use
to build their relationship with their
venues or the clients was that something
that you were you were seeking out at
the time or when they at first when it
like I said I started with open mics and
I was getting gigs I was covering for
people that couldn’t like I like I met a
couple people at these other mics that
were like yeah I do a couple
here and there you know they had
full-time jobs so they weren’t serious
professionals but like could you come
play and you know for like 30 minutes
offer you 50 bucks or something like
that so starting really small like that
and then eventually these venues like
hey you’re actually kind of good so like
you know they’re they booked me and then
when they promote it comes under the
attention of other agents that want to
book that venue so they’re like okay
where’d you get this guy
oh we just heard him you know like I can
remember going to this Irish pub called
Keegan’s it’s down the street for me and
it’s playing with BJ Griffin who’s a
really great cello player who sings does
cover music and stuff and BJ pilot in it
yeah he’s fantastic and good brains is
yeah both of them together doing really
good things um decided to see what
happens for them they actually opened
for Lionel Richie last year which was
cool but laughs that is cool anyway so
when him and I were playing together a
lot we would you know could try to scope
around and we asked a guy to just play a
couple at his gig just to see how it was
and we weren’t gigging seriously at the
time that his agent was there who wasn’t
like a really established agent in this
area he’s kind of here at the bottom but
he he got me a bunch of Chi gigs and
then from there another agent that
actually works with the city and books a
lot of the touristy stuff at the
oceanfront started working with them and
now I’m working with an agent that used
to work with them who books far more
venues so it’s you know it’s it’s easy
to stay busy but going back to what you
said about what’s the next thing is I
would really like an agent that books
you know to where I can go up and down
the East Coast or something like that
right what can your own tour is
obviously possible but it’s it’s really
hard to get things to line up so Matt
and I we’ve played a bunch of venues and
like Richmond and Northern Virginia area
I’ve played a couple of North Carolina
Triangle area and um you know it’s easy
to do those kind of things spread out
it’s a little harder to organize
work for yourself to where you’re off on
the road for at least a week right so
that’s what I would like a booking
engine or hoping for a couple people at
like Jim and Java and yeah that’s
awesome ven Deanna mm-hmm and I opened
for a guy from Ireland there’s like hot
you know he’s just like a really good
solo singer-songwriters kind of things
like how do you have a tour so he’s like
oh I just we send out enough emails and
eventually somebody will respond you
know that was a short answer so I’ve
been working on that I’m also affiliated
with concerts in your home right now
which is something that came under my
radar year and a half ago that’s a
really core organization there’s a lot
of hosts throughout the country actually
it’s a thing it’s worldwide thing now
wow that’s cool yeah there’s people that
have these you know nice houses and nice
like open living rooms and you know
sonically pleasing rooms for instance
Matt and I played one in Richmond week
before last and was the best one we’ve
ever played there was like 60 people in
attendance and we were grown up to the
house and it’s like castle so these
house concerts quote-unquote that a lot
of these hosts have are actually people
that just they’re devoted music fans
that you know go to concerts all the
time it’s just not enough for them so
they have touring artists of high
caliber come to their house and the cool
thing for the artists is you get fed
they get lodging for that night they let
him stay the night really they get to
use their shower you know which is a
it’s a luxury yeah
and yeah so Daniel champagne he’s a
really really really great performer
from Australia that came to Virginia
Beach a while ago and Matt and I opened
for him and he would stay with us and
you know he was he
I think he’d up he does somehow more
shows than I do a year I do last year
was was that say 247 shows I think he
did like almost 300 so this dudes always
on the road I didn’t I mean he just why
is that Canada flies out to New Zealand
flies out to Australia goes to the
States he’ll do like a little runs all
over the place and he told me about
concerts in your home and
