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News 2023

December 26, 2024: Cognitive Dissonance Incarnate: My encounter with Randy California and Ed Cassidy.


December 20, 2023: The Cowboy Chords launch last week was a success! No technical issues; everything went very smooth. Thanks to everyone who purchased and look for some free thank-you bonuses in your inbox in the next couple of week!


Dec 8, 2023: Cowboy Chords (3): Next week I'm going to release my lesson series, Cowboy Chords: A Deep Dive Into 1st Position Fingerings & Application. In the meantime, here are more ways to play a G chord.


December 6, 2023: Cowboy Chords (2): In this blog I'm going to show you more ways to play G; what I call, the 4-Fingered G. This fingering/voicing is very common.


December 4, 2023: Cowboy Chords: There is a multitude of famous, influential (not to mention, RICH) songwriters and performers who use nothing but Cowboy Chords; the same chords I teach you in this series!


November 27, 2023: Launching Cowboy Chords! Cowboy Chords: Why then, is a guy like me, a pro player who has tons of advanced teaching content, interested in teaching beginner-level first-position chords that can be found with a simple search?


November 20, 2023: Tracking Haji Ahkba: The music business is a world crammed FULL of unique and colorful characters. Haji Ahkba stands out for sure!


November 15, 2023: Cowboy Chords: Suspensions: Free lesson on Sus chords, Blog links, Tune of the Month and more!


November 6, 2023: Don Glaza: An illustration of Don's sensitivity and musical sensibilities is the fact that he played with some of the heaviest jazz cats around, and yet could play and sing Hank Williams Jr's "Family Tradition" with complete commitment and conviction. It's not often you can find a musician like that.


October 30, 2023: PRS SE Hollowbody II: Gear Review: I started gigging with it right away. I like the feel of it better than the McCarty.


October 23, 2023: iReal Pro - or Con? iReal Pro - or Con? I decided to purchase the app for myself and check it out. It wouldn't hurt to look at what they were looking at so we'd all be on the same page!


October 16, 2023: Republished: The Tritone Substitution (1): What is the “Tritone sub?”


October 10, 2023: Cowboy Chords: Sandbagging Bar Chords: Free lesson: “Sandbagging Bar Chords,” blog links, Tune of the Month and more!


October 2, 2023: More Triads in the Blues: In a previous post, Triads in the Blues, I gave some examples of common ways triads are used in the context of a 12-Bar Blues. There's more where that came from!


September 25, 2023: Letter to Jimmy Bruno: It doesn’t take a lot of knowledge and it doesn’t take a lot of chops to make music from those 4 notes. What it takes is ego-strength. The REAL issue is psycho/emotional.


September 18, 2023: Triads in the Blues: The basic concept here is that we are going to apply triads to a 12-Bar Blues Shuffle. Don’t worry about not understanding the theory aspect of things. I would venture to say that most Blues guys don't understand the theory but the use of these devices is commonplace in the Blues.


September 12, 2023: Cowboy B7, Blog Links and More!: Free Lesson on Cowboy B7, blog links, Tune of the Month and more!


September 4, 2023: Work Ethic: The interior was the darkest club I ever played and was a throwback to the heyday of Kansas City jazz.


August 28, 2023: A Series of Fortuitous Events: After playing for 30 or 40 minutes his ring and pinky fingers would go numb. He went to many specialists all over the country and nobody could diagnose what was wrong.


August 21, 2023: 9th Chords in the Blues: How to use 9th chords in the Blues.


August 14, 2023: CDs: Old Habits Die Hard: Well, it was inevitable. To be honest, I'm kind of surprised it took this long. CD Baby is no longer selling physical products (CDs, vinyl and cassettes) for independent musicians.


August 8, 2023: Cowboy Chords: E & E7: Monthly Newsletter: Cowboy E, E7, Blog Links and more!


August 7, 2023: JAM! Chapter 4: No one who's ever been involved in this thing had any idea or expectation that it would last this long. It's a freakin' one-of-a-kind thing. And it's still going!


July 31, 2023: JAM! Chapter 3: Wanna know about Mama Ray? Click the link and read all about her! In this chapter Allen Monroe takes over the keyboard chair. The Jam moves to the Embassy Bistro then to B.B.'s.


July 24, 2023: JAM! Chapter 2: Continuing the story of the Saturday Afternoon Jam. In Chapter One I told the story of the Jam's original era (1984-1986) and how it was started by Jim LaForte and Rich VanSant. In this chapter I talk about my coming back onboard after a 5-year hiatus to join Mama Ray and the Rich VanSant Band on the Saturday Afternoon Jam at Harling's.


