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A Conversation with Recording Engineer Blake Harden

Thursday, April 19th, 2018

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Canadian Musician contributor Jeff Gunn recently caught up with engineer Blake Harden (Kendrick Lamar, Travis Scott, SZA) for the latest installment of his “A Conversation with…” series.

Do you know anyone who has packed up everything they owned, drove across a continent, and made a fresh start in pursuit of their musical dreams? One day about five years ago, engineer and producer Blake Harden made such a journey. After working in the Atlanta music scene for years, he set off in search of bigger opportunities in L.A., and the risk has paid off.

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A Conversation with Controllerist Alluxe

Monday, April 9th, 2018

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Canadian Musician contributor Jeff Gunn is back with the latest edition of his “A Conversation with…” series. This time, we’re venturing out of six-string territory and into controllerism with the one and only Alluxe.

If you watched Logic’s performance at the 2018 Grammys or caught a show on one of Kanye West’s recent tours then you have been witness to one of L.A.’s most in-demand controllerists, Laura Escudé, aka Alluxe. A controllerist, producer, live show programmer, and violinist, Alluxe has opened for Garbage and toured the world with Kanye West and Miguel. She has personally trained numerous people for her live show design company, Electronic Creatives, who are the soundscape-operating gurus behind Logic, Harry Styles, Camila Cabello, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Kid Cudi, Pentatonix, and many more. Her diverse musical skill set has even led her to develop shows with the likes of jazz legend Herbie Hancock.

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A Conversation with Guitarist Tristan Avakian

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2018

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Canadian Musician contributor Jeff Gunn brings us his latest guitar-focused interview with musical theatre vet Tristan Avakian.

Musical theatre can offer both a challenging and exhilarating avenue of expression for guitarists. The ability to bring charts to life and support a story is a unique craft that requires guitarists to read and develop a diverse sense of musicality. Perhaps no one knows this better than Tristan Avakian. Since moving to Canada in 2005, he has performed both in the pit and on stage in some of the world’s top musicals, including We Will Rock You, Kinky Boots, Bat Out Of Hell, Rock of Ages, and, currently, Come From Away.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Tristan and ask some questions about the role of the guitar in musical theatre.

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A Conversation with Guitarist Nathan Whitney

Tuesday, March 27th, 2018

Processed with VSCO with v8 preset Canadian Musician contributor Jeff Gunn brings us his latest interview with a fellow six-string slinger: Thomas Rhett guitarist Nathan Whitney.

Imagine covering one of your favourite artists night after night in a local club. Now imagine getting a call to board a plane, and 12 hours later, starting rehearsals with that artist in preparation for a major tour. For Toronto-based guitarist Nathan Whitney, this dream for many became his reality. Over the past year, Whitney went from playing Thomas Rhett covers to playing with the man himself on stadium, arena, and festival stages throughout North America.

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A Conversation with Guitarist James Bryan

Monday, March 19th, 2018

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Longtime Canadian Musician contributor Jeff Gunn sits down with guitarist James Bryan, who since beginning his career with The Philosopher Kings has gone on to perform alongside a who’s who of international talent.

Sitting across from one of Canada’s most talented guitarists and songwriters, it’s hard not to feel inspired. That was the case while talking solo guitar and songwriting with James Bryan. His professional career stretches back to the 1990s, when he found success in Juno Award-winning group The Philosopher Kings. Since then, he has garnered a Latin Grammy for writing and production on Nelly Furtado’s Mi Plan, performed at the Princess Diana Memorial Concert at Wembley Stadium, shared the stage with Sir Elton John, Kanye West, and Pharrell, and worked with the likes of Jason Mraz and James Blunt. And the list goes on…

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A Conversation with MAGIC!’s Mark “Pelli” Pellizzer

Monday, March 5th, 2018

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Longtime Canadian Musician contributor Jeff Gunn sits down once again with Mark Pelli, guitarist & keyboardist with reggae-infused pop outfit MAGIC!

Guitarists who have experienced major mainstream success in pop bands often have musical interests that go beyond their band’s sonic profile. Mark Pellizzer, more commonly known as Pelli by his muso friends, is one such musician. A Juno Award-winning multi-instrumentalist, Pelli performs guitar and keys with Magic! and has written and co-produced songs for artists including Shakira and Classified. Here, Pelli reflects on his intimate approach to acoustic guitar in songwriting and live performance.

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A Conversation with Guitarist Dru DeCaro

Thursday, March 1st, 2018

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Longtime Canadian Musician contributor Jeff Gunn speaks with busy L.A.-based guitarist Dru DeCaro (Miguel, Jay Z) about all-things acoustic guitar.

If you’ve attended any of Grammy Award-winning artist Miguel’s energizing shows, or happened to score a ticket to the latest Jay-Z 4:44 Tour, or better still, caught a pop-up L.A. performance by space-faring rock band Falconry then you’ve seen Dru DeCaro in action.

Decked in white like a modern-day guitar saint, his onstage presence captures the essence of rock ‘n’ roll while contributing unlimited vitality to whichever show he may be performing.

It was during a coffee break on a day of recording at DeCaro’s LP House Studios in LA that the two-time Grammy-nominated guitarist (he co-wrote and co-produced songs on Miguel’s Kaleidoscope Dream and Wildheart) revealed that he has always felt an intimate connection to his acoustic guitars.

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