Acoustic music is practised, performed and loved by millions all around the globe. With most rock, Motown, blues and folk music groups releasing acoustic albums or using acoustic instruments somewhere in their music catalogues, the acoustic era has countless artists releasing creative genius under an acoustic format.
Today there are acoustic duos and acts have their roots solidly bound in the classics of their generations and the generations that inspired them, and have taken that into developing their own acoustic sounds that can be heard in clubs, town parks and city streets all around the globe, the only limitations they have are those they impose on themselves, giving them the creative freedom they need to unlock their own talent and genius.
The two most influential music styles to adopt amazing acoustic performances has to be the rock and folk categories, let’s take a look at their contribution to making the acoustic artists of today,
By its very nature alone, you would be forgiven for thinking of acoustic rock as a bit of an oxymoron. However, its relationship to rock music sits at the very foundation of the genre and the acoustic guitar influenced many of rock music’s greats such as ‘The King’ Elvis Presley and Robert Johnson, early pioneers of rock music that built the foundations of rock for the decades to come.
Eric Clapton acoustic sessions
At the ‘Wheels of fire sessions’ held in 1968, one of rock’s most important artists, Eric Clapton, wrote and played the single ‘Anyone for tennis’ using a Guild F-50 acoustic guitar and it was this performance that was said to inspire a lot of artists in upcoming generations to include the use of the acoustic guitar in their practise and recording sessions.
Jimi Hendrix unplugged
One of music’s most notorious guitar geniuses, Jimi Hendrix, also made the crossover from electric to acoustic in his 1968 documentary performance of ‘Hear my train comin’. Hendrix, himself a cult icon that was an innovator of the electric sound, using distortion and tricks with amplifiers to produce his raw, uniquely electric sound, was not expected to be seen on an acoustic. This spurred other artists to include the use of the acoustics in their music as well.
Early seventies acoustic influences
In the late sixties into the early seventies, acoustic guitars made a comeback as bands used them to test and experiment more with new ideas before taking to the recording room or the stage with an electric variant. This led to many great acoustic songs that were uncovered gems and only released by labels years after the artists had either passed away or disbanded from their groups.
Pete Townsend is known to have written much of “The Who’s” music using an acoustic and “The Rolling Stones” Keith Richards was also an early adopter of the acoustic sound in both his recording and live performances, making the Stones sound something unique in the time where rock and roll was seen as a purely electric affair. Songs like; ‘Prodigal Son’, ’Dear Doctor’, ‘No Expectations’ and Factory Girl, all contributed to help the ‘Beggars’ album become one of the most remembered and timeless rock records ever produced. Pink Floyd’s album, ‘Ummagumma’, featured acoustic sections with David Gilmour experimenting with the sound.
It wasn’t until the late sixties, that a young musician by the name of Jimmy Page, got his hands on an acoustic guitar and changed the way we all thought about acoustic rock. With their release of Led Zeppelin III, Page tapped into the acoustic to create tracks for the album that will be remembered as some of rock’s greatest ever.
Led Zeppelin III had the beauty and grace of ‘That’s the way’, with some raw, unrefined power in ‘Bon-Y-Aur Stomp’. There pinnacle achievement of the album has to be ‘Tangerine’ a pure love song and that song has remained timeless, enjoyed by generations until this day. Some may actually not realise the foundation for ‘Tangerine’ was actually a ‘Yardbirds’ rewrite that was originally named ‘Knowing that I’m losing you’. Page had been working with them in the summer of 1968 and his collaboration with them greatly influenced his writing for Led Zeppelin III.
With Led Zeppelin III Jimmy Page blended the acoustic style to rock and opened the floodgates for artists to use the acoustic in their own creative process. With everything that Led Zeppelin did with the release of Led Zeppelin II, it wasn’t until the release of their next album, Led Zeppelin IV, that the real scope of potential for the acoustic guitar in modern electric rock was uncovered. ‘Stairway to heaven’ was one of the most influential songs of its time and it can still be heard on radio airwaves all across the world.
Another example of another band that used acoustics to create smash hits that will be remembered forever is; ‘the Eagles’ where they used acoustic guitars to create the hit single ‘Hotel California’
The next generation of acoustic genius
The Eagles, The Stones and Led Zeppelin had a supreme effect on the artists that were to come in the decades ahead and they helped pave the way for guitar players such as; Bon Jovi’s Richie Sambora who played some acoustic sections on the track ’Dead or Alive’ and when he joined Guns ‘n Roses for their album ‘Lies, Lies, Lies’ he also brought with him his acoustic influences that helped the album launch the band into the beginnings of super-stardom.