it’s it’s really cool we’ve done I think
three so far and also the cool thing is
the people that come to these shows
they’re quiet like they’re quiet they’re
engaging there they will they do what’s
called you know suggested donation at
the door or whatever and usually it’s
like twenty bucks a person they’ll buy a
CD so like at the end of the night if
you’ve had like 50 or 60 people there do
the math it’s pretty nice yeah I’d like
to do that kind of thing full time a lot
of what like Daniel and Daniel champagne
a lot of Arts that look up to are doing
is they’re doing a mixture of house
concerts in between they’re listening or
in venues um so they’re not banking just
on success from their listening room
gigs because I mean things happen
sometimes people don’t show up you know
right so it’s nice that they have that
cover in between and that’s what I’d
really like to do cool time let’s do
there just be like a breath of fresh air
you know I’ve been doing the mix of
cover and original gigs in this area for
almost seven years now so um it’s kind
of like breathing and it’s it’s fun cuz
I go into autopilot node you know right
it’s it’s really nice to play for a
quiet appreciative audience and there’s
the limited amount of venues in this
area that have that so this kind of
shows or I’d rather play for it’s always
quality over quantity you know yeah oh
yeah I don’t have big dreams of playing
into theatres so um maybe I should but I
don’t at this point I mean yeah I I
really enjoy venues like Jim and Java
and you know then used to have ample
seating you know a couple hundred people
but it’s quiet there’s a good PA they
have a sound guy that knows what they’re
doing Jim and often great experience um
that’s not what’s the other place I’ve
been one to play in around here have you
ever played so I came from more of a
rock background and then I kind of went
into jazz but I I love rock music but uh
the thing that really hooked me into
this entire thing was the thrill of
playing like live rock shows you know
like being on stage so up in Northern
Virginia DC area I was playing in bands
and we were often playing rooms like
Iota which i think is sadly closed but
that’s that was in Clarendon in
Arlington the Rock and Roll Hotel there
all these venues that were Gypsy Sally’s
we played at they were like rock clubs
that could fit a couple hundred people
people there’s a stage sound guy and
everyone’s super focused but it’s
definitely not loud I am definitely not
quiet and focused it’s like a there’s a
huge amount of energy and it’s all
focused on the music yeah that’s kind of
where I got my original just like this
is the best feeling in the whole world
yep have you ever been a part of that
sort of thing or have you always been a
part of
maybe quieter prettier music in general
I did the band thing for a while when I
first started getting in the area it was
pushed on me by an agent oh you should
do more band gigs they’ll get you higher
exposure and it did actually got to open
for a vertical horizon at the 31st
Street stage and that was that’s pretty
cool on being a bandleader is not the
funnest thing at least it wasn’t for me
there’s I had a really great drummer or
CGA LeBeau for a while he moved in
Nashville with his brother pursue music
his brother was a great songwriter as
well um Jack’s a little Bo but we played
for about as long as he was here and
then after he left I was like kind of
without a drummer and I went through two
drummers you know learned two or three
hours of material with them and then
they would either flake because there
was a higher pay gig or whatever so it
became a thing like I have a great bass
player Clint Cochran from red clover
was like-minded and that he likes the
Americana singer/songwriter stuff as
yeah great bass player great guy so I
still have him to play certain gigs with
but I never really recovered a drummer
so I was like I’m not gonna like go out
of my way to do this and the other thing
is you know when you play with the band
you obviously depending on the venue a
lot of times you make less than if
you’re solo or duo so that’s a thing you
know I don’t want to sound like I’m
money hungry but I think I’m with you
when you’re yeah when you do it
full-time and don’t have a side job you
do have to be smart about accepting
because you know it be the summertime
when there’s like when I’d have five
gigs a week on average and you know I
would have I had said yes to all these
band gigs were I’m making XML and then I
get offers for a solo gig that pays
twice as much that wouldn’t happen like
once a month it happened a couple times
