Tag Archives: Jon Finn

CD Review – “Tapped In” by Don Lappin


TappedIn

I came to find Don Lappin through facebook and even though I follow guitar players, I wasn’t aware of Don’s playing until recently although being a fan of Michael Sweets (Stryper) I had probably heard Don before and didn’t realize it. Don is currently an Assistant Professor at the Berklee School of Music specializing in rock techniques for the guitar. Don has also played with musical greats such as Jon Finn, Chad Wackerman, Guthrie Govan and Jonathon Mover to tell you how talented he is. Don’s approach to the guitar incorporates a lot of tapping and 4 note-per-string playing which is slightly out of the norm and about as technical as I am going to get for this blog. This about the music and not his technique. You can contact Don for more information on that for you guitar nerds.

“Tapped In” is Don’s second solo release and it is full of stellar guitar work by this modern day guitar virtuoso. From the intro straight in the first song “Lappin it Up,” you know you are in for something very different for a guitar instrumental CD. I have done a few reviews of guitar instrumental CD’s and having listened to hundreds if not thousands of these guitar players, it is very hard to find one with their own distinct voice. The kind that once you hear them anywhere on any CD you know it’s them. Don has that unique voice. His playing is extremely fluid partially due to his tapping technique but also his mastery of his instrument of choice. Don is very melodic and his vamps are not your the tired typical power chord vamps that guitar players love to play over. After being sent so many bad CD’s to review, you almost dread getting another wanna be guitar shredder CD in the mail. Thankfully this is NOT one of those CD’s. There is a lot of creativity in every part of the songwriting on “Tapped In”.

The highlights on “Tapped In” for me are the songs “Lappin it Up, Captain’s Lady and A Song for Robert.” The first song “Lappin it Up” could possibly be the most original sounding guitar song I have heard in a long time, especially during the verses. It’s a fast paced groove with a different sonic texture then you’d expect and moves into some nice melodic lines and an uplifting chorus that is hooky. Laden with some tension coming out of the chorus to bring you back to earth, Don creates melodic passes that always keep the song fresh and interesting.

“Captain’s Lady” is a “pretty” song in the way Don constructs the melody from the opening. Although it’s a rock song, it has a light quality that brings you to a feeling of taking off in the chorus. One of the great things about artists like Don is you never know where the song is going to take you because they have so many tools in their arsenal. This keeps the songs fresh and invigorated which is great for longer instrumentals and can really show you that you don’t always have to have a typical ABABBABB type song to have a listener friendly tune. Great songwriters will keep you engaged at all times and Don does this very well.

“A Song for Robert” is a slow song that reminds me of the feeling I get when listening to an Eric Johnson composition. Don and Eric are completely different players and writers, but here Don achieves that same ability to create a musical picture that takes you away and creates that sonic landscape you can picture in your mind’s eye. It’s a beautiful song that will pass without you realizing it’s 9:29 long. That is effective songwriting when you get lost in the music and forget about time altogether.

“Tapped In” being Don’s first full length CD is an amazing effort with a great sense of melody phrasing and songwriting ability that is already very strong and I am sure will only get better as he puts out more CD’s. For fans of instrumental music, “Tapped In” should appeal to those that like listener friendly songs and tunes with a slight fusion feel for lack of a better term. You never really get thrown by anything here even though there are parts that shine with sparks of jazz influenced lead lines that drift from the main melody motif which again is another sign of solid songwriting.

I give “Tapped In” a solid 4 out of 5 stars. The only thing missing is that break out “Cliff’s of Dover” type song that just amazes your ears but also knocks you on your ass like nothing you have heard before.

