Michigan Marrow 5k Walk

Get ready to help save lives by putting on your walking shoes and participating in our inaugural Michigan Marrow 5K Walk or Donating to Team Taylor! The walk will be held at Stony Creek Park in Shelby Township on Saturday, August 13 at 9:00 a.m.

My wife Jen and I have just register to be on Team Taylor for the Michigan Marrow Walk. If you would like to join the team visit:

If you would like to donate visit

My personal goal is to raise $1,000. We understand that times are hard on everyone right now but we would really appreciate any donation that you can spare. There is a really easy form on-line. It will only take a minute.

My involvement in this race is in support of a student of mine, Taylor, an incredibly brave young woman who is fighting for her life. Help her and the thousands of people of all ages that are diagnosed with leukemia and other life-threatening diseases.

The Michigan Marrow 5K Walk that unites communities across Michigan in support of helping patients in need of a bone marrow transplant. With your support you can help us cover the cost of adding new potential donors to the Be The Match Registry, increasing the chances of saving more lives. You will also be supporting patients with financial hardships through My Friends Care Cancer Fund.

New Chapter

For those that haven’t heard yet I will no longer be playing with 7 Million Jigawatts. It has been a good run. I have been with them for over 3 years and in that time I have made some great friends and grown as a musician. The band helped me to improve my vocals by singing harmonies. Improved my rock and pop guitar playing including learning a ton about tone and gear. (thanks Jake!) Had a lot of fun playing bass and keys together. Put my home studio and recording engineering skills to the test when recording our 5 song ep “Taking Flight”. I had the wonderful opportunity to record on Melissa’s jazz project. 7mj fans are in for real treat when Melissa releases the tracks for that disc! Melissa, founder of Dream Town Media, is also working with some great artist helping them to develop and promote their projects. Dream Town Media handles a wide spectrum of services from online marketing to publishing to branding. Jake Tobias, founder of Tobiasound Studios, is available for recording. He did a great job recording, mixing and mastering my show at Bakers last year that is available to listen to on the jazz trio page. Jake and Melissa are always working hard to support local music/artists and our community. 7MJ will continue to rock hard pushing into the new year with a new lineup so I hope the you will check them out. My last show with them will be Friday, December 17th at Rogers Roost in Sterling Hts. Hope to see you there.

However the time has come for a new chapter. Time for me to work on some other things. It is time I finally quit talking about writing a third Fingerstyle disc and really do it. In the mean time I will also be recording a live disc for release in mid 2011. The first date for recording will be on Friday, Jan 21 at Lazy Daze Lounge in Downtown Rochester.

Also, It’s time I get back to my true passion- jazz. As luck would have it I recently got a call to book the jazz trio- slightly modified to focus on Latin jazz to fit at Cantina Diablo. The timing couldn’t be better to get the guys together and work out some new material. We have recorded a little bit from our shows and you can listen to a couple of clips on jazz trio page. Check the shows page for complete show info but as of now we are playing at Cantina Diablo in Ferndale on 12/3 12/11, 12/18, 12/30 12/31 and then all Saturdays in January and February starting January 8th.

Jon and Nate having a blast performing live
Jon and Nate having a blast performing live
Of course Jon and I will still be playing together as 45th Parallel acoustic duo doing classic and alternative rock along with our original music- especially Jon’s. Did you know that Jon Vidal is an incredible song writer? If you haven’t done so you definitely need to check out his solo discs. We are about half way done recording his 3rd disc at Studio 1946. We hope to have it done early next year and also considering recording a live disk as well. Stay tuned for more info about that. You can visit 45duo.com or like us on FaceBook for complete show info but here is a list of our next couple: Sat, 12/4 @ Liberty Street Beer Co in Plymouth, Wed, 12/22 @ Dooley’s in Sterling Hts, Thursday, 1/27 @ OCG in Royal Oak & Friday, 1/28 @ Library Pub in Novi.

Hope everyone has a great holiday season. All of my different projects as well as 7MJ are available for private parties and functions. If you would like more information email or call. I would be happy to discuss the possibilities.