because I booked all these gigs in
advance by a couple months so I’m like
okay well I just lost over two thousand
dollars this summer you know but it also
sounds like the americon it’s the style
finger style it seems to speak to you a
little bit more than it is I’m gonna
enjoy it a lot more you know when I play
with the band it was a lot more
strumming a Dave Matthews sound thing to
be honest I went through a really big
Dave Matthews Band phase okay listen to
the sound you call him my first album
there’s a couple tunes on there that
really do sound like a Dave Matthews
Band style even the songwriting and um
you know general sound is very Dave
asked just take away the saxophone the
violin player so you know that kind of
thing was fun and it’s you know there’s
a lot of energy and adrenaline that goes
into it but I was like I can’t do this
all the time it’s just it’s so taxing
with a rehearsal and stuff I I just I
enjoy more playing with him hat and
doing solo gigs you know it’s just it
clears my mind up and lets me stay
focused on the instrument which at the
end of the day is like my real passion
ya know ya know I identify with that I
think that a lot of us
um kind of have to go through this
period of finding out who we are as a
musician yeah certainly yeah I mean I
know for me when I started playing I was
on a death metal band and although I
loved it it was extremely technically
challenging and over time I it wasn’t me
you know I mean when I actually sat down
in my my living room and grabbed the
acoustic guitar or grabbed an electric
yes not it wasn’t my first tendency to
go to wasn’t what I’ve naturally wrote
yeah yeah that took me years to kind of
figure out okay that’s not who I am
although I really enjoy it yeah that’s
not who I am yeah definitely and you
know when you grow your music ballot
your musical palette definitely grows –
I mentioned earlier my dad basically I
don’t want to say force-fed me Stevie
Ray Vaughn because I love Stevie Ray
Vaughan still right huh but you know if
you listen to that all day that Carlos
Santana it’s old rock and roll and blues
heavy stuff and later not Ozzy Osbourne
was like his but he somehow scored like
the night the best electric guitarist at
least to my memory Randy Rhoads is like
a guy that wrote crazy train and
arranged a lot of Ozzy’s first hits as a
post Black Sabbath he he was a fantastic
player and I realize is the reason was
because he was classically trained right
huh you know he really knew how to
arrange good tunes he knew how to flow
in and out of those crazy chord changes
and you know stuff like that so my dad I
have a lot to think for that rock and
roll early influence like I said I had
an Ibanez it’s my first guitar so I was
a shredder for a while I tried to you
know I don’t want to say I was good but
I tried my damnedest to nail those 80s
solos from like you know alright you
know Quiet Riot bring it up anything
from Ozzy was like my jam van Halen that
kind of stuff so yeah you know but I
would never I would never even try to do
something like that never ever ever I
mean I actually
some of my cover you because I do cover
let’s up one but they had a they had a
folk influence so it works you know
right here and I’m right yeah yeah I do
over the hills and far away hey hey what
can I do go to California Kashmir so
cool yeah that works for solo acoustic
guitar and even better when it’s a duo I
I mean I used the loop pedal for my solo
stuff but when I play with Matt it
becomes a full band sound because he has
his guitar set up like mine but even
better to where he has like four or five
pickups that pick up all the progressive
elements that are all eq’d separately
and it just it sounds like a machine I
mean it’s crazy so we do a couple fun
stuff like that we do some Jimi Hendrix
some you know
Santana Stevie Ray Vaughn like I said
but yeah me and rock and roll there’s
the influence of it was very paramount
at the beginning but nowadays it’s
quieted down well if I think you like I
said I think you’ve found yourself and
you’re kind of you’re carving your own
path yeah it’s cool any McKee he also is
a big fan of like the you know you know
he’ll openly voice that you know his his
main interest isn’t always solo acoustic
guitar you know what got him famous when
I eat a lot of the more recent things
he’s been posting I’ve just been him
like jamming the 80s music you know just
have fun he that write the big dream
theater fan a lot of it yeah a lot of
the I’ve noticed more recent solo
acoustic guitar guys that are getting a
lot of attention or really prog rock