You can purchase “Tapped In” here: http://donlappin.bandcamp.com/

You can find out more about Don Lappin here:

http://www.donlappinmusic.com/fr_home.cfm

https://twitter.com/DonLappinMusic

http://www.facebook.com/tappinlappin

http://www.youtube.com/user/TappinLappin?feature=mhee

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“Cry For You” – or the Problem with America Ignoring an Amazing Music Genre


By David Lowry

One of the blessings my job allows me to do is work with amazing musicians like Rob Balducci, Dave Weiner and Jon Finn. Having been a guitar player for almost 30 years and going to music school to be the next Steve Vai,(which obviously never happend) I have a special affinity for listening to guitar instrumental music. It really helps me to focus on my work and really dig into whatever I am doing at the time. This blog may center on this genre but it applies to all genres of music that get ignored by mainstream radio and TV. I have also interviewed many of these artists mentioned in this blog on my radio show “Live From Music City” and really have a strong desire to bring this form of music back to the masses as the music is incredible and deserves as much attention as any other genre of music.

Andy Timmons recorded a song called “Cry For You” that in my personal estimation is one of the best instrumentals ever recorded. It has a haunting melody that just sucks you in and makes you fall in love with it. It reminds of a person I once loved and although that brings a deep pain for me, it also reminds me that this genre of music holds the same ability to carry that emotional quotient that any other genre of music does. The songs that shape our lives should include all genres of music not just what’s on the radio, TV or being hyped by the powers that be. I recently did a review of Andy’s new cd “Andy Timmon’s Band Plays Sgt. Pepper.” I also reviewed Neil Zaza’s CD “212.”

These musicians have found a way to bring us music that doesn’t need vocals or lyrics because their instruments do the talking for them. They bring us music that can still capture our hearts, soul and imagination and most certainly shouldn’t be over looked or passed by just because it doesn’t have lyrics attached. Just like any other form of music you have some artists that are better than others, better songwriters, performers or improvisers, but if you just close your eyes and listen, you will be transported away by beautiful melodies, moving pieces and moody progressions that take us to new emotional places. Some times words aren’t enough to express the way we feel, but you can hear what you want to say in this music or other forms like it.

I encourage you to listen to instrumental music, jazz, fusion, funk, classical or whatever form of music you don’t normally listen too. Learn to listen with new ears and develop a new musical appreciation and understanding of pure musicianship that you normally don’t get in most pop music. Don’t be limited to what you hear on the radio or what’s force fed to you by those with the money and power to make it happen. With all the new music streaming services you can find any genre of music and test-drive it before you buy it. If you do like it please buy it and spread the word about the new music you discovered. Don’t let preconceived notions about what music is or isn’t keep you from discovering a new style of music that may free your mind, your playing or your feelings. As musicians we should always be expanding our listening range and really be able to incorporate the new things we hear to enhance our own playing or writing skills.

In other parts of the world this is a very popular genre. Many countries or continents don’t suffer the same form of genre ignorance that we do in America. To much of the world good music is just that, good music and it doesn’t matter the genre or era it came from. They don’t classify music the way we do in America and because of it, they are more well rounded in their listening tastes and many artists can make a living over there as opposed to not being able to here. Expand your boundaries and listen to amazing musicians that can create melodic landscapes in your mind that the average musician on the radio can’t.

Here is a list of amazing guitar musicians for you to check out in no particular order. Andy Timmons, Steve Vai, Eric Johnson, Tommy Emmanuel, Jon Finn, Neil Zaza, Steve Morse, Carl VerheyenDave Weiner, Michael Lee Firkins, Joe Satriani, Rusty Cooley, Rob Balducci, Guthrie Govan and Shaun Baxter. Obviously there are so many more like Andy McKee or Gretchen Menn that have really popped in the last couple years but this is a good start to finding people who have mastered their instrument and have learned how to write songs that reach you just like any other pop song would.

Good luck in your musical exploration!

Note: The Lowry Agency is affiliated with Rob Balducci, Dave Weiner and Jon Finn.

David Lowry is the President of The Lowry Agency, a full service artist management agency that works with musicians, speakers, entertainers, actors and models based in Nashville, TN. David manages and or books the musical careers of Brother Cane, Damon Johnson (Brother Cane, Thin Lizzy, Alice Cooper), Rob Balducci, Dave Weiner, Jon Finn, Kris Bell and Mindset Defect. For more information please contact The Lowry Agency at http://www.thelowryagency.com.