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country n western


Bartolini

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Believe it or not, these days most country bassists can play burnin' fusion as easily as a laid-back two beat:

 

Some of the most well-known country players in Nashville are:

 

Glenn Worf

Mike Chapman (Garth Brooks)

Roy Vogt

Dave Hungate (who co-founded Toto)

Keith Horne (Trisha Yearwood)

Gary Tallent (Bruce Springsteen)

Dave Pomeroy

 

These guys are all serious players...Country music may be harmonically simple most of the time, but don't be so quick to dismiss it. Laying down a good country groove is all about subtlety, and that's more difficult than one might think.

 

That's $0.02 American.

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First - Ben's absolutely right.

 

Second - The band I'm currently working with does a good bit of country. When I joined them, they had been around S. FLA for 18 years, and played a wide range of music.

 

From a bass players' standpoint (after coming from a '60's style classic rock cover band), I found the country songs much more fun to play. It's a great style to lock in with the drummers (we have 2), and there is plenty of space to work with....of course that means there is also plenty of space to gum up the works, so subtlety and taste come into play.

 

If you have any doubts, try sitting in with a country band.

 

No matter the style of music - being part of a tight rythmn section is a kick.

 

JBFLA

Jim

Confirmed RoscoeHead

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I'll admit it, I don't really enjoy country'n'western music. However, there are definitely some great musicians and thoughtful songwriters working in that genre. I also think there are more and more examples in all genres of the borrowing of "flavoring" from other genres. This, I think, to the great benefit of all, including country music.

 

One of the most burnin' live bass solos I ever heard was at the only c'n'w bar I've ever been to (when I lived in Charlotte NC). The bass player, who'd been holding down the bottom with great subtlety for his country group (keepin' the two-steppers two-steppin' all night long :) ), busted out the major chops and lit the room up.

 

Peace.

spreadluv

 

Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

Messiaen knew how to parlay the funk.

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Well, as a bassist who primarily plays country, and who knows a great many of the bass players doing the reocrds, I'll be happy to tell you that most of the guys here didn't start out as counry bass players. There are exceptions (Dennis Crouch with the Nashville Bluegrass band is one, but he's a fine swing bassist as well. He's also recently played on records with Sting and Elvis Costello.)

 

A buch of guys here come out of an R&B background, and some froma straight up rock and roll background (Mike Brignardello played with Giant). The third thing that you should know is that is isn't as easy to play 'great' country bass as it is to simply play some country songs; even traditional country has rules to follow; how many of you could double the piano player's left hand? Every note on every song? That's part of the skill set that the traditional guys have developed. And since contemporary country music is a heck of a lot closer to 80's pop than to Ray Price, the rules of that genre apply - there are lots of 'country' songs these days wehre the bass is hammering straight eighth notes, doing unison lines with the guitar players, and generally overplaying like they did 20 years ago in pop/rock music. And find some of the tracks that Michael Rhodes played on - Michael is doing counter-melodies, odd inversions, and pretty much re-inventing the genre.

 

But I started playing country because I could still play it when I was really drunk...

Dave Martin

Java Jive Studio

Nashville, TN

www.javajivestudio.com

 

Cuppa Joe Records

www.cuppajoerecords.com

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I took the time to read the original post because I thought it might be an inquiry about how to develop better skill in playing country music. I'd be interested in that. Instead, it just ignorantly bashes a whole genre. I find that extremely disappointing.

 

I'm not a fan of country music. I have listened to, & greatly enjoyed, a number of classic country acts (Statler Bros, Don Williams, Willy Nelson, Marty Robbins, Oak Ridge Boys, Merle Haggard), & as a result I appreciate the genre. That genre did, after all, go a long way towards building in me the love for bass that I have today (my dad used to play it in the car, & that bass sank in).

 

An exciting bass album for me is Patsy Cline's greatest hits, because her bassist will often play only 2 notes in a whole bar of 6/8, & the notes he plays give the song incredible direction. I learned an awful lot about note choices by listening to that album.

 

In a way it's easy to make an effective turnaround if you can throw in any 16th-note lick you want. When they give you one quarter note, you'd better choose very wisely.

 

At the end of the day, it is wonderful to play good music. And especially wonderful, for me, if you get to lay that rhythm down.

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My knowledge of this style of music is quite thin ("you play country AND western?).

 

Having played rock and blues, I've learned that there are lots of styles of music that are less demanding or less flashy than what we could be playing. The trick is the sublety of getting it right (Dave Martin's point). For many of us, we make the effort to get it right when the music speaks to us. If a style doesn't speak to you, that's fine.

 

In a recent coffee house gig, I had to learn The Dixie Chick's "Wide Open Spaces". during the first and third verse, the bassist is doing a counter melody in the upper register. What fun it was !! That helped remind me not to be harsh judging music styles...

