Musicologists will tell you that Western Swing is a sub-genre of American country music that originated in the late 1920s down South and out West. An outgrowth of jazz, Western Swing blended Appalachian, Polka, Folk, Dixieland, Blues with heavy doses of Swing. Amplified stringed instruments, especially guitar, is what gives Western Swing its distinctive sound.
Ask Merle Travis back in the day and he would have told you that, "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.”
Ask Jason Loughlin and he’ll tell you that, “Western swing music is dance music plain and simple. It’s reign of popularity ranged from the late 20's into the early 40's with bands like Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, Milton Brown and His Musical Brownies, and Spade Cooley and His Orchestra, but it still has a strong following thanks to torch-bearers like Asleep At The Wheel and The Time Jumpers.
This is a great style for any guitarist to learn. The rhythm guitar alone in a western swing band is a blast to play and really helps broaden your rhythm chops. As soloists we get to use blues, swing and even Appalachian improvisational concepts to expand your soloing chops.”
Jason Loughlin’s Focus On: Western Swing focuses on the key harmonic elements and techniques that you’ll need in your Western Swing toolbox to get in the game and on the Western Swing bandstand.
Jason organized the course into four sections. In the first section, Jason overviews the history of Western Swing and highlights some of Western Swings’ key players that you should be listening to. He’ll also run down some of the most common gear and tricks you’ll need to get that signature Western Swing sound.
In the second section, you’ll focus on rhythm guitar techniques and approaches. Jason shows you the most versatile moveable chords, inversions, and you’ll work on harmonic calling cards - these are the signature harmony embellishments that scream western swing.
In the third section, you’ll learn some essential soloing techniques. Jason shows how to embellish a melody, outline chords and improvise over western swing changes.
In the fourth and final section, you’ll apply everything you learned in the first three sections as you play your way through four Performance Studies. Jason first overviews the Study, then performs it for you, and then breaks it all down in detail.
Study #1: Crusty Doughboy: “This rhythm part is based on a Carter type strum with bass fills. We won’t get too far away from the melody when we solo. We’ll play three choruses. First, we’ll establish the melody, then we'll add melodic embellishments, and finally we’ll reharmonize the melody.”
Study #2: Tulsa Blues: “In this Western Swing blues study we will not be using the blues scale. and we don't want to put too much movement in the changes. The rhythm part is simple and as soloists we'll incorporate the swinging major pentatonic, second scale degree bends and outlining chords.”
Study #3: Oklahoma Playboy: “We’ll be really swinging with this Eldon Shamblin-inspired rhythm guitar part packed full of inversions, passing chords and secondary dominants. These create a strong bass melody and we’ll be using a simple quarter-note strum with accents on the backbeat.”
Study #4: Fast Rhodes: “Here we’ll focus on a Texas Troubadours inspired study. We'll be using a lot of harmonic information including altering dominant chords, using iv, outlining ii-Vs, using diminished scales and using a major 7th on our I chord.”
Jason demonstrates all of the Performance Studies over rhythm tracks and then breaks them down measure-by-measure, technique-by-technique. All of the key examples and performance studies are tabbed and notated for your practice, reference and study purposes.
You’ll also get Guitar Pro files so that you can loop and/or slow any section down as you work through the lessons. Plus, you'll get all of the rhythm tracks to work with on your own.