guitar heroes: james burton, albert lee, … ·...


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Page 1: GUITAR HEROES: JAMES BURTON, ALBERT LEE, … · Yes, he’s a member of ... Amos Garrett is best known for his remarkable guitar solo



Four Telecaster Masters shake up the rock and roll universe

on Guitar Heroes, a historic new Stony Plain release Four legendary guitarists. Together. One festival stage. One night only. The sound engineer presses


Guitar history was made on July 12, 2013. And now everyone can be part of it.

Getting the “Telecaster Masters” — James Burton, Albert Lee, Amos Garrett and David Wilcox — together

was the idea of Doug Cox, artistic director of the Vancouver Island MusicFest. And as Albert Lee put it:

“Welcome to my dream!”

Stony Plain releases Guitar Heroes on May 4 — a sterling collection of 11 killer songs rooted in blues,

rockabilly, good ol’ rock and roll and a touch of country.

Putting four superb players on stage could have turned into what Keith Richards might have called “a

guitar wank.” Instead the quartet revisited classic songs with powerful musicianship, good taste,

camaraderie and mutual respect. With the support of Albert Lee’s band, everyone felt that this was a once-

in-a-lifetime occasion where guitar history was being made.

Guitar Heroes is a powerful live recording. No editing, no overdubs, and no “fixing.” What you hear is what

the awestruck audience heard that magical night: four legendary guitarists, together.

James Burton

James Burton is the senior member of the quartet of astonishing guitarists you can hear on Guitar Heroes.

You want credits? At 14 years old, James Burton was a member of the house band at the Louisiana Hayride

radio show; he was 17 when he provided the guitar hook that “made” the massive 1957 Dale Hawkins hit,

“Susie Q.” Then, still in his teens, he moved to Los Angeles to be a member of Ricky Nelson’s band; he

stayed for 11 years, and then joined Elvis Presley in Las Vegas in 1968. He put the TCB band together for

Elvis, and was by his side on stage for nine years until the King died in 1977.

More? Touring with Emmylou Harris’s Hot Band, working with John Denver for 17 years and 11 albums.

Burton’s decades of session work includes recordings with the Beach Boys, Glen Campbell, Buffalo

Springfield, Harry Nilsson, Johnny Cash, Joni Mitchell, Elvis Costello, Waylon Jennings and Townes Van

Zandt. And between sessions, more than thirty years of tours, concerts, and television specials with Gram

Parsons, Jerry Lee Lewis, Merle Haggard, Roy Orbison and dozens more.

Yes, he’s a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (Keith Richards did the induction speech). Now 75,

he’s based in Shreveport, Louisiana, where he began his career — but still relishes the opportunity to

collaborate with other players.

Albert Lee

Born in England, Lee started playing piano when he was seven, but found the guitar in his early teens —

and quit school at 16 to play full time. He’s not looked back since, but he still remembers playing on

Hamburg’s Reeperbahn at the same time The Beatles were performing down the street.

With Jerry Reed, Scotty Moore, and James Burton as major influences, he started playing with Chris

Farlowe’s R&B group, but soon left to play country music. With Heads Hands and Feet — an enormously

popular live band in the UK — he cut half a dozen LPs and earned his “guitar hero” stripes for the

breakneck speed and the clarity of his playing.

Moving to Los Angeles in 1974 he joined The Crickets (formerly Buddy Holly’s band), and two years later

replaced James Burton in Emmylou Harris’s Hot Band (Burton had left to rejoin Elvis Presley); Lee then

played with Eric Clapton for six years. And as if this career resume wasn’t enough, he helped put together

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The Everly Brothers’ reunion concert in 1983, and played regularly with them for more than 20 years,

returning to the UK in between tours to play with Hogan’s Heroes and Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings.

Self-effacing, and still speaking with a London accent, he is renowned among musicians. Perhaps Clapton

said it best: “He plays like a jazz musician but with country scales, like Django, but with a bluegrass past.”

Amos Garrett

Sometimes to his chagrin, Amos Garrett is best known for his remarkable guitar solo on Maria Muldaur’s hit

“Midnight at the Oasis.” And that is an achievement, but it’s only a tiny element of a career that has caught

the attention of his fellow musicians and guitar fans the world over.

He may not be in the public eye like, say, Stevie Wonder or Bonnie Raitt, Emmylou Harris or even Anne

Murray (and he’s recorded with all of ‘em, and almost 200 more). He’s not a high-energy performer with a

lot of flash, but his tone and his multiple string-bending style are instantly recognizable.

Born in the United States, raised in Toronto and a long-time resident of Alberta, he likes to stay close to

home and good fishing. Steeped in folk, country, blues and jazz, his musical tastes are as varied as the

musicians he plays with.

His long history, first with folk groups such as The Dirty Shames and Ian & Sylvia and then with The Great

Speckled Bird, Geoff and Maria Muldaur and Paul Butterfield’s Better Days, continues with this recording.

It’s the latest evidence of his recording career with Stony Plain, where he’s been part of close to a dozen

albums for the label, and earned a Juno for a collaboration with pianist Gene Taylor and the late Doug


David Wilcox

David Wilcox — in Canada — may well be the best-known member of the Guitar Heroes cast of players. His

early Canadian hits (“Hypnotizin’ Boogie,” “Riverboat Fantasy,” “Do the Bearcat” and “Bad Apple,” the

latter reprised on Guitar Heroes) have been staples on rock radio north of the border since his debut record in

1977. He remains, however, almost unknown in the United States — which might change when guitar fans

hear his contribution to this recording.

Montreal-born, but raised in Toronto, he discovered Elvis when he was six, and got his first acoustic guitar

when he was 10 — and played his first gig when he was 12.

His first major break came when Ian Tyson chose him to replace Amos Garrett in The Great Speckled Bird

and work in the house band for Tyson’s television series, Nashville North.

After a short lived duo with Leon Redbone his solo career began as the eccentric, baggy-suited, waxed-

moustachioed, rose-wearing leader of his band, The Teddy Bears. His reputation as one of the most

unpredictable, powerful live performers has made him one of the most popular artists in Canada for more

than 30 years.

Wilcox has made three startling records for Stony Plain, full of unusual original songs and surprising

revivals of old and new blues. His contribution to Guitar Heroes is every bit as remarkable as those of his


The Fender Telecaster

Leo Fender developed the first Telecaster solid-body electric guitar in 1950, working out of his electronics

repair shop in Fullerton, California. It has since become the standard instrument for both blues and country

players — revered for its ability to produce bright, rich, cutting tones (the typical telecaster “twang”) or

mellow, warm, bluesy tones depending on which kind of pickup is used.