Have Guitar – Will Travel 1- 5, shot and drafted to IG October 2018
A Photographic homage to those who inspired me to become a musician and guitar player.
Leroy Smeck was a popular American musician during the 20th century. He helped to make the ukulele popular even when it was still considered a minor instrument. As a child, Smeck was obsessed with learning to play stringed instruments, which is how he learned how to play the guitar, banjo, and the ukulele expertly. This capability earned him the nickname ‘The wizard of strings’ and he was featured in many stage and screenplays in the 1940s. Apart from producing wonderful music with the ukulele, he also taught the instrument throughout his life. A large number of young players today credit Roy Smeck as their main source of inspiration for playing the instrument.
Musical pioneer Bill Monroe is known as “the father of bluegrass music.” While Monroe would humbly say, “I’m a farmer with a mandolin and a high tenor voice,” he and his Blue Grass Boys essentially created a new musical genre out of the regional stirrings that also led to the birth of such related genres as Western Swing and honky-tonk.
American blues singer-guitarist noted for the urgent intensity of his singing and guitar playing. He was a significant influence on the development of rock music. Elmore James was a genius of the slide guitar. His influence is heard in the work of almost every post-war bottleneck player, and the source of his inspiration is a classic example of ‘artistic transmission’. The 18-year old Elmore was already an accomplished guitar player gigging around his home area of the southern Delta when he met Robert Johnson, who showed him how to play with a metal sleeve on his little finger. Elmore also borrowed one of Robert’s songs, ‘I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom’, which became his breakthrough hit and life-long signature tune. This fortunate meeting happened near Belzoni, MS where Elmore hung around with his buddy Rice Miller, who would himself go on to win world-wide acclaim as ‘Sonny Boy Williamson II’.
Doc Watson was a legendary performer who blended his traditional Appalachian musical roots with bluegrass, country, gospel and blues to create a unique style and an expansive repertoire. His flatpicking style elevated the acoustic guitar to solo status in bluegrass and country music, and whose interpretations of traditional American music profoundly influenced generations of folk and rock guitarists.
Tiny Grimes was one of the earliest jazz electric guitarists to be influenced by Charlie Christian, and he developed his own swinging style. Early on, he was a drummer and worked as a pianist in Washington. In 1938, he started playing electric guitar, and two years later he was playing in a popular jive group, the Cats and the Fiddle. During 1943-1944, Grimes was part of a classic Art Tatum Trio which also included Slam Stewart. In September 1944, he led his first record date, using Charlie Parker; highlights include the instrumental “Red Cross” and Grimes’ vocal on “Romance Without Finance (Is a Nuisance).” He also recorded for Blue Note in 1946, and then put together an R&B-oriented group, “the Rockin’ Highlanders,” that featured the tenor of Red Prysock during 1948-1952. Although maintaining a fairly low profile, Tiny Grimes was active up until his death, playing in an unchanged swing/bop transitional style and recording as a leader for such labels as Prestige/Swingville, Black & Blue, Muse, and Sonet