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Gibson Summer NAMM Jam 2019 Rocks the Wildhorse

Photo courtesy of 90 East Photography and Think Country (Ray Wylie Hubbard)

When Gibson throws a party, they really throw a party.  We’re talking about the Gibson Summer NAMM Jam 2019, held at the Wildhorse Saloon in downtown Nashville.  Gibson, the world famous guitar manufacturer, pulled out all the stops. to spotlight their brand at this event.  If you want to really show off your brand of guitars, bring in the best players in the business, and that’s just what they did.

Summer NAMM, for those unfamiliar, is the mid-year gathering for the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) that’s  held in Nashville. The winter event is held annually in Los Angeles. The Gibson show was a highlight for those that attended Summer NAMM 2019, as the lineup of entertainment was incredible and an array of delicious food and drinks were served as well.

The show kicked off with a short film about Gibson guitars. It was informative and interesting.  Gibson CEO, James (“JC”) Curleigh came out and spoke to the audience about his enthusiasm about being with the company (he signed on in 2018) and how excited he was about the show.  

Photo courtesy of 90 East Photography and Think Country

A talented group of young people called the Gibson Generation Group, or the “G3”, took the stage first.  Gibson invited a select group of young musicians to form the very first G3 class. They will be nurtured as a whole new generation of stage-ready guitar players.  This group is set to graduate in the summer of 2021. They represented a wide age range, but all were quite skilled. They demonstrated what they’ve learned so far by playing a cool cover of The Rolling Stones tune “Tumbling Dice”.  There is no doubt, if they stick with this program, they will absolutely be prepared to play on the big stages.

Video courtesy of Patti McClintic, Think Country and YouTube

Photo courtesy of 90 East Photography and Think Country

It was Gibson’s night, and there was no getting away from knowing that.  A giant black and white graphic of a Gibson headstock hung behind the stage all night, and it goes without saying that everybody was playing a Gibson guitar. It was apparent that some seriously talented guitarists were called upon to play this show as well.  If you’re going to showcase your wares, you choose people that know how to handle them. I’ll hand it to Gibson, they chose wisely.

 

Take, for instance, this group of guys.  Lee Roy Parnell, Ray Wylie Hubbard and Aaron Lee Tasjan.  Hot damn. They took Hubbard’s song, “Wanna Rock and Roll”, and did just that.  They rocked, and they rolled, all over the Wildhorse Saloon. Wylie sang his song like nobody else ever could, while Parnell and Tasjan jammed out the tune like they play it every night.  This was such a high point I wondered what else could possibly top it. 

Photo courtesy of 90 East Photography and Think Country

Photo courtesy of 90 East Photography and Think Country

Video courtesy of Patti McClintic, Think Country and YouTube

Why would I wonder?  I’m a Ray Wylie Hubbard fan.  I knew he had to do “Snake Farm”.  I think it’s a given. Sure enough, with Tasjan helping out on guitar, away they went!  “Snake Farm” is probably Hubbard’s signature song, and as the lyrics go, “it just sounds nasty, Snake Farm, it pretty much is”, but only Hubbard can turn something so vile into something you just can’t wait for.  

Video courtesy of Patti McClintic, Think Country and YouTube

 

Photo courtesy of 90 East Photography and Think Country

Hubbard is one of the grand masters at telling stories through song.  I think what I love about him is whenever I listen to his music, I feel like I’m getting away with something.  He has that outlaw edge that just makes me feel like I’m hanging out on the brink of trouble, but I’m always just shy of suffering any consequences.  It’s sort of a safe delinquency.  

Photo courtesy of 90 East Photography and Think Country

You know, I feel like I’ve been typing this next guy’s name an awful lot lately.  He’s everywhere I go. We should really sit down and grab lunch or something. I’m talking about Travis Denning.  I’m pulling him out as one of the key players at the Summer NAMM Jam 2019 because he can play a mean guitar. End of story.  To look at him, you might think he’s a country boy that’s likely to be fairly well-versed at singing and strumming along to an acoustic guitar.  You might think he’d allow the heavy lifting to a serious guitar player. Hold up. 

Photo courtesy of 90 East Photography and Think Country

This left-handed artist (from Warner Robins, Georgia, and I know that because I just reviewed him from another show last week) lets loose on an electric guitar.  Don’t believe that? Watch the video. He played his current single, “After a Few”, and oh yeah, think guitar solo, starring Travis Denning. Again, Gibson’s lineup was not too shabby.

