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November 11, 2008

Country Guitar Picker

I had a great time in Kingston, Ontario this last weekend, where I spent the the weekend at the CCAA National Championships (I'm one of the coaches). Our teams did well on the Fort Henry course. It was a European-style course, very open, no trees, short hills, and soft grass. The main loop was 2.5 km and had many turns back and forth, which made it terrific for watching. The women did the loop twice and the men ran it three times, plus a 500 m loop. It had been raining all night and all morning, but finally quit raining just before the women's start. Because of the rain, the course was soft and not at all easy. Our women did a great job and finished 4th out of 17 teams, and our men finished strong as well and came in at 5th place out of 18 teams. It was the toughest field I've ever seen at a CCAA National Championship race. Well done!

The same evening, we went to a few pubs. The musical treat I was about to get was actually quite amazing. We went to three pubs within two blocks from our hotel. Those pubs were all in a row. The first one had a band called "The Firm" playing there, and they were very impressive. They played 70s, 80s and 90s music, anything from Bee Gees, Village People, Santana to Bon Jovi and Def Leppard. They were great players, and they were a 6 piece band - drums, bass, two guitars, vocals and keyboards. Anyone listening probably knew 90% of the tunes, and people were dancing and having a good time. The sound was great - they had their own sound engineer and effects were used in a very good way, so that it would sound close to the original tunes. Very professional band, and it was clear that everyone in the band was a pro at what they did. I noticed that one of the guitar players had a nice looking Suhr guitar, while the other was playing an Ernie Ball "Luke" guitar.

Next pub had a three piece band playing louder and heavier. They were more like the typical bar bands I've heard. Lots of punk and rock influences here, and a fat sounding Les Paul through a Peavey 5150 made people jump with joy. I got bored pretty quick though, since there weren't really any dynamics and everything started to sound the same after a while. I'm also not a big fan of punk music.

The last band I found in between the first to pubs we went to. I could hear some interesting swing coming from inside this place which looked like it was closed for repairs. I tried to get in but I only found locked doors. Weird. After a while however, I found the entrance (although it didn't look at all like the door into an establishment). In a small, strange looking place, I found a jazzy sound band consisting of drums, bass, soprano sax and two telecaster players. They were mostly jamming and they sounded alright. Great bass player and sax player. However, one of the guitar players, a smoking country picker, just completely BLEW MY MIND! Unfortunately, I only heard a couple of songs, since the band was at the end of their last set. However, I didn't need to listen very long to his playing to realize this guy is a monster player. He had and old Tele, a Boss ME-50 and a volume pedal into a Fender Hot Rod DeVille. His tone was good.

I looked him up on the Net, and his name is Steve Piticco. He is one of these players who make it look sooooo easy. Chicken Picking, steel guitar style bends, fast and ultra-cool legato runs that made my eyes pop out - this guy can do it all, and with style. I've heard plenty of Albert Lee, Brent Mason and other fantastic player, but I'm here to tell you - if you like that style of guitar playing, do check out Steve Piticco. He is one the finest Canadian country guitar players I've heard. Some videos:

Check out his myspace page here - Steve Piticco - he also has CD's for sale.

By Robert Renman - www.dolphinstreet.com

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Posted by Robert Renman on November 11, 2008

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