Zakk Wylde, Ozzy Osbourne’s guitarist, is another example of rock stars from the eighties that realised the importance of using the acoustic guitar in making great music with his release of the 1996 acoustic album ‘Book of Shadows’. With his return to the heavy electric, when he joined ‘The black Label society’, he still took with him some of the acoustic inspirations that allowed him to incorporate it alongside the electric sound of the band.
With the turn of the millennium, the emo and new age rock sounds have led to a rebirth in the appreciation for the acoustic sounds and some of the most popular songs of the new modern rock era incorporate acoustics into their tracks. ‘Coldplay’ is a fantastic example of this blend of the acoustic into a chart-busting rock song with their hits ‘Trouble’ and ‘Yellow’.
Acoustics in Folk Music
Woody Guthrie – the founding father
Americas very first folk hero was probably Woody Guthrie. Famously quoted as saying, “If you play more than two chords, you’re showing off.” Woodys classics; ‘The Grand Coulee Dam’ and ‘This Land Is Your Land’. Woody based the content of his songs on his own life experiences and his songs ranged from children’s folk songs to romantic love songs, anti-fascist protest and working-class anthems. His predominantly nasal singing voice was imitated by anyone that picked up a guitar and tried to play his work and his influence on the folk music scene is regarded as the most influential of all time.
Bob Dylan – The prodigal son
Woody Guthrie went on to inspire other folk legends such as a young Bob Dylan. The 1960’s cult classic; ‘Blowin’ In The Wind’ was a protest song that had its roots in the songs of Guthrie’s past. Dylan’s own folk-style led him on the path to become one of the most successful folk heroes of the sixties and develop the sound that would define folk music going forward. His use of acoustic guitars to round out his folk songs provided a rhythm that turned a song from average, to a cult classic.
was effectively the archetypal finger-pointing protest song. Although he started out in that way, Dylan quickly developed his own unique lyrical and musical talent that set him apart from almost everyone else in the sixties.
With tracks like ‘A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall’ in 1962, Bob Dylan cemented his legacy as one of the most influential songwriter-singers of all time. Inspired by the poetry of William Blake, Dylan used that apocalyptic visionary style as inspiration in his own writing and this influence is apparent in all of his work, making his lyrics as timeless as the music.
In the seventies, Ralph McTell was a singer-songwriter that was displaying enormous talent and potential. His use of the acoustic elements in his songwriting resulted in his debut release of “Eight frames a second’ in 1974. This release earned him an Ivor Novello Award and he became a household name shortly after receiving it. His songs have been covered by artists all around the world and in 2002 he was presented with the prestigious ‘Lifetime achievement award’ by the BBC Radio music folk awards.
American Pie – modern rebirth
Don McLean burst onto the folk music scene with tremendous success after his release of his Chart-topping ‘American Pie’ single. Don’s American pie was a brilliant piece about the death and rebirth of rock and became a cult classic, staying on top of the charts for 48 weeks in 1972 and earning the converted ‘Gold record; status of the day.
The Earcandy Acoustic duo
If you are looking for a different kind of entertainment for your next function, then consider an Acoustic duo for your daytime event or party.
The Earcandy Duo is the perfect musical experience for intimate affairs such as cocktail evenings, a drinks reception, corporate party or event. For any daytime event such as wedding ceremonies and receptions, the Earcandy Acoustic Duo will keep your guests entertained in a pleasant, sociable environment.
The Duo has a bespoke track list and they cover classics from the best rock, folk and blues eras, with each of the tracks playing towards the duo’s strengths, amplifying their performance and helping them deliver a harmonious, passionate performance for you and your guests. You can expect nothing but complete professionalism from the Earcandy Acoustic Duo, they value every opportunity they get to deliver the perfect performance and the strength of their success lies in the satisfaction of their clients.
Call into Earcandy and ask to speak to a consultant than can help you book the Earcandy Acoustic Duo for your next function. They will work with you to understand the theme, format, venue and style of your event and then create the right track listing for your event that is customised and relevant, to capture the hearts and minds of all of your guests with the best live acoustic entertainment.