#SNRGTR: Tony Hamera of The Blueflowers breaks down Chelsea Wolfe

by Tony Hamera

Tony Hamera of The Blueflowers

Tony Hamera of The Blueflowers

I’m going to go “off the board” with my choice for best guitar work, and that’s the song “Mer” by Chelsea Wolfe from her 2010 album Apokcalypsis. Some have described her sound as “21st Century Gothic,” and “Haunted Avant Garde,” and those are fairly accurate but do not fully describe her brilliance and creativity. As a guitar player, I am always looking at the whole of compositions, rather than the solos or certain parts in particular; Wolfe’s compositions (along with her guitar playing) are fully formed, interesting to listen to, and very intense. Continue reading

#SNRGTR: Michael Smith of Fiction 8 on the two kinds of solos

by Michael Smith

There are basically two kinds of guitar solos: the ones that are improvised and the ones that are composed specifically for the song.

Michael Smith of Fiction 8

Michael Smith of Fiction 8

The former can be impressive sometimes, particularly in a live setting. It’s a little less remarkable on a recording, of course, because the soloist can just do a number of takes and then pick the best one.

For me though, I’m a big fan of the composed solo, where the solo is in total service of the song. It’s about adding something tangible to the song rather than just showcasing the guitarist’s abilities. It’s about approaching the song as a composition, not a performance: writing out parts, iterating on them, building off of them, changing transitions or chord progressions underneath until you have something that pulls the floor out from under you, lifts you up into the stratosphere, or both. Continue reading

Pope-Francis

Wrestling with Pope Francis (and Kim Davis): Scrogues Converse

Behind the scenes at Scholars and Rogues ideas are hashed out in emails and on social media. This week the meeting between Pope Francis and Kim Davis–and the bigger issues it raises for us–kept rising to the top of the pile. Perhaps it is appropriate that on the Feast of St. Francis we share some of our thoughts.

On the one hand, I just want Kim Davis to go away. Continue reading

What woman should be on the new $10 bill?

The government is deliberating redesigning the $10 and putting a woman on it. Should we select a politician? A Civil Rights figure? An icon of environmentalism? How about an artist? The Scholars & Rogues staff offers some ideas.

Apparently this is a question now. It came up during the recent GOP debate and apparently the best anybody could come up with was “Margaret Thatcher” or “my mom.”

[sigh]

So we put the question to the S&R staff, hoping maybe we could come up with something a tad more credible. Here are our answers, and you can feel free to add your thoughts in the comments.

Sam Smith

There’s a range of great, semi-obvious answers here, including Martha Washington, Abigail Adams and Eleanor Roosevelt. Continue reading

Roundtable: What do Americans really "deserve"?

Scrogues ConverseEverybody else’s job seems easy. The guy at the gym is certain he has a simple herbal remedy that will cure almost anything. Doctors think it would be a few minutes’ work to sort out the tax code. And engineers have quick and easy solutions for the most difficult social problems. People understand that what they do is complicated—no doctor would entertain the premise that ginseng will cure anything nor would any engineer ever suggest that designing a bridge is simple or quick, but things other people do, now that’s a snap.

Blogging is no exception. If you don’t actually do it, it seems pretty easy. Just sit down, type for awhile, hit “post” and voila. Of course, it’s not at all that easy. Continue reading

Mike Keefe, S&R contributor, scores a Pulitzer

Mike KeefeCongratulations to Denver’s own Mike Keefe for winning the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning. It’s a well-deserved accolade; Mike is one of the best in the business and has been for a long time.

S&R readers may recall that Mike submitted a wonderful, amusing piece to the Harvey Pekar artists’ tribute we hosted late last year. Mike was one of the first names we thought of when we were planning the series; we were honored, needless to say, when he accepted our invite… and bowled over by what he so generously contributed.

Congratulations and continued success to Mike, and if you’re new to his work, do yourself a favor and bookmark him here.

Pekar Tribute 12, the Finale: Bill Alger

Continue reading

Pekar Tribute 11: James Smith

Continue reading

Pekar Tribute 10: Zina Saunders

Continue reading

Pekar Tribute 9: Kenny Be

Continue reading

Pekar Tribute 8: A. N. Cargo

Continue reading

Pekar Tribute 7: Karl Christian

Continue reading

Pekar Tribute 6: Benjamin Frisch

Continue reading

Pekar Tribute 5: Mike Keefe

Continue reading