Monday’s Person I Want To Be

8 Dec

Just one more low-profile badass.

This week, I want to be Julian Coryell. Well, maybe not the actual guy so much, but someone like him. Let me explain – Julian plays lead guitar on Aimee Mann’s spectacular album “The Forgotten Arm,” one of the most indelible records I’ve heard in the past several years.  The engine that drives the album is, of course, Mann’s great writing – girl can write a bridge – but Coryell does such outstanding, tasteful work on guitar, and contributes so much to the vocal texture with his background vocals, that every time I listen to the record, I’m struck by his contributions.

In another life, I would love to be one of these guys – they’re sort of the new generation of studio musician.  Really strong, versatile players, usually guitarists or bassists, who can play just about any style, sing, and even get behind the board and produce. Guys (and gals) like Coryell, Sufjan’s guitarist St. Vincent, bassists like Pierre Marchand and Jon Evans, and friends of mine like Yair Evnine and Kenji Shinagawa.  There’s something so freaking cool about the guy who can show up and contribute tasteful, great playing to your track/show/album, toeing the line between merely being just another anonymous backing player and overpowering the writing with his own artistic voice.

Every one of those players has his or her own thing going on, too – these aren’t gun-for-hire studio cats like the old days in LA, and that is, I think, a big part of why they’re all so good at working with others.

When, as now, I am on the verge of a big creative release, I try to keep players like Coryell in mind.  My current work requires a certain degree of musical meglomania, but there is great power, too, in the space just to the right of the spotlight.

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