Friday, March 20, 2009

Neko Case "Middle Cyclone", Hamer Echotone guitar

Neko Case has put out another excellent CD. I have yet to listen to all of it - probably over half. So far, I am very impressed. Current favorite is "People Got A Lotta Nerve", with it's very jangly 12-string electric guitar played by Paul Rigby and fantastic backing vocals by Kelly Hogan, Rachel Flotard and Nora O'Connor. Garth Hudson, the legendary keyboardist for The Band, makes numerous appearences, as well. Neko is in fine form. As an added bonus, the artwork on the package is great. She is a very talented artist. I am looking forward to seeing Neko in concert on April 26, her last concert on this leg of the tour.

On the guitar side - I just tried out a Hamer Echotone, a Made in Korea ES-335 clone. I have heard good things about the Echotone, but have never found one to try until last weekend. The guitar had a very slim rosewood neck, medium size frets and near flawless finish. It is hard to believe they sell these for under $500. The body is laminated maple, with a sunburst finish. Weight seemed to be tolerable, probably around 7 lbs.

Tone was very good, too, but a bit on the harsh end. Could have been the amp, though. Pickups are usually the first thing people change on an inexpensive guitar. I would change them out if I owned this guitar just because I like alnico pickups better than ceramics. A minor change on a very nice guitar.

I like the Echotone much better than the Epiphone Dot, which has a shorter curve on the bottom cutaway, which really interferes with my ability to play on the upper frets. The Echotone is very much like a Gibson ES-335 in this regard, with no problems reaching those high frets.

March 19 was the anniversary of the passing two great guitarists - Randy Rhoads and Paul Kossoff. Total opposites on the playing spectrum, but legendary in the guitar world. They are both very much missed.

If anyone out there has visited my website, Retro Ads and Graphics, I have since added more old ads in the last week or so. I have many more to come. So far, the site has gotten visitors from Europe, New Zealand, and a few states in the US. I have discovered many more sites doing the same thing so there seems to be quite a few of us designers out there who appreciate this kind of thing.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Neko Case - "Middle Cyclone" released today!



I am really looking forward to hearing Neko Case's new CD, which came out today. I love her music, but I also admire her artwork skills. This looks like her work. The artwork on Fox Confessor Brings the Flood was excellent.

From her website: "Middle Cyclone features Neko backed by her much-beloved core band - guitarist Paul Rigby, bassist Tom V. Ray, backing vocalist Kelly Hogan, multi-instrumentalist Jon Rauhouse, and drummer Barry Mirochnick - along with numerous guests including M. Ward, Garth Hudson, Sarah Harmer, and members of The New Pornographers, Los Lobos, Calexico, The Sadies, Visqueen, The Lilys, and Giant Sand, among others." She is coming in concert to the State Theater later this spring. I am thinking of going, as the State is a great place to see a concert.