Tag Archives: B. B. King

“Extraordinary Ordinary People” is a music-fueled journey through folk and traditional arts in America 

Another First Run Features gem . . .

Extraordinary Ordinary People is a music-fueled journey through folk and traditional arts in America.

At a time when the existence of the National Endowment for the Arts has never been more threatened, this new documentary focuses on one of its least known and most enduring programs: the National Heritage Fellowship, awarded annually since 1982.

Featuring a breathtaking array of award-winners including musicians, dancers, quilters, woodcarvers and more, the film demonstrates the importance of the folk and traditional arts in shaping the fabric of America. From Bill Monroe and B.B. King to Passamaquoddy basket weavers and Peking Opera singers; from Appalachia and the mountains of New Mexico to the inner city neighborhoods of New York, the suburbs of Dallas, and the isolated Native American reservations of Northern California–each of the artists share exceptional talent, ingenuity and perseverance.

Pickin’ and playin’ and reveling “The History of Rock in Fifty Guitars”

Here we are, strumming along to tell you about a nifty little book that traces the evolution of the guitar. And then some.

The pickin’ and playin’ began in the ’20s with experiments with steel cones and resonators. With these additions, the role of the guitar transformed from accessory to vital band member—introducing electronic amplification to the 20th century music scene. The new intensified sounds inspired a much more colorful style of playing, and in turn, a string of new genres from jazz and blues to skiffle and country.

With the growing beatnik movement rearing its head in the ’50s, a new musical landscape was in high demand and rock ’n roll was born with a guitar in hand. Bruce Wexler reveals the 50 most beloved guitars in rock history and the artists who played them in The History of Rock in Fifty Guitars (The History Press, $24.95).

What a crowd! There’s Jerry Garcia’s famous Tiger guitar, customized by Alembic; John Lennon’s Gibson-made “Revolution” Casino guitar heard on “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”;  Jimi Hendrix’s Fender Stratocaster that he played on the Woodstock stage; B.B. King’s Gibson ES-355 charmingly nicknamed “Lucille” and Kurt Cobain’s fusion Fender Jag-Stang.

Each vignette counting down the top 50 guitars offers insight into the history behind the guitars, the star-studded instrumentalists who played them and the hit songs and albums the guitars helped to compose. Many limited-edition tribute guitars are highlighted and enhanced with closeup shots detailing the guitar’s features—including gold-plated hardware, locking tuners, double-necks, P-90 pickups, f-holes and more—that make them entirely unique and groundbreaking. A book that traces the development of the guitar over seven decades of rock music, The History of Rock in Fifty Guitars will enthrall guitar aficionados and music buffs.