Saturday, June 15, 2013

Voodoo Shilton Brings the "Summertime" to the Circus

Voodoo Shilton brought the "Summertime" to a quite dark day and his rendition of the song was in classic Voodoo style which is to say it was excellent and like no other.  He delivers it with a lovely delicacy and he sings it with a very gentle tone.  Summertime ... and the living is easy ...

Voodoo Shilton not only brings a highly-original style of play to Cat's Art MusikCircus but he is also the first one I've ever seen to wear a tie.  Despite the constriction of the blood supply to his brain from that evil fashion appliance, he still sounded marvelous.

I won't cover the Internet difficulties here except to say I could only get into Second Life for fifteen or twenty minutes of the show due to endless WiFi crashes.  Nevertheless, this time was marvelous and I'm grateful for at least that much.

Voodoo went into "Sunrise" after that and this is one of his originals.  I know I wrote this previously but it's cute so I bring it back again that the song got its name because he had been working on a bass line for it all night and he finally got it down just as the sun came up.  He thought about it for a moment and thought, yep, that name works for me and then the song was finished.

When Voodoo is playing a song you may hear him say "Here we go" and this is like dropping your car into a lower gear and then standing on the accelerator.  Where we go will vary from one song of his to the next but how we get there will be fast, fast, fast.

Unlike with shredding and New School guitar playing in general, Voodoo's music keeps its soul when he plays fast.  It remains beautiful, delicate and live even though he plays at incredible speed.  The basis for the speed is finger-picking as this gives five strings that can be in play at once rather than just one or two with flat-picking and the touch of your finger on the string gives a very different delicacy to the sound.

Voodoo knows I love looper technique and he made a point of using it before I crashed again and this was in a song he calls "Mercury."  His technique with a looper is smooth and imaginative but what also sets him apart is his use of whatever instruments he can find.  I don't think he had used a shaker previously and this one adds a very different nuance to percussion.  I've mentioned previously that he will also use a peanut butter jar for the 'clink' sound on the glass as he is very much aware of the jazz in the instruments as much as the actual notes.  As John Cage has told us multiple times, music is in every sound and Voodoo is quite keenly aware of that.

The show closed with Voodoo taking everyone to the Tetra Galaxy with his Tetra Galactar and also his Tetra Galactic voice:

While Voodoo uses a great many techniques for sound modification in the song, it's all done with a high level of grace as it's not like, for example, a wah-wah pedal which I like using but is nevertheless very much 'in your face.'  What's also remarkable about this song is that it's all done with a nylon-string guitar.  Perhaps you say that's impossible and of course it's impossible ... unless the nylon comes from the Tetra Galaxy!

The Artist Profile for Voodoo Shilton on the Cat's Art MusikCircus Web site includes a sampling of his YouTube videos and will continue to be expanded to provide more information about him as will the artist profiles for all MusikCircus performers.

And Cat and I danced

I didn't come even close to matching Cat's elegance but I have an excuse as I had tried to play a fill-in performance earlier but - write your own sad Internet story - and that performance didn't quite work out.

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