No Rules

Alternate Tunings
About 8-10 years ago I found my self in a little bit of a rut- sort of burned out on guitar. Then there was a series of events all of which help me to find fufillment in playing acoustic guitar. A couple of them I already wrote about in a previous post about Tuck Andress. It was around this period that I started playing around with alternate tunings. Just when I had thought I had seen it all I attended a Preston Reed clinic and concert and started using the body as a percussion instrument. One concept that came to mind was “NO RULES!”.

When you take the guitar and completely retune the instrument it is like starting over. Your normal chord shapes and structures will not necessarily work in the new tuning and you have to abandon your previous views on how to compose. People often ask me how I write my tunes and honestly they are almost all different but for the most part I like to start with a melody line and then fill in the bass notes. By the time the melody and bass are together there are only so many possibilities of what other notes you can fit with six strings, four fingers and a thumb! It is fun to start with a drum beat some times but I have found that I often get too caught up in the groove of the percussion and bass until I can no longer hear a melody or even a second section. Over all exploring what the guitar has to offer in any given alternate tuning can be a nice break from the theory-driven aspects of standard tuning.

I saw Preston Reed perform again recently only this time it was the as a music fan instead of a guitar player. It was just as inspiring but it a whole new way. Up till this point I had been focused on the complexity and technique of his playing, this time around I was swirling in the compositions.

So today I would like to leave you with one of my favorite quotes:

Wes Montgomery played impossible things on the guitar because it was never pointed out to him that they were impossible.” Ronnie Scott

Tuck Andress – inspires me still

The other day I got this email from one of my band mates Melissa telling me to check out this great site called Jazz guitar life. Naturally I had to click on the link to check it out… “Jazz” “Guitar” and “Life” in one sentence….Jazz guitar is my life. And low and behold there on the front page there is this great interview by Lyle Robinson with Tuck Andres, who has been by far one of the most influential guitar players in my life. So much so I actually wrote a song that I titled Blues for Tuck because of the enormous impact he has had in my playing and in that song. Some might not hear the exact influence but it is there. The incredible part about this interview with Tuck is that even though he is on this almost non-human level of playing the instrument he gets right down to earth and lets you see a bit of his world. To hear him talk about his heros, his moments of awe, to hear about the some of the challenges they faced and how they worked around them… By Tuck letting us/me into his world a little through the portal of this interview I find myself rejuvenated. I feel inspired to practice more then I have in a while. It gives me hope, reminds me that everything is possible. Some of you may not get this from reading the interview, but I feel that Tuck is truly a gracious person that does deserve to be “that good”.

Of course reading this interview also took me back to what was and still is the highlight of my career, the night I got to open up for Tuck and Patti at the Magic Bag Theatre in Ferndale. My friend Chris Oleksy, who at the time was a fellow teacher at Gus Zoppi’s had been working on this project where we each played 2 guitars simultaneously. Chris, who was a student of mine back in the day, was huge into Stanley Jordon and was working on the whole tapping technique. Together we started arranging and writing tunes. We called the group Groovelation, like the song/album Groove Elation by John Scofield, also one of my favorite guitarist, then and now. I played a white Steinberger bassMy steinberger bass duck taped to a guitar stand on a Uhaul box with my left hand and a guitar with my right. Chris played a seven string in the right and a 6 string with his left laying across his lap. I don’t know how Chris did it but some how he hooked us up with this gig. It was crazy! I had a tremendous amount of respect for Tuck and Patti before, but watching them up close and in person took it to a whole other level. During the sound check Tuck would play a bit and Patti would call out to the sound guy something like “notch out a bit at 10K its a little hot and add a little around 100hz”. The two of them were incredible the way they prepared for the show. I have since been to a lot of shows at the Magic Bag and To date it still remains the show that had the best sound at that venue. After the show I got Tuck to autograph my 7 string guitar. It really was the opportunity of a life time.

After the show Chris and I played together for awhile around town and we performed together for my senior recital at Wayne. We also added a vocalist, Leah Woods (AKA James) and a drummer, Clint Sabon. We had a lot of fun. I think there is some really low quality video footage out there some where. It would be fun to see that now after all these years. This project definitely changed the way I viewed the instrument and what is possible. It was at the tail end of all this that I started writing the solo acoustic stuff. You could say I was looking for a way to combine those 4 guitar parts into one on the instrument. I haven’t quite gotten there but I am not done trying….