I just wanted to share a quick guitar nerd note: I am totally in love with Ron Ellis pickups, hands down the most musical, gorgeous, & dynamic pickups I've ever used. And they get better... the more you play them, its as though they mold to your playing. It’s insane. I also couldn’t think of a more sincere, hard working, kind and forward thinking person then Ron. Just a note to say thank you Ron Ellis and if you have a chance to try them, please do! For more information, Ron’s email is: email@example.com.
Thrilled to be performing with the brilliant Gabe Kahane on June 28th at Rockwood 2, an evening of standards and our favorite jazz songs. Please click here for my info: http://www.ticketfly.com/event/870823
We're thrilled to announce that Julian will be supporting The Milk Carton Kids on the December leg of their Monterey Tour. Julian will be performing solo acoustic. Ticket info is available at the tour page.
12/1/15 | San Francisco, CA | Palace of Fine Arts
12/2/15 | Napa, CA | Uptown Theatre
12/3/15 | Arcata, CA | Van Duzer Theatre
12/5/15 | San Diego, CA | Balboa Theatre
12/7/15 | Mesa, AZ | Ikeda Theater
12/8/15 | Santa Fe, NM | The Lensic
12/9/15 | Boulder, CO | Boulder Theater
12/11/15 | Dallas, TX | Majestic Theater
12/13/15 | Austin, TX | Paramount Theatre
The new scheduling system for Skype Lessons has now arrived! I've now posted blocks of availability in between my touring so as to make scheduling a little more consistent and a lot easier. Starting today, all lessons will be booked via Facebook Skype Lesson tab or julianlage.com. You will be prompted to create an account in order to reserve a lesson but it's very simple to set up. Please check back often as spots fill up and we add new blocks of availability throughout the week. If you have any questions about the new scheduling system, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Julian and Nels have just added a couple of East Coast shows!
4/16 - Northampton, MA - Parlor Room (2 shows)
4/18 - Portland, ME - Space Gallery
They were both recently by Fretboard Journal on their west coast tour and you can check out their podcast below!
Just a quick note to let you know our new booking system is almost in place for setting up Skype Lessons. Hopefully we'll have it up and running very shortly!
Thank you for your patience and can't wait to see you soon!
I'm excited to announce I'll be playing a solo show in San Diego at UCSD on Jan. 7, followed by two nights at my home town guitar store, and home away from home, Eric Schoenberg Guitars in Tiburon, CA. We will hopefully have copies of World's Fair to sell in advance of its release! Please visit the Tour section for more info!
Thrilled to be performing this Saturday with Frank Vignola, Vinny Raniola, Bucky Pizzarelli, Martin Taylor, Ed Laub, and Gene Bertonicini at The Capitol Theatre in Salt Lake City, Utah! Some of my absolutely favorite guitar players in what looks like the most beautiful hall!
For more information, click here
I'm very happy to report that my beloved guitar shop, TR Crandall, has one of my guitars for sale as of today; a 1949 Gibson J-45 with walnut back and mahogany sides. I love this guitar and bought it the first day I entered their shop. I believe it was Tom's personal flat top for many years and served as a wonderful tool for me as I began venturing into the world of solo guitar writing. Anywho, it couldn't be in better hands than at TR Crandall and if you are looking for a J-45 with slightly warmer walnut vibe, you might dig this!
For more information, click here
I'm thrilled to announce the upcoming release of my solo acoustic guitar record "World's Fair." This is a project I've been working on over the past couple years thanks to the love and support of my friends at The Shifting Foundation. My aim was to write a body of songs that bridged the gap between guitar studies and songs, drawing from the sonic fingerprint of early radio recordings mixed with the short form structures of some of my favorite classical and folk music. Done with my 1939 Martin 000-18 and no overdubs, this was a collaborative experience with producer Matt Munisteri and engineer Armand Hirsch, two of my absolute heroes and dearest friends.
Please check out https://julianlage.bandcamp.com/releases for my information and to hear the song "40's". Thank you for listening and hope to see you soon!
Just a quick note to say I am so grateful for all the response regarding skype lessons and promise to respond to everyone within the next couple of weeks! I'm sorry this last period of touring has taken me away from teaching but please know I look forward to seeing you all and will be writing you soon!
In support of our upcoming release ROOM, coming out November 25th, Nels and I are heading out for a short Northeast run! Stay tuned for more info on the album and future touring!
11/18: Baltimore, MD - Patterson Theatre
11/20: Albany, NY - The Egg
11/21: Burlington, VT - The First Unitarian Church
11/22: Portland, ME - Space
11/25: New York, NY - SubCulture
Thank you to Alec Wilkenson for his wonderful piece in the New Yorker! We are so grateful!
OCTOBER 16, 2014
CREDIT PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY JUSTIN CAMERER
The other night, a rainy night, I went to hear the superlative guitarists Julian Lage and Chris Eldridge, who were playing in a small, glass-walled room at the top of the Standard East Village, with the city in the mist behind them. Lage is a pantheist, known mostly for playing several kinds of jazz, in trios and quartets and by himself, and Eldridge is a member of the brainy, hot-shot string band Punch Brothers. The two of them made a record called “Avalon,” which came out last week, and the occasion was a launch party.
Lage and Eldridge aren’t the first two guitar players one might put together. Lage plays so many types of music, on both electric and acoustic guitars, that the list of possible associates is wide open for him, and Eldridge has colleagues among bluegrass stylists who might have come sooner to mind, players such as Bryan Sutton, for example. I’m not sure how they found each other, although there is a collection of musicians that includes Punch Brothers, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, the Milk Carton Kids, and Edgar Meyer, that verges on Lage’s territory, and both Lage and Eldridge live in New York.
Aside from their sensibilities and the elegant intelligence that each brings to the instrument, what makes their sound distinctive is that both are playing flattop guitars without amplification. Elderly Martins, from 1939, is what they are. Eldridge’s is a dreadnought, the largest flattop guitar, and Lage’s is a smaller version. Old acoustic guitars, if they are well-made, age handsomely. Their tones become as clear and specific as voices. The variable becomes what the musician can produce from them. Better hands produce more interesting remarks, that are spoken with better diction. The flattop guitarist most widely admired for his touch is Tony Rice, who is Eldridge’s mentor and who appears to be invalided out of playing from pain in his hands.
Eldridge grew up within the context of bluegrass. His father played banjo in a respected band, the Seldom Scene. He doesn’t play electric guitar, as Lage does. The guitar in bluegrass is traditionally a part of the rhythm section, partly because it is more difficult to play fast on a guitar than on a banjo or a mandolin or a fiddle. The frets are wider on a guitar, and the strings are heavier. The model of the bluegrass guitar player as soloist was introduced, in the nineteen-sixties, by Clarence White, who later played guitar with the country incarnation of the Byrds. Then it was refined by Tony Rice, whose guitar belonged to White. Early bluegrass guitarists kept to the base of the neck, the first position, and mostly they still do, but Eldridge, studying White and Rice, learned to play across the entire fretboard.
Guitarists who play fast in all genres are often resorting to patterns and repeating themselves. Sometimes this is the result of the pace; sometimes it is simply the result of an incurious mind. Jerry Garcia used to have his guitars strung with heavier than usual strings, to prevent himself from playing rhetoric. Eldridge has the technical command to play ideas rather than patterns. You can see him stumble sometimes as he searches to link one statement to another, but the hesitation is dramatic and only, at least for me, enlivens the performance.
The concert started with an intricate dialogue, chords strung between passages of double stops and single notes, something that sounded a little dreamy before committing to a discernible progression. For about forty-five minutes, the two of them played through a repertoire of country songs, ballads, a fiddle tune, and intricate instrumentals that they had either written or arranged. Lage’s knowledge of harmony and his familiarity with the fretboard is so extravagant and capacious that he brings flourishes to this music that it simply hasn’t enjoyed before. I thought I heard references, for example, to Charlie Christian and Chuck Berry and Jim Hall. Like David Rawlings, Lage sometimes seems to have a different route in mind from the obvious one supplied by the chord changes. His lines go farther and end later than you expect, and not always where you expect. His playing is cerebral, and sometimes playful, but, because his vocabulary is so expansive, it is also riveting: in his chancier attempts, he seems unsure himself of where he is going. An atonal passage appears suddenly and is used to bridge a moment between more regular ideas. He is in the highest category of improvising musicians, those who can enact thoughts and impulses as they receive them. This gives the music tremendous vitality, not only because the quality is rare but also because it is being brought to life in actual time—the performance is not simply a virtuoso recreation of the past. Lage is also visually arresting, because his left hand is like a tool. The fingers spread and move crablike up and down the neck or leap across strings and frets. It’s thrilling to see, although he makes no effort at stagecraft. He simply stands and plays.
Both Lage and Eldridge are lanky, and they wore dark, skinny suits, which seemed to frame the dark blond of the wood. Eldridge twitched and rose up on his toes and stamped his feet while he played, as if an excess of energy needed to be shed. He looked like a fidgety stork. His tone, even when he played quietly, was precise. Flattop guitars played too fast can sound more percussive than lyrical, especially in the mid-range, and he is one of the few guitarists who can preserve the pure, ringing sound. To Lage he played a generous and sympathetic second, offering ideas and support. Sometimes they chased each other, and sometimes they spoke like two men at a bus stop, comfortable with each other. Eldridge also sang a few ballads, including Gershwin’s “Someone to Watch Over Me.” He has a plaintive tenor, a little thin, which adds to its authenticity. He sings without artifice, and the lines come through as if confided. Listening to him I was reminded of how actors, especially Shakespearean actors, say that the ideal is to speak the lines as if they were occurring to you. On a couple of songs, Eldridge sang while Lage accompanied him, and the songs had a feeling of fleeting and fragile warmth.
“Avalon” was produced by Kenneth Pattengale, of the Milk Carton Kids. I happened to be standing next to him, and, now and then, on some of the country songs, he added a line of high harmony, just above a whisper, so it sounded in the darkness like something in church.
Hello NYC Friends!
I'm excited for a week of gigs in the city!
Tonight, Sept. 2: Highline Ballroom - Eric Harland Voyager CD Release Show
Wednesday, Sept. 3: Trio with Jorge Roeder/Donny McCaslin at Shapeshifter in Brooklyn
Thursday, Sept. 4: Duo with Kate Schutt at Rockwood 3
Friday, Sept 5: Duo with Jesse Harris opening for Lizz Wright at City Winery
Thank you and hope to see you soon!
We are sorry to report the show with Chris Eldridge on Oct. 2nd is being postponed, hopefully to early next year. The reason: The Seldom Scene, one of the greatest bluegrass bands of all time and creative home of Chris's father, banjoist Ben Eldridge, is being inducted into the IBMA Hall of Fame! And the proceedings will be commencing on October 2! Congratulations to The Seldom Scene!