SHINE clip In Your Hand

Thanks for all the donations we've received for our SHINE IndieGoGo campaign so far! To celebrate, we'd like to share with you a lovely number from SHINE in Seattle 2010. It's called "In Your Hand."

In this number, a gender studies grad student named Grace (Gemma Isaac) asks burlesque queen Lulu Von Doozy (Adra Boo) for advice on how to dance.

I can't wait to play guitar on these songs.

Please consider kicking in a few bucks to support SHINE. If you don't have the dough right now please "like" and share the link to our SHINE IndieGoGo campaign.

SHINE: The Musical crowd funding campaign

We just launched our crowd funding campaign for SHINE: The Musical. I'm really excited to be Musical Director for this fantastic show. We need your help to make this happen. Please consider donating. If you can't afford to support financially right now, please consider sharing the IndieGoGo page on your social media.

It is impossible to get public funding for a theatre show that includes burlesque. That's why we need your help. We are asking you not only to "support local theatre." We are inviting you to be a part of something awesome and see a killer show at the end of it!

You can find our campaign here on the IndieGoGo website. Here's a video explaining more about the show and our campaign.


SHINE: A Burlesque Musical is an original show with songs by Cass King and John Woods of The Wet Spots, and script by Cass King and Sam Dulmage. It combines the bawdy comedy of burlesque with a full book musical. It's a smart, sexy night out for grown-ups. SHINE is the HBO of live musical theatre.

Critical Response

Here is what the critics have said about past productions of SHINE:

Time Out New York:

“Hands-down more goosebumps per minute than any other show... It’s ‘RENT’ for our generation... The music is Broadway calibre... If it doesn’t go on to a longer run, there is no God.”

Stage and Cinema:

"SHINE is simultaneously smart and sexy. The show expertly balances between sincerity and campy send-up, striking notes of nostalgia for vanishing venues while humorously highlighting the missteps that we make when trying to preserve the things we love."

Theatre Is Easy NYC:

“The show is brilliant: brilliant performances, amazingly classy dancing, badass vocal performances and all around stellar and crisp acting. Bottom Line: You do NOT want to miss SHINE: A Burlesque Musical" ('Can't Miss' recommendation)

The Vancouver Courier:

"Omigawd what rude fun… It has all the makings of a cult classic."

1960s Sunn guitar amp sounds gorgeous

Sunn guitar amp with Fender Bassman cab

In our ongoing series of small dogs with large guitar amps, here Ringo poses with his 1968 Sunn amp. It's similar to what Townsend, Entwistle, and Hendrix all used back in the day.

This amp is hooked up to a sweet Fender Bassman cab with JBL 130s or 140s, we're not sure.

The amp has a beautiful sounding after-market reverb unit. The whole thing gives a wonderful clean tone. Boost that with an old Tube Screamer and you've got a tone the guitar greats could dream for.

The fabric on the cabinet has seen some better days, but really why replace the original? The numbers on the dials of the Sunn amp have also long faded away, so it's not possible to see if this amp can go up to 11.

Thanks to my guitar student Tom for loaning me this gem for a month.

Ryan Adams 1989 covers Taylor Swift

Ryan Adams 1989 album cover

Ryan Adams has released a track-by-track cover of Taylor Swift's album 1989 and it raises great questions about songwriting and production. Most songs can be reduced to three things: lyrics, melody, and chord progression. The rest is arrangement, performance, production, recording techniques and so often the music industry turns great songs into lousy tracks.

Drinking at a bar in Canmore Alberta last year I had a heated debate with a music nerd in which I defended Taylor Swift. I said she is a good songwriter. Some people just don't like pop and country music. I don't listen to her music other than to teach it to my guitar students but I appreciate so many of her songs. I don't listen to it myself because I'm not the demographic. It doesn't reach me lyrically. But songs like Whitehorse are great songs because they tell a story that so many people relate to and they do it with strong melodies.

But when I heard the singles from her 1989 album I had trouble hearing past all the slick pop production. I was disappointed.

But now I can finally listen to Taylor Swift, thanks to Ryan Adams. Stripped of all the pop production that makes you feel like you're in a 1980s shopping mall, we can now hear human beings play these songs on real instruments and it sounds great.

Rumour was that Adams was making his covers in the style of The Smiths. It sounds much more like Springsteen though. Especially the acoustic tracks like “Welcome to New York” which sound like they could be from Springsteen's excellent Nebraska album.

Adams told Rolling Stone magazine "It's not a reimagining or a reconstruction at all. It's a parallel universe. That's how I think of it. We're creating an alternate universe, like in Marvel Comics.... It wasn't like I wanted to change them because they needed changing," he says. "But I knew that if I sang them from my perspective and in my voice, they would transform."

"Glories" live at IPO with Elza

Here's a new video from a gig last week. Performing with Elza at the International Pop Overthrow Festival in Vancouver this is her song "Glories." I hope to be playing with Elza a lot more in the coming months. Elza writes great songs with very unique guitar parts that have been fun for me to play.