focused and for good reason I mean they
apply that to acoustic guitar and it
sounds freaking unreal you know that I’m
signature changes and the voicings and
all that stuff so yeah absolutely
pretty cool see what people are doing
now you know fret monkey records has a
really nice roster of players that like
Travis Bowman Kevin Blatt Nick and
Adrian Belew that are just doing all
these crazy shredded I mean just its
acoustic shred it’s the only way I can
describe it but they somehow make it
musical to where it’s like oh wow you
know it sounds like a machine in a sense
that it’s like and it’s not it’s not for
say my preferred finger style hmm
sub-genre but it’s it’s really
impressive in it I would
go to a show of it you just got a
curiosity have you ever heard of a
his name is Adrienne leg yeah I’ve heard
that name several times okay yeah I saw
him open for Joe Satriani and Eric
Johnson number of years ago just
completely blew my mind there was and it
was crazy because it was a rock concert
you know joe satriani but adrian leg
opens in the entire crowd is like quiet
and everybody’s focused on this like
60-year old guy just ripping it up Wow
great you say is it spelled like le GG
yes correct
le GG that’s I’ve heard that name a
couple times but I definitely don’t have
the face or sound to go with it yeah
he’s obviously very proficient but he
also does this detuning while he plays
it’s oh yeah it’s rather interesting
pretty popular with a lot of guys if you
pay attention to you know who’s going
viral in the coup stick finger style
guitar universe as I do like to be
current there’s guy Alexander misko we
just been blowing up because he has the
banjo tuners on his bill tune throughout
the song his melodies I mean he’ll even
go up and down like a whammy bar so I
like and it sounds he makes it sound
musical to where it’s like at first
you’re like I hate this kid then you’re
like oh wow yeah he’s actually playing
melodies with the tuning peg oh
absolutely yeah look up just type in
nice codes Mis K oh okay I’m sure it’ll
pop up but his most recent one that went
viral was Careless Whisper he did the
saxophone line with the Ben you made the
natural harmonics and then he did the I
can’t sing it now my voice is screwed
but yeah yeah I mean he makes it’s very
useful and on top of that he’s doing
voicings on the middle strings holding
the bass notes and somehow
it’s just messed up it really never
checking me he covers the full band
sound just as good as you know Tommy or
any Mickey here you know whoever mike
does yeah yeah exactly
um I also want to give a shout out you
mentioned Eric Johnson I love Eric
everybody should know that everybody
knows that Joe it’s my it’s one of my
missions in the lifetime everybody has
not heard Eric Johnson listen Sarah
Johnson but Eric is a great finger style
player too
yep I’ve been working on song for George
this week one of his originals and after
listeners I don’t think I’ve heard that
ever I did I need to listen to it again
I know any McKee when he talks about his
defining guitar Milman it was listening
to cliffs of Dover I think that’s in
yeah yeah that’s yeah and he was like oh
wow there’s instrumental guitar on the
radio that was his defining moment so it
you know it stands to reason than that
that it that should be a good
reference point yeah Eric he’s a you
know he plays piano and he’s a multi
instrument instrumentalists but that
song in particular he doesn’t double
drop D tuning and he’s essentially
playing in like D mixolydian yeah it’s a
great great sound out of it sounds like
Eric but fingerstyle George’s what’s
called song for George yeah I’m gonna
look that up since you get off here yeah
yeah so what one thing I want to ask you
before we we get off we’ve done in a
whole episode on practice in the past
but I’m I I think I like practicing more
than anything in the whole world pretty
much other than like my wife and my dog
but like I literally could just practice
all the time and not I’d be happy if I’d
never performed and never taught if I
could just practice all day every day
goodnight relaxing yeah but uh I I
actually enjoy the process of practicing
and I might have a very I mean I here’s
I’ve got my notebook where I’d document
like every minute of my day every day
for the past several years
mm-hm because I want to maximize my
routine what so I guess it’s a two-part
question for you what is your practice
routine and along with that what do you
recommend to players that want to get
more into you know solo finger style
guitar what are the where should you
spend your time what are some of the
