"Western swing is nothing more than a group of talented country boys, unschooled in music, but playing the music they feel, beating a solid two-four rhythm to the harmonies that buzz around their brains. When it escapes in all its musical glory, my friend, you have Western swing.” - Merle Travis
Uptempo, highly improvised and extremely guitar-centric Western Swing music pools influences from hillbilly bluegrass, raunchy Texas blues, pre-bebop jazz swing and early rock and roll to produce an infectious sound that, to this very day, gets people up on the dance floor and keeps them there all night long. Spend some time in the shed with Ray Nijenhuis’ 50 Western Swing Licks You MUST Know to get yourself off of the dance floor and up on the bandstand.
Although the core of this lick vocabulary is focused on the pioneers of Western Swing guitar, such as Junior Barnard, Charlie Christian, Jimmy Wyble, Cameron Hill, Eldon Shamblin, Leon Rhodes, Bob Wills, Billy Byrd and many others, you’ll recognize their influence in the music of the Allman Brothers, Commander Cody, Asleep at the Wheel, Hot Club of Cow Town, The Time Jumpers, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, George Strait and many, many more contemporary artists and bands.
Ray expertly guides you through an impressive array of guitaristic techniques and ear-pleasing harmonic approaches that you’ll put to immediate use in your own playing whatever style you favor: repetitive fragments, chromatic horn-like lines, double-stop runs, double-stop-slides, two part harmony runs, syncopation combined with chord inversions, emulating the C6 lap steel sound, playing arpeggios with downstrokes only, two-part harmony licks rearranged in double stops for one guitar, counterpoint syncopated melodies, sliding up half-steps for tension and suspense, combining major pentatonic with chromatic passing notes and diminished scales and arpeggios, two-beat rhythm style, octaves, Western swing turnarounds, melodic moving bass lines, boogie woogie style harmonized piano parts, delay effects without a pedal, jangling lapsteel roll-the-bar effects, chromatically descending ninth chord sequences and three-part harmony chord runs.
All of the licks are presented over a rhythm track so that you can hear and practice them in a musical context. Each performance is then followed by a detailed breakdown of the line along with the techniques and harmonic approach being employed to perform it. Everything is tabbed and notated, plus you get all of the rhythm tracks used in the performances to practice the lines with on your own.