 

Tom

www.stoneflyrocks.com

Acoustic Color

 

Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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I love doing country gigs. Playing the two beat feel, it always make me laugh for some reason and the rhythm section usually so tight you can't help but feel good. A couple of the jazz drummers in town have commented on my two beat, but I won't tell them were I get it.
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Hey Bart,have you listened to Country lately cuz although i play a little bit of everything, a lot of those country bass players are awesome at what their job is, to provide the punch!! There are beautiful harmonics in country music. Although the beat may not be as fast .... it requires precision and timing and sounds ssmmmootthh!! There are some groovin country bass players out there man!! These guys and gals are talented and what i have learned most of all, is to never put down any type of music, it's all about the players choice and likes. I find a lot of country tunes harder to play than a driving rock song that only requires speed and not agility to move up and down the fretboard.
Set the pace.......add more Bass!!
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Originally posted by dcr:

An exciting bass album for me is Patsy Cline's greatest hits, because her bassist will often play only 2 notes in a whole bar of 6/8, & the notes he plays give the song incredible direction. I learned an awful lot about note choices by listening to that album.

That's Bob Moore - an interesting guy as well as a great bassist. And here's a little inside stuff - if you listen to the Patsy Cline records, you'll hear A Tic Tac bass (played by Harold Bradley); A tic tac is essentially a guitar tuned an octave low, or in the same register as a bass. The tic tac is SUPPOSED to double the upright bass, except that Bob didn't like Harold a whole lot in those days, and would change his bass line between the rehearsal and tape rolling just so Harold couln't follow him. Eventually, Harold came to the concusion that tic tac shouldn't double the bass, so he quit trying...

Dave Martin

Java Jive Studio

Nashville, TN

www.javajivestudio.com

 

Cuppa Joe Records

www.cuppajoerecords.com

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Wow...this is so cool. Just before I read this thread I posted a reply on the "12 bar blues" thread. I said it then and I will say it again...I'm developing and alarming desire to play in a kick ass country band. Unfortunately there aren't many cowboys in south west London.

 

dcr...thanks for the Patsy Cline tip, I'll get right on it.

Free your mind and your ass will follow.
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Why would anyone want to be in punk band? or a heavy metal band? or an alternative band?

 

Because they love the music.

 

Same as why someone would want to be in a country band or in another thread, a blues band.

 

It seems like with bass players, it's even more important to love the music. We love the music so much that we want to play a part which seems insignificant to an outsider in order to make the music sound better.

 

Me, I just love to play. It almost doesn't matter what kind of music. I enjoy playing a lot of kinds of music that I never listen to.

 

I certainly would never criticize someone's choice of what band they play in, unless they were playing with terrible musicians.

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And of course, a bassist might like songs! And there are incredible songs that have words you can actually understand and empathize with.

 

Now we all hear the "Tear in my Beer" type songs all the time...I hear that "Who's Your Daddy" song from time to time on CMT...and they are light and funny.

 

But what about George Jones, "She Thinks I Still Care?" Incredible songwriting.

 

Here are some Country songs you should listen to:

 

Patty Loveless: "You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive," "Sorrowful Angels" First time I heard that one, I listened bawling like a babe for a half hour over and over again.

 

Allison Krauss, "When You Say Nothing at All." "Let me Touch you For a while." And a very incredible song: "Ghost in This House."

 

How about the Schuyler, Knoblock and Bickhardt (performed by them or the Rice Brothers) "This Old House." My Grandma in Detroit died 2 years ago, and we sold the house she lived in since the 1940's. I knew every crack, creak and foible of that house, spent my childhood there...and had to say goodbye to it.

 

Modern pop music creates a fantasy world for fantastic people. The old guard, Peter Gabriel, Roger Waters, Pete Townshend, Neil Young...they aren't listened to much anymore.

 

But country still talks to people where they live...and I LOVE being a part of that...a real gift to take 2 simple notes and MOVE SOMEBODY WITH THEM.

 

Of course, George Jones also sings:

 

The King is Gone (So Are You)

(as recorded by George Jones)

 

Last night I broke the seal on a Jim Beam decanter

That looks like Elvis

I soaked the label off a Flintstone Jelly Bean jar

I cleared us off a place on that one little table

that you left us

And pulled me up a big ole piece of floor

 

I pulled the head off Elvis

Filled Fred up to his pelvis

Yabba Dabba Doo, the King is gone and so are you

 

'Round about 10 we all got to talking

'Bout Graceland, Bedrock and such

The conversation finally turned to women

But they said they didn't get around too much

Elvis said, "Find 'em young"

And Fred said "Old Fashioned girls are fun"

Yabba Dabba Doo, the King is gone

And so are you

 

Later on it finally hit me

That you wouldn't be 'a comin' home no more

'Cause this time I know you won't forgive me

Like all of them other times before

Then I broke Elvis' nose

Pouring the last drop from his toes

Yabba Dabba Doo, the King is gone

And so are you

Yabba Dabba Doo, the King is gone

And so are you

 

Not a bad song either.