July 17, 2023: Jam! Chapter 1: The history of the Saturday Afternoon Jam: The Beginning at Harling’s Upstairs - 1984-86.​ 


July 11, 2023: Cowboy Chords: Cowboy Chords, Blog Links and More!


July 3, 2023: Bill Evans Time Remembered: I recently saw a documentary called, “Bill Evans Time Remembered.” Listening to players of other instruments besides guitar has made me a better guitar player.


June 26, 2023: Know Your Notes? I recently watched a podcast where Steve Vai talks about his lessons as a beginner with Joe Satriani.


June 19, 2023: You’ve Got 3 Seconds: I felt a little compassion, maybe it's misplaced but I decided to send her one last message - a little fatherly advice if you will:


June 14, 2023: Back to Cowboy Chords: June Newsletter: Free lesson on Cowboy Chords, blog links, Tune of the Month and more!


June 5, 2023: Wendler 7-String:  "While you're at it, can you put a 7th string on there? He matter-of-factly replied, "I can do that." - and he did.


May 29, 2023: Republished: How I Sabotage My Music Career - And Why: Since I first published this back in 2018 on the occasion of my marriage anniversary I’ve republished it every year. So here it is again: How I Sabotage My Music Career - And Why.


May 19, 2023: The Blues: Sandbag the Shuffle! Sandbag the Shuffle and don’t break time!


May 17, 2023: More Blues: Shuffle Technique! Students usually have some issues with being able to play a Shuffle consistently. I have several technique tips that greatly enhance strength and stamina. 


May 15, 2023: Blues Launch: How to Play a Shuffle! Blues Launch: How to Play a Shuffle!


May 9, 2023: Blues Launch! Announcing the launch of The Blues; a 12-lesson series in a PDF download.


May 1, 2023: Launching The Blues! This month (May 2023) I will be launching Unit 2 of my guitar method, Vertical Truth: Chordal Mechanisms for the Guitar. Check out the blog for how to get in on it!


April 17, 2023: A Hit Instrumental Song is Almost an Oxymoron: "...he looks at the disappearance of hit instrumental songs over a period of almost 80 years. This is one of the most significant music trends of the last century, but rarely discussed and almost never analyzed."


April 12, 2023: Cowboy Chords: Am - F: FREE lesson on 1st-position chords, blog links, Tune of the Month and more!


April 3, 2023: Remembering Kevin Mahogany: You might think that I now had a ticket into the big-time because Kevin and I were tight, but I knew that's not how the music business works.


March 21, 2023: Republished: I'm Looking For You! If you desire to become a knowledgeable musician, notch up your guitar skills and recognize the value of a systematic approach, I am looking for you!


March 15, 2023: Cowboy Chords: Progression: G-Em-C-D7This FREE lesson uses the chords we've learned so far to create a cliché progression. The term, "cliché" in this context is not negative; it means this progression is so good everybody uses it all the time! Get it down and you know hundreds of songs!


Feb 20, 2023: Republished: Common-Tone Voice Leading: Less movement means less potential for error.


February 20, 2023: Republished 2-Note Jazz Chords: When comping behind a vocalist or a soloist, playing these 2-note chords leaves space for the bass player and the keyboardist to do their thing. Trust me, they'll appreciate you for it!


February 14, 2023: Cowboy D, Blog Links and More! Free lesson, blog links, Tune-of-the-Month and more!


February 6, 2023: Make Music, Not Scales: You’ve learned the A Minor Pentatonic Scale. Good! Now how do you make it sound like music?


January 30, 2023: TAB: Yes or No? The only thing you learn by using TAB is a specific song or lick - by rote. It doesn't give you any codified or organized musical information (note names, scales, keys etc), nor does it answer any "why?"-type questions.


January 23, 2023: The Spanish 8-Tone Distinctive: How to derive the distinctive sound of the Spanish 8-Tone Scale from the Minor Pentatonic:


January 16, 2023: Tribute to Jeff Beck: What to say about Jeff Beck? He died yesterday (January 10, 2023) and today I'm somewhat surprised at how it's hitting me. I'm surprised because I never considered him to be a huge influence on my playing. I was wrong.


January 11, 2023: Cowboy Chords, Blog Links, More! FREE lesson on Cowboy Chords, blog links, 2022 gig retrospective, Tune of the Month and more!


January 2, 2023: Competitive Assholery: “This assholery thing runs throughout my growth as a player.”


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