I met up with Doyle at a Philadelphia-area house concert where, joined by fiddler Duncan Wickel, he performed a stunning show that displayed the full range of his powers on guitar, from rollicking rhythm to beautifully melodic fingerstyle (actually played with a pick and one finger). Before the show, the easygoing virtuoso sat down with his left-handed Muiderman flattop to shed light on how he honors and stretches tradition as a guitarist and songwriter.
By Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers On a courtyard stage at the FreshGrass festival in western Massachusetts, Quiles and Cloud gather around a single microphone. Maria Quiles (pronounced key-less) sways in her batik skirt, singing lead and playing fingerstyle rhythm on a…
The chord trinity known as I–IV–V is one of the most useful theoretical concepts for any musician. The I–IV–V is a skeleton key for countless songs in folk, country, rock, blues, and beyond, revealing the basic similarities of, say, “Louie Louie,” “Ring of Fire,” “Man of Constant Sorrow,” and “I Fought the Law.”
Jason Mraz is a certified international pop star these days, with multiplatinum sales and a string of hit singles, but his heart is in the coffeehouse. For proof, just spin his 2001 album Live at Java Joe’s, which captures Mraz with percussionist Toca Rivera at the storied Southern California venue that also helped launch the career of Jewel. On that small stage, Mraz is in his element—singing and scatting through jazzy pop songs, nimbly grooving on acoustic guitar, delivering rapid-fire lyrics full of verbal mischief, and riffing off the crowd like a stand-up comic. In the years since, his instrumental palette and his audience has grown immensely thanks to songs like “The Remedy (I Won’t Worry),” the reggae-tinged “I’m Yours,” and “Lucky” with Colbie Caillat (for a transcription, see page 54), but the basic elements are the same. Strip away the production, and you have a guy with an acoustic guitar who thrives on the no-frills live experience.