"Let's raise the level of this conversation" -- Jeremy Cohen, in the Picasso Thread.

 

Still spendin' that political capital far faster than I can earn it...stretched way out on a limb here and looking for a better interest rate.

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Victor Wooten, a Nashville guy, played in country and bluegrass bands when he was establishing himself as a player. Edgar Meyer plays bluegrass and has played on Garth Brooks albums. David Hungate has chops that any bassist would envy. Why don't you ask THEM?

 

Maybe they enjoy working with big stars in top notch studios on records that will reach a lot of people. Maybe the enjoy working close to home and the security of a regular check. Maybe they love the music. Maybe they love playing with some of the best musicians in the world (Nashville studio guys). Maybe they appreciate the technical accuracy and taste and discipline that makes a good country record possible.

The Black Knight always triumphs!

 

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Gosh Dan I really wish you would stop holding back on us! :D

 

When I was a young rocker, aged 15, my mom came home with an extra ticket to see Don Williams in concert. He was playing a show at the county fair in Lubbock Tx.My bass teacher,a very wise man in my estimation, had told me that"There are only two types of music-Good music and Bad music- and if you remain open minded you can learn valuble lessons from both kinds." So with this in mind I went to the show.

 

I'm very glad I did.Not only was it one of the best sounding shows I had been to up to that time(the mix was perfect,you could hear every note each instrument played)But I was awed by the sheer musicianship on display.At one point Don left the stage and the band vamped while he was gone and they were phoenominal musicians! Chop-city!At that momentI realized that just because someone played simply did not mean they where less skilled!I am grateful that I had that epiphany at age 15!

 

I have never been a big fan of C&W but believe me living in Lubbock Tx. I played my fair share of it! After seeing that show, I learned to approach each gig with a greater degree of tolerance and respect for each musical style and the people who play it.

Nothing is as it seems but everything is exactly what it is - B. Banzai

 

Life is what happens while you are busy playing in bands.

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Well, basshappi, it's great that you had that epiphany, and at such a young age. Some people don't ever realize that. :rolleyes: I'm not a huge fan of C&W, but I'ts music, and I can certainly appreciate for what it is. :D
**Standard Disclaimer** Ya gotta watch da Ouizel, as he often posts complete and utter BS. In this case however, He just might be right. Eagles may soar, but Ouizels don't get sucked into jet engines.
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It took me many years to figure out music is music. As long as I'm technically able to handle it, I love playing it.

 

I used to be one of those players who played Rock and Roll, and everything else was shit. I see people like that now, and kinda feel sorry for 'em. But, each to his own.

 

I don't listen to country at home for my personal listening, but will do country gigs anytime, as I just like playing.

 

Sometimes people would see me playing a country gig one weekend and a rock gig the next, and Elvis (impersonator) gig later, and just couldn't figure out how, or even why, I'd do that.

 

No matter the genre, I just likes layin' down that big Phat GROOVE! Yeeehaaaaaaw!

Bassplayers aren't paid to play fast, they're paid to listen fast.
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Originally posted by basshappi:

Gosh Dan I really wish you would stop holding back on us! :D

 

When I was a young rocker, aged 15, my mom came home with an extra ticket to see Don Williams in concert. He was playing a show at the county fair in Lubbock Tx....

I'm very glad I did.Not only was it one of the best sounding shows I had been to up to that time(the mix was perfect,you could hear every note each instrument played)But I was awed by the sheer musicianship on display...

That was most likely Dave Pomeroy playing ass with Don; Dave was with him for years...

Dave Martin

Java Jive Studio

Nashville, TN

www.javajivestudio.com

 

Cuppa Joe Records

www.cuppajoerecords.com

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Thanks for the info Dave it could have been.But the only guys name I remember(other than Don's of course)was the guitarist. His name was Danny Flowers,I remember because Don introduced him as the "man who wrote' Living on Tulsa Time'" However the possibility that I got to see Dave Pomeroy live is cool, He sure played his ass off!

Nothing is as it seems but everything is exactly what it is - B. Banzai

 

Life is what happens while you are busy playing in bands.

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Originally posted by fig:

 

Sometimes people would see me playing a country gig one weekend and a rock gig the next, and Elvis (impersonator) gig later, and just couldn't figure out how, or even why, I'd do that.

Yep - in the last month I've played upright on a bluegrass gig as well as a jazzy swing date, and electric bass with a country band, an R&B band, a Top 40 variety band, and an Oldies rock band. As a drummer friend said the other day, "If they're payin', I'm playin'!"

Dave Martin

Java Jive Studio

Nashville, TN

www.javajivestudio.com

 

Cuppa Joe Records

www.cuppajoerecords.com

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Originally posted by Bartolini:

...those 3 chord ding dong ding dong progressions? :rolleyes:

I recently did a gig where I filled in for a guy. The band played "I Fought the Law" by the Bobby Fuller Four. I classify that as a country tune. (I am sure some clash fan will flame me for that.) That tune basically only has only 3 chords. All I can say is that sometimes 3 chord progressions are harder than you might think.

http://www.paintedharmony.com

Dm7#11. It's a sad chord in "...the saddest of all keys, really."

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Originally posted by BenLoy:

Some of the most well-known country players in Nashville are:

 

Glenn Worf

Mike Chapman (Garth Brooks)

Roy Vogt

Dave Hungate (who co-founded Toto)

Keith Horne (Trisha Yearwood)

Gary Tallent (Bruce Springsteen)

Dave Pomeroy

 

I'm not the biggest of country fans myself, but I recently did some work for the owner of a huge four-day country music fest in midwest Minn. and got passes for the event...I was floored by the bassist for a band called "Trick Pony", a guy named Ira Dean. Definitely NOT your floor model country bass player. Went backstage and told him so too...He's got a chrome plated doghouse bass with headlights in it (for frog giggin' no doubt!! :D )

Eric, the stettoman***

If it's a pain in the butt, you're doing it wrong!

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I've gone back to rock from country, and I don't regret anything about playing the stuff (other than the lack of gigs...in HOUSTON, no less...) Anyway, I'd like to say it was because I had this huge love of country, and music in general.

 

I'd be lying. I wanted to actually make money playing.

 

As it turns out, I got quite the education from my bandmates, both about the music, and what NOT to do in a band. Having to learn walking basslines and sing back-ups at the same time presented quite the challenge, and now I'm a better player for it.

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Originally posted by Bartolini:

I'd like to know from any country-western bassist

why he chose to play bass. Is it because it is easy to sing while playing or like those 3 chord ding dong ding dong progressions? :rolleyes:

OMFG! This is soooo funny! Now I need a beer...

 

Seriously, I think it'd be cool to spend time in a country band. Not the uber trendy country rock (which is really just pop rock), but a REAL country band, or even with a maverick like Junior Brown. His stuff, well, rocks, but it's worth a listen. Some of his stuff reminds me of the speedy country legends like Jimmy Bryant. I mean, even John Petrucci threw in a country lick on one of their songs in their album "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence" on a baritone guitar. How cool is that? :)

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You might also go to http://www.thetimejumpers.com/ and listen to some of the stuff from their latest recording; Dennis Crouch is playing bass, but there's some amazing playing by everyone involved. It's really a Western Swing band (jazzier than most country), but itfalls into the 'country band' category for most folks.

 

(Disclaimer - I recorded and mixed the live record, and my wife sings with Time Jumpers.)

Dave Martin

Java Jive Studio

Nashville, TN

www.javajivestudio.com

 

Cuppa Joe Records

www.cuppajoerecords.com

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  • 2 years later...

Well, since my band evolved into a country/r'n'r band a while ago, and I find myself having more fun than ever before, I decided to dig up some old threads. Funny how many closet country fans we (used to?) have here !!! Personally I'll say that the whole timing issue is sooooo true :o

 

The bass lines I used to play in my other bands (ranging from pop over classic rock to heavy metal) were more "technical" in that I played more notes, but playing country and rock'n'roll (Arpeggio Heaven, as I like to call it :D ) has made me more aware of my shortcomings than ever before. It also doesn't help that we're a three-piece so there's no rhythm guitar sucking up sonic space - behind which I can hide when I screw up :D

 

I can't say I like it all, as far as country goes. After all, there's only so much slide guitar one person should be exposed to. But a lot of it has more to offer than y'all think.

 

High time I get Ed Friedland's "Walking Bass Lines" book ...

"I'm a work in progress." Micky Barnes

 

The Ross Brown Shirt World Tour

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If I'm a bar and one of the TVs is showing CMT(Country Music Television) I'm there with my beers.

 

I don't have the same attention span with MTV or VH-1 anymore. Maybe it's me getting older, but there's more music (and less commercialism) on CMT. And I don't feel like I'm being brainwashed into hearing the same song every hour.

 

And CMT does go back to the occasional vintage videos with the likes of Johnny, Willie, Hank, Dolly and Patsy. Even crosses over now and then to the blues greats like Muddy, B.B. and John Lee. Which makes me think MTV and VH-1 are ashamed of their roots.

So maybe I'm a little bit Marie and a little bit Donnie. :D

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