This virtuoso panpipes player has no hands

Matthias Schlubeck is considered one of the world's greatest players of the pan pipes (aka pan flute.). Zamfir's got nothing on Schlubek who was born without hands. From Dust to Digital's Instagram:

Born in Germany in 1973 without fully-developed arms, he began studying music when he was six years old. At the Musikhochschule Köln in the 1990s, Matthiäs focused on panpipes and developed his style of moving his head to get different notes.

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You should listen to more Shakey Graves

My wife and I love Shakey Graves. Love. Him.

His music is in constant rotation in our motorhome, no matter whether we're parked or on the move. He fills our ears when we're out for groceries or driving our pooch to the park. After years of listening to him from afar, we finally had the opportunity to catch him live this past November. The show was in San Antonio, Texas. The doors opened 90 minutes before Shakey hit the stage. We were surrounded by people half our age. The concrete pad we were standing on and a chill in the air had everyone there uncomfortable in feet and temperature. Everyone drank $10 mixed drinks and buckets of canned beer in a misguided attempt to stay warm. Some folks partook in left-handed cigarettes. Those people were kicked out. The wife and I re-upped our cups with hooch from the flask I'd snuck past the doormen. She and I discovered that maybe we're getting too old for going to outdoor gigs. She and I agreed that maybe we were even too old to bother with any venue that doesn't come with theater seating. Our feet and knees hurt for a days, afterwards.

But it was totally worth it.

I've seen a lot of performers in my time. I used to be one myself. Some are terrible. Some, like me, are capable but have no presence on stage--ham and eggers looking to make a living. Others are all show and no real talent--they rely on a skilled band and tricks of the trade to sell songs and tickets. Read the rest

Profile of musician Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton

Chris Funk of The Decemberists met with Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton, a blind musician from South Central Los Angeles. He is in his 20s and specializes in music of the 1920s and 30s. He plays banjo, piano, harmonica, and other instruments.

Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton is a musician bringing back the magic of a bygone era of American jazz. Drawing inspiration from the blues scene of the 1930s, Paxton has become a master of forgotten music, transporting his audiences to another time. By the time he was 18 years old, Paxton was declared legally blind, lending way to his moniker “Blind Boy.” Still, his love of music never waned. The multi-instrumentalist and musical virtuoso continues forward on his historical mission, rediscovering and spreading the genius of the original black music of America.

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Comfortably Numb on acoustic guitar

The Acoustician performs excellent acoustic, instrumental guitar covers of classic rock songs. See the solo training videos too.

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Inside XTC's "Complicated Game"

It is perhaps very telling that all of the review blurbs on the back cover of Andy Partridge and Todd Bernhardt's Complicated Game: Inside the Songs of XTC are written by fellow musicians and songwriters. Andy Partridge has always been a musician's musician.

Complicated Game is a series of candid and detailed interviews with Andy Partridge about many of XTC's most well-known songs. Todd Bernhardt, the interviewer, is a fellow musician, XTC mega-fan, and friend of Andy's, so they don't shy away from discussing the nitty-gritty details of chord changes, instruments used, studio hacks, and other compositional and engineering minutia.

In the chapter on "Senses Working Overtime," Andy explains how the whole song came about as he was fooling around on a new Martin guitar and he played a "messed-up E-flat." He thought it sounded very Medieval so he tried to find other chords that went with it (A-flat minor and D-flat). He says the rest of the song sort of composed itself from there. We also learn that "English Settlement" was their "new instruments record." The bandmembers had all just gotten new instruments (Andy, the Martin, Dave Gregory, a 12-string Richenbacker, Colin Moulding, a fretless bass) and they were excited to noodle around on them to see what they could do.

There are many other interesting and fun revelations in the book. "This is Pop," from White Music, was Andy's way of rejecting the pigeonholing of the punk label, making sure that everyone was reminded that this is pop music, plain and simple, and that ain't a dirty word. Read the rest

New Disruptors 64: Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves with The Doubleclicks

Angela and Aubrey Webber are the musical group The Doubleclicks, bringing geeky music to nerdy folk. The sisters never intended to form a band, but when Aubrey joined her sister Angela in Portland a few years ago, her cello coupled with Angela's singing caused enough of a stir for them to join forces and write songs about Dungeons & Dungeons, the Curiosity rover, and not dissing the geek girl. We talk about all this and their absurdly successful Kickstarter campaign that just closed.

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Broke-ass band cuts an album by borrowing a giant music store's facilities and gear

Stacey sez, "In innovative collaboration between a music shop and a band with no cash that will help get an album made. The music shop is allowing the unsigned band to use the recording equipment for sale in the shop after hours. The band, Georgia Wonder, were also happy to be 'one of the most pirated bands in the world' on PirateBay

Georgia Wonder: Recording An Album With No Cash

(Thanks, Stacey!)

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