Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

So this is the new year!

January 9, 2013

Hello 2013! The new year has arrived at Independent Clauses, with new music, new projects and (already) newly discovered ways to waste time. Sounds good, right? Let’s get to it.

Independent Clauses’ 10-year anniversary is coming up, which means we’ll have a super-special birthday gift for you in May that I’m working really hard to complete.

I’m going to be a guest judge in SpinTunes 6! SpinTunes is a really cool songwriting contest that includes completing four songwriting tasks relatively quickly. I’ll be judging round two. You should enter! Yes, you!

Alt-folk artist The Duke of Norfolk, whom I manage/book, will be releasing a new EP via Mint 400 Records on January 29 entitled Le Monde Tournes Toujours! It’s pretty incredible. I’ll keep you posted with details.

I’ll finally (finally) be releasing a new EP as well, of my own music. It should drop in mid-February, but the details on it are much less set than the other release.

I’m hoping to establish the Independent Clauses Traveling Show, which will feature me showing up in a town I’ve never been in once a year or so and putting on a concert featuring the bands I love from that town. Details to come!

I’ll be hitting SXSW, too!

And, as always, I’ll be reviewing all sorts of new music, starting tomorrow. Here’s to a busy but wonderful 2013!

In which I review a Baby Taylor for American Musical Supply

November 30, 2012

So, I don’t just write about music. I also take great joy in writing music. When American Musical Supply gave me the chance to combine these two loves by reviewing musical instruments, I immediately jumped at it. I’m not going to spam y’all, but about once a month I expect to throw a video up about an instrument (which I or some lucky accomplice gets to keep afterwards).

Which brings us to the Taylor BT1 Baby Taylor 34 Size Acoustic Guitar. AMS sent me one as my initial foray into reviewing, which is slightly problematic because I’m like Ben Folds: I play almost everything but guitar. So I enlisted the help of my friend Adam Howard, who records as The Duke of Norfolk, to test out this acoustic guitar.

Adam told me that he had long wanted a size 34 guitar (which he called a three-quarters size guitar), because of their versatility and usefulness. “I can throw it on my back,” he said. “It’s like a sketchbook or a notepad.” It is almost the size of one, certainly; it was remarkably light and incredibly easy to play. Even I, with my stumpy fingers (hello, bass and piano), was able to reach frets easily. For someone with regular-sized fingers like Adam, it made playing chords that require distant frets positively easy. “When I play this chord on a dreadnaught size guitar, it’s incredibly difficult,” Adam said. “Here, it’s just easy.”

But the benefits of this Taylor extend beyond its playability. Adam had a high opinion of Taylor guitars before this review, and those expectations were fulfilled in the make and finish of the baby Taylor. Its sound quality was appealing to him as well. Small guitars have a bit of a looser sound to the notes because of the way they are strung, and Adam was pleased with their ring and resonance. The guitar sounded great when picking single notes or strumming full chords.

If you’re interested in a versatile 6-string acoustic guitar that allows for easy transport, the Taylor BT1 Baby Taylor 34 Size Acoustic Guitar is a strong bet.

Stephen Carradini and Lisa Whealy write reviews of instrumental, folk, and singer/songwriter music. We write about those trying to make the next step in their careers and established artists.

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