Monday, June 24, 2013

GEEK ALERT: Review of the Moreland Diamondback Amp

The Moreland Diamondback Amp
Rick Moreland recently completely the Moreland Diamondback Amp and I got a chance to really work it over before it was delivered to it's new owner. As a Moreland Endorser, I kinda knew what to expect from the amp, but I wasn't fully prepared for what this thing can do.

The Diamondback Amp is a 2x10 combo amp with two discreet channels/inputs: a classic Tweed channel with a single tone control and Fat Boost and an EF-86 powered pentode gain circuit with a 12 position "clicker" switch that has a dramatic effect on the tones generated by this little Wonder Box. Around 6-7 is the magic tone for me. Globally it has a Master Volume and a MasterBite control.

True Point-To-Point wiring makes the difference.
On the inside, you see this is a true Point-To-Point amp. No circuit boards inside. For tubes, (right to left) it has an EF-86, a 12AX7 for the Tweed Preamp, 12AX7 Phase Inverter, 2 EL-34's for power and 5AR4/GZ-34 Rectifier tube. The Power Rating is 35 watts, but that is very conservative. This thing is one of the loudest combo amps I've played. It also has that trademark Moreland Tone, and can achieve it at any volume. With a sweet spot that large, what's not to love!

Playing the amp was a pleasure. Both channels have endless possibilities with a minimal set of controls. Even the slightest adjustment of any of the controls changes the tone pretty dramatically, but not in a bad way. I wasn't able to find a bad tone in this amp, and I tried! Just not one in it. I was able to take the amp on a gig with "Takin' It South" and the range of tones impressed me. To give it a fair shake, I used the EF-86 channel for one set and the Tweed channel for another, taking it through a wide sweep of musical genres, from blues to country to rock and everything in between. It performed beautifully in every aspect, with sweet singing sustain and thick tube tone that can't be ignored.

The video below is me through a Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive with Monte Allums latest mod on the Tweed Channel with the Fat Boost engaged and the MasterBite at about halfway (there's a spot in the video where you can see the the controls). I hope you enjoy it.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Jason Carter, In His Own Words

Jason Carter (Photo: Ron Dierkes)
I want to formally introduce you to the other members of the Kevin Waide Project. I've asked the guys the same 3 questions and will post all of the answers in the coming days. The questions asked were:

1. What motivated you to play music, and, more specifically, the blues.
2. How old were you when you started playing music.
3. Who were your biggest influences.

This post will be focusing on Jason Carter, vocalist and rhythