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I took part in one of those Facebook '10 album covers' things recently.........and it got me thinking.
Specifically it got me thinking about Rush. Now I'm aware that there is an element of the 'marmite' about Rush. Many music fans love them unreservedly. And others? Well they just don't see the attraction.
Anyway, I was struggling to choose a single Rush album to feature in my top 10. And this is what happened next......
NORMAL SERVICE WILL BE RESUMED TOMORROW. IN THE MEANTIME……
I know I’m not supposed to make any comment on these Facebook posts, however this particular album cover has left me with no choice.
I was, and remain, a massive Rush fan. I own every one of their ‘early’ albums (12 in total) on vinyl, from the eponymous first album in 1974 through to 1984’s Grace Under Pressure. We did eventually part company as we both grew and diversified around this time. But I have continued to follow their work with interest and have subsequently bought albums (and created Spotify playlists) from their later cannon. And, although I know it’s not true, I like to believe that they have followed me too.
Rush may not have always been ‘cool’ (according to those who just never got it), but they have always had integrity. It is exactly because they refused to bow to label pressure to produce something a bit more ‘commercial’, and have absolutely furrowed their own path in spite of external forces, that they are so loved.
And boy could these guys play! As a young wannabe guitarist, one of the very first things I learned to play (after ‘She’ll Be Coming Round The Mountain’) was the riff to ‘Fly By Night’. I spent days and weeks trying to work out ‘La Villa Strangiato’. And every guitarist, bass player and drummer I know has tried to nail ‘YYZ’. Most with limited success.
People who know me will tell you that I am a massive Jimmy Page fan. And that is true. However Jimmy’s playing in Zeppelin has always been the zenith. But Alex Lifeson, well he made me believe that being an awesome guitar player was ever-so-slightly achievable. I have stolen so many licks, chords and phrases from Alex Lifeson over the years it’s embarrassing. Alex (he’d be okay with me calling him ‘Alex’) taught me that it’s okay to be the best version of yourself that you can be, and wear your influences on your sleeve. And for that I say thank you.
Lyrically, Rush have nearly always been driven by the Professor. Neil Peart’s love of literature has influenced pretty much every song on every album. Yes there were futuristic concepts, yes there were songs about trees (although its not about trees). But I defy anyone not to find something that resonates with them. For me, there are so many lyrical moments that stop me in my tracks. It would be impossible to mention them all, but I shall give an honourable mention to ‘The Spirit of Radio’:
‘All this machinery making modern music can still be open-hearted.
Not so coldly charted, it’s really just a question of your honesty. Yeah, your honesty.
One likes to believe in the freedom of music.
But glittering prizes and endless compromises shatter the illusion of integrity.’
The precise moment when Geddy Lee sings these words (and boy can he sing) is so utterly joyous, intelligent and insightful, that even now (40 years later) I cannot help but sing along at the top of my voice with an emotional tear in my eye.
There was such a unity between the members of the band that their chemistry was tangible. It’s impossible to imagine anyone else being in Rush! They played so well together, I used to wonder how any musicians could ever be that good. The fact that they made it look simple is part of the magic. Because it’s not easy to be that together. It is not easy at all.
The recent and unexpected death of Neil Peart really hit me, and many many others, hard. He was so talented, so intelligent, so motivated. He was an explorer, he was a loner. He appreciated the success of Rush, but he never truly understood the trappings that came with it. He loved literature and became an author. He loved the drums and was a student to the end. And he loved Rush.
So I’m picking ‘Permanent Waves’ purely because I have to pick one. And it is a seriously good one. It may not be the first Rush album to influence me, but it represents a lifetime of joyous musical exploration and discovery.
And you know a band is good when they make you feel like you’ve been part of it all.
If you know Rush’s music then please enjoy this playlist on Spotify. If you don’t know their music, or think you know better, please listen as well: My Rush Playlist
Author: Ian Edwards
Well as you can imagine, the current state of play with the Coronavirus means that we must all act responsibly in order to protect each other and bring an end to the virus.
Guitar Breaks is committed to the welfare and well being of all of our guests, special guests and their families and friends. To ensure that we do our part to try to bring an end to the current situation, we have taken the decision to postpone both Andy's Spring Guitar Workshop in Brighton, UK, and the Josh Smith Workshop in Italy.
Both Andy and Josh are disappointed but are also determined to re-schedule their workshops later in the year. For more details and to stay on top of the latest developments, join our database here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Stay well out there,
Love Team GB xx
Well, what a splendid 2019 it has been and what a great 2020 we have coming up!
We wanted to take a moment to say a massive THANK YOU to everyone and send out some serious lovin’ to the wonderful guitar players who have graciously been involved with Guitar Breaks over the past year: Ariel Posen, Matt Schofield, Andy Crowley, Chris Buck, Mike Goodman, Mike Bradley, Allan Salmon, Josh Smith and Sam Bell.
SEE YA NEXT YEAR xx
Guitar virtuoso Josh Smith is joining us at Guitar Breaks for 5 days of workshops, with special guest Mike Goodman. Dates: May 31st - June 6th
From May 31st to June 6th 2020 we are absolutely delighted to announce that Josh Smith will be joining us in Italy. We are returning to the Villa Pia family hotel in Lippiano, on the Tuscany/Umbria border in the green heart of Italy.
This will be 5 days of intense guitar playing with one of the world's great players. And as if that is not enough, we are being joined again by the guitar virtuoso that is Mike Goodman! Mike was with us in 2019 and was a total hit with all of our guests. What Mike doesn't know about the guitar, probably isn't worth knowing!!
Want to join us? Email email@example.com NOW!
3 fantastic days of electric and acoustic guitar antics with Andy Crowley & Mike Bradley*, plus special guests!
Spend a long weekend with Guitar Breaks and Andy Guitar in Brighton, England. From October 25 - 27 we will be staying at the funky Hotel Pelirocco and based at the über-cool WaterBear College of Music,
Located right on the sea front and a stone's throw from Brighton's buzzing city centre, the Hotel Pelirocco is England's most rock 'n roll hotel!
And we are absolutely delighted to announce that our special guest guitarists include: Andy Crowley and Mike Bradley*.
Join us and you have the chance to spend quality time with internationally renowned professional guitarists, artists and musicians.
If you are thinking about joining us, then don't delay! Email us now: firstname.lastname@example.org
*Mike is joining us for for Friday and Saturday. Sunday special guest announcement coming soon!
Our good friends at BOSS are offering one lucky guitarist the opportunity to attend the Guitar Breaks 'Slight Return' event in Brighton, UK, June 20-23 for free.
In partnership with BOSS and WaterBear - The College of Music, the 'Slight Return' event is 3 days of guitar antics, with Chris Buck Jamie Humphries & Sam Bell, plus three nights in a boutique hotel on Brighton's sea front.
Two runners up will also receive a BOSS Compact Pedal of their choice.
So what are you waiting for? Visit www.guitar-breaks.com/boss now!
Paul Sayer, who was joining us in Brighton, has been called away on International Duty so won't be able to make it. But never fear! We have the awesome Jamie Humphries with us instead!
Jamie's CV reads like a professional player's dream.
You can check the details here: www.jamiehumphries.com
You may be aware that Chris Buck recently started using Victory Amplifiers. But do you know why?
Here's Chris in his own words, discussing his decision to move to Victory.
Spoiler alert! It just may have something to do with Guitar Breaks.........
Oh, and there's also some pretty darned tasty playing too, so make sure you watch to the end!
Want the chance to win an amazing gig bag or some top strings? Here it is!
We are so excited about being joined by Matt Schofield and Ariel Posen for The Blues Special guitar adventure in Italy, May 12-18, that we wanted to give you the chance to win some great stuff!
So we have partnered with the lovely people at Reunion Blues and Curt Mangan to give you the opportunity.
To be entered into the draw and be in with a chance of winning, all you have to do is click here and fill out the form.
The winners' names will be pulled out of a hat and announced on our Facebook and Instagram pages on Monday 11th March 2019. GOOD LUCK!
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