The former West Coast Editor of the now defunkt Guitar One magazine (1996-2007), Dale Turner is an instructor at Hollywood’s Musician’s Institute, and author of 50+ instructional books/transcription folios (his latest being Power Plucking – A Rocker’s Guide to Acoustic Fingerstyle Guitar).
Once a member of David Pritchard’s Acoustic Guitar Quartet (Unassigned Territory, Zebra/WEA), Dale has also performed with players/artists ranging from Billy Cobham (Mahavishnu Orchestra/Miles Davis) and Larry Klein (Joni Mitchell/Shawn Colvin), to Academy Award nominee Bird York and Eric “Bobo” Correa (Cypress Hill).
In 2004, Dale issued Interpretations: Solo Arrangements for Guitar and Voice. He is currently putting the finishing touches a “full band” album of original compositions, where he’s playing all the instruments (guitar, bass, real acoustic drums, piano, accordion, mandolin, and voices).
Dale, what are your top fave 5 records which have
impacted you the most in your life musically or otherwise?
Dale: Hmm… I think the biggest “records” that affected me were things like the Beach Boys’ Good Vibrations Boxed Set, Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue, some recordings of Chopin, Stravinsky, and Bartok pieces… I would also hate to leave out stuff by bands like Mr. Bungle, Nine Inch Nails, Radiohead, Ours, King’s X, Primus, Fishbone… artists like Bjork, Chris Cornell, Elliott Smith, John Frusciante, or Ani DiFranco… Maybe, so I can focus here, I’ll try sticking to my fave 5 GUITAR-BASED records???
Perfect Sky by Andrew York
When I first heard this disc, back in 1987, it was the first time I heard a classically-trained guitar virtuoso playing non-classical, non Chet Atkins-type (whom I love), and non-“new age” fingerstyle guitar. These were beautiful and engaging original fingerstyle pieces played on nylon- and steel-string acoustic (as well as electric), and genius adaptations/arrangements of orchestral/piano-based classics like “Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy” and the “Linus and Lucy/Peanuts” theme- replete with Vince Guaraldi’s original jazz piano/walking basslines solo. Just real inspirational playing and writing throughout.
The Introduction by Steve Morse
I suppose I could put darned near any Morse disc on this list, but this- his debut solo album- his the first one I heard, and it definitely tore me apart. I’d heard other “instrumental guitar” records that mixed different styles, but to me, they came across as “here’s my country playing,” “here’s my blues playing,” “here’s my fusion song,” “here’s my acoustic piece,” “here’s a dose of metal,” and so on. This Morse album seamlessly melded numerous elements (hard rock, jazz, blues, bluegrass, classical, and Celtic) into a unique hodgepodge- clearly a style all his own, rich in colors/flavors and highly eclectic, supporting his technically perfect-yet highly emotive–playing.
Letter From Home by Pat Metheny
There are other Metheny albums that I enjoy more. But, regardless of the Metheny album, to me, his playing is always inspired and interesting-superb tone, with slippery legato phrasing, great use of chromatic passing tones, intervallic sounds, unpredictable rhythms, and pacing of energy. And he is a great composer. Letter from Home makes this top 5 list because of its devastatingly beautiful title track-delicate, but rich with subtle textures (soprano guitar, piano, and who knows what else), melodically powerful, yet dark and haunting. There is not one wasted note. I actually arranged and played a solo guitar version of it at my father’s funeral. It’s that kind of piece.
Meaningless by Jon Brion
This album is a recent fave, and perhaps a bit off my goal of keeping it “guitar-based” Jon Brion is featured playing guitar (among other things) on scads of albums, but this is the songwriter/film composer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist’s only solo CD-a disc of hook-heavy, spine-tingling, and unpredictably perfect pop/rock songs, which also happens to be a fine example of modern Beatles-style (and other flavored) guitar layering. For one example, check out the interplay of axes in “Hook, Line and Sinker.” And there are all sorts of weirded-out, double-tracked, hard-panned, “buzzing” guitar leads on other tracks. Unique stuff, with a myriad of acoustic and electric instruments used throughout.
Live at Sin-é (2 Disc Legacy Edition) by Jeff Buckley
Another recent fave…Jeff Buckley’s first release was a live four-song EP issued in 1993. Ten years later, after he passed away, a two-CD version was released (as well as a bonus DVD disc), containing more cuts from these two nights (five hours total were recorded, apparently). On this collection, you hear him having tons of fun with his Telecaster in a variety of settings (originals and covers), tunings, and accompaniment styles. This is all one man and his guitar, totally raw, laying it down with a pure, unaffected guitar tone. I love this set, because it’s obvious how improvisation-based his playing and singing is. (Some of it is funny as hell!) To me, when he combined his voice and guitar, Jeff Buckley was just as spontaneous and pure-in terms of stream-of-consciousness creativity-as Jimi Hendrix.
Thank you Dale for joining us! High-5!
© 2008 Guitarhoo!
Dale on the web