resources out there that you would
recommend to help you you know books and
that sort of thing yeah um that’s first
of all that’s that’s really cool that
you do that with your practice time and
I know that you said you teach a lot so
that definitely makes sense practice
does make a huge difference for me so I
initially started learning with tabs
I’ve gotten enough with tabs to where I
can usually learn a tune like read a tab
even if it’s finger style nowadays as
long as I have an idea of what the tune
is going into it because obviously it
doesn’t really have a time signature or
anything but you know for instance hona
by masaki Keyshia Bay is a finger style
standard it’s a really great tune in
open D D ad f-sharp ad and I learned and
II covered that song a long time ago and
as just like I just want to learn it for
fun like I basically learned it just by
the tab so for people that don’t know
how to read tabs or have considered I
think it’s if you want to learn
something really fast if you get good at
learning tabs or reading tabs I should
say and then transposing it it it’s if
you don’t learn music theory it’s a good
substitute for learning something really
fast so I did that for a while now in
terms of practice how I don’t learn a
lot of new tunes by tab nowadays it’s
only a few and far between if I learn
something really fast and then just put
the tab away after a couple minutes
that’s all I do but um in terms of
practice like having dedicated sessions
with an the intent of getting smoother
runs or smoother techniques or something
like that you know I only do that
maybe a tenth of the time that I’m
practicing for me what I think of
practice is I think doing things
perfectly under my fingers and letting
muscle memory take over I’m not I
wouldn’t say that nearly as disciplined
with practice probably as yourself
whereas a lot of people that are theory
forward or you know precision forward
I saw this thing there’s an interview
with Tom Emmanuel this is this could
probably be the last time I mentioned
him before I sound like the ultimate
fanboy Tom he had this really really
cool interview that I thought was just
awesome that spoke to me and um if
you’ve seen him play which you have you
you know that this guy I mean he’s
breathing like when his guitar playing
to him even the most difficult
arrangements is breathing it’s like he’s
not thinking about his hands he’s not
thinking about any sort of insecurity
he’s not thinking about oh here comes
this part it’s gonna be hard no he’s
like looking out and smiling at his fans
and being goofy and you know just
enjoying music and in this interview he
talks about you know somebody asked him
about practice the way he just asked me
and he was basically like I practiced my
Tunes until I’m like sick of them until
I can hold a conversation with somebody
until my hands in my muscle memory know
the song just as well as I do in my mind
you know so what I like to do for my
songs is I do just that I
I repeat them and I repeat them and I
repeat them and I repeat them and I you
know I don’t care if it gets boring I’ll
you know I’ll gonna make a strong cup of
tea or something and I’ll just keep
doing it and I think that’s the secret
to like just obviously having confidence
on stage if I want to go play a new tune
that I’ve rehearsed you know for only an
hour on stage it might sound like a good
idea until you know I’m like okay here
comes the bridge dog you know so I
like to get oh maybe a little more
technical way to answer your question is
I always like to practice sections of
songs like get them just perfect smooth
as butter
and I and after I’ve gotten those
sections just where I don’t have to look
at the fret board or I can close my eyes
or to where I can little conversation
with somebody tap my foot do whatever to
where it becomes it normally takes a few
days if not weeks to get it you know so
in the pocket that I don’t have to think
about it with my mind I like to do those
with each section and then I’ll piece it
together and then once I’ve pieced the
tune together that’s when I’ll start
practicing practicing it from point A to
point B like now in between it by my sub
just keep going just to get a sense of
okay I’ve gotten through this a bunch of
times you know like for a girl from
ipanema that song is only like a minute
long when I first learned it and put
together it took me like at least two or
three weeks before I was like okay I
have this minute long complex melody
chord progression under my fingers to
where I don’t have to think about it and
so now when I do my cover gigs it’s nice
it’s nice and relaxed I can enjoy the
music I can look out of people and smile
and they can if somebody asked me like
to do a cover of something while I’m
playing which so many people like to do
it’s annoying they love to come up and
talk to you like while you’re in the
middle of a solo yeah and I’m like I
can’t even find I’m like trying to
remember what I’m playing yeah yeah
exactly so doing that kind of thing it’s
nice to hear comes over and it’s like
hey this or that or this is that you
know you can still keep playing and this
would be hopefully most times so you
know it’s just it’s nice to basically my
point is repeat something until you do
not have to think about it with your
head you know and took once your hands
have it and also it helps a lot if you
really want to maximize your practice
practice with the same guitar I I make
it a point when I’m and since there’s
one more tune that I have to record with
Kim and I’m still working out I have the
bridge but I’m still working it out to
where I’m like okay am i a hundred
percent pleased that I got like two or
three different options of how to come
out from the bridge back to the theme
and that’s always a tricky thing because
you don’t want it to be predictable but
you don’t want to be too weird um and by
weird I just mean like off-the-wall Tori
doesn’t suit the song so I’ve been
practicing that on one guitar in that
tune I’ve kept it on that guitar because
my right hand knows it’s kind of a boom
chick forward song on some parts in
other parts there’s open strings and it
has a wide string space where as they’re
baying when my other bennetto’s has two
and a quarter Bridge station this one
has two and five-sixteenth so I prefer
that I don’t want to be making my right
hand have to be precise I just want to
focus on getting through the song so
it’s good to practice one guitar for one
song you can switch to the other guitar
once you have that song under your
fingers you know like I don’t I almost
never it sounds bad but I almost never
practiced in my lair Bay at home it’s
like it’s my working instrument it’s set
up to sound good live and that being
said the actions it’s not buzzy but it’s
low it’s not the most supersonically big
sounding guitar compared to the banjos I
mean to some people would probably add
sound incorrect like a million bucks but
I have become the bennetto’s as my
reference so I prefer to practice with
those and so when I gig with the lair of
a oftentimes I’ve practiced those tunes
all my benefits because they’re more
comfortable and ergonomic and responsive
so it does take me a little bit to get
used to it
like for instance girl from Ipanema
wider spacing on my bennetto’s so it was
easy to play on the bennetto’s like I
did in the YouTube video when I started
playing with the lair Bay it felt like I
was switching to electric because the
spacing is thinner and it took me a
while to get used to that so now I
prefer to play it on lair Bay because I
mostly play girl from Ipanema when I’m
at a gig versus sitting in my studio and
so you know yeah basically the point is
practicing on one guitar until you got
it really good and then you can switch
it up and throw your muscle-memory off
do whatever you want
yeah yeah that helps a lot because every
guitar with a different shape and
spacing make sure right hand have to do
something different so yeah it’s been
super fun guys we appreciate you having
me yeah no problem
Dustin can you let everybody know where
they can go to find out more information
about you yeah certainly
w-w-w-whoa comm promo spelled f URL Oh W
Facebook Instagram Dustin for oil yeah I
proposed to where I’m playing at usually
once a week just pushed like the list of
gigs and my youtube channel as well I
might try to update that fairly often
but I’ve got a bunch of my originals on
there and also Spotify and iTunes you
can find my music awesome and hopefully
a future album coming out early spring
yep absolutely
it’s gonna be the wood scapes right yeah
wood sketches the name of that it’s
going to be a 10 track instrumental
acoustic album looking forward to it
thank you so much for coming I look
forward to seeing you around town and
yeah man great having you on Fred buzz
thank you thank you very much for the
offer you on the show man it means a lot
to me I appreciate it yeah yeah yeah
thank you for coming man yeah you’re
like geeking out about this kind of
stuff do it all week is awesome
all right signing out yep everybody have
a good day yeah you later yeah yeah nice
meeting you yeah

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