Video courtesy of Patti McClintic, Think Country and YouTube

The boys from North Carolina, who always and forever turn any room into a shindig, Parmalee, brought it again.  They played two tunes, “Be Alright” and their first number one, “Carolina”. The energy these guys manage to emit is so infectious.  

Video courtesy of Patti McClintic, Think Country and YouTube

Photo courtesy of 90 East Photography and Think Country

Photo courtesy of 90 East Photography and Think Country

Chris Isaak.  I could just stop there, or maybe add two more words, “Wicked Game”.  Dressed to impress in a jacket and tie, and playing a blue guitar with his name hand painted boldly on the body, what more can I say?  He was Chris Isaak. He sang “Wicked Game”. He was fabulous. Everyone loved him. If you want to read a resume that’s not only chock full of amazing accomplishments, but also quite interesting, look him up.  

Photo courtesy of 90 East Photography and Think Country

Video courtesy of Patti McClintic, Think Country and YouTube

That wasn’t all for Chris Isaak though.  He had Cassadee Pope join him in singing “Pretty Woman”, which was fun.  This was actually odd for me because I have a confession to make. I do not like that song.  I don’t like it at all. Never have. I did enjoy watching Isaak and Pope singing it as a duet though.  I’m not sure why. As soon as it was over, I went right back to not liking the song. Hold the hate mail please.  

Video courtesy of Patti McClintic, Think Country and YouTube

Photo courtesy of 90 East Photography and Think Country

I saved my favorite performance for last, and oh, it was as if the Gibson gods knew I was there and wanted me to leave supremely happy.  Out came Jason Isbell and he and the band played a smokin’ hot rock cover medley that included, Fleetwood Mac’s “Oh Well” and ZZ Top’s “Waitin’ For the Bus/Jesus Just Left Chicago”.  As if that wasn’t enough to leave this girl who was raised on rock and roll on cloud number nine, there was more.  

Photo courtesy of 90 East Photography and Think Country

Isbell then stopped to say he was going to play the first song he ever learned how to play on the electric guitar.  That song was Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man”, and he was going to play it on a 1959 Les Paul Standard Sunburst guitar that once belonged to the late Ed King.  King was Lynyrd Skynyrd’s guitarist from 1972 to 1975 and 1987 to 1996. He passed away in Nashville in 2018. After pointing out that he was playing King’s guitar, Isbell joked that “if it sounds wrong, it’s not the guitar’s fault”, and take my word for it, it didn’t sound wrong at all.  I think Isbell was channeling King via that guitar. It was stunning.

Photo courtesy of 90 East Photography and Think Country

Many of the artists that played during the evening gathered together to sing a cover of the Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers classic, “Free Fallin’” for the finale.  That was fun to watch. It seemed there may have been a little confusion going on up there, but it didn’t matter, it looked like everyone had a good time. In the end, I suspect everyone in the building got the main message that it was Gibson that put on the festivities, and they did a fine job.  It was a blast.

Video courtesy of Patti McClintic, Think Country and YouTube

Photo courtesy of 90 East Photography and Think Country

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the other artists that performed, and all of them were excellent.  They were Temecula Road, Honey County, Jim James and Nathaniel Rateliff.  

Think Country would like to thank the good people at Gibson for having us.  We truly appreciated this first-class event.  

Gibson’s Website: https://www.gibson.com

Featured image of Travis Denning courtesy of 90 East Photography and Think Country.

 

 

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Patti McClintic
I’m Patti. Rock music is my first love. My daughter, who was a country fan as a teenager, dragged me in when I'd drive her to school and we would have radio wars in the car. I'd have on my rock station and she would switch it to the country station. Guess who always won? As they say, if you can't be 'em, join 'em, so I did. First it was all modern country, but my parents were big Merle Haggard fans. I went along with them to a Merle Haggard/Phil Vassar show at the local fair and that was it. I was hooked on the Hag. Since that day, I've become a fan of bluegrass and I continue to explore all facets of the country genre. I guess you could say, I'm all in. When I'm not up to my neck in any kind of music, I enjoy genealogy, history, my granddaughters and my addiction, SongPop. I guess it could be worse, right? I'm a Buffalo, New York girl living in a Nashville, Tennessee world, and I'm livin' the dream with my husband, my dog and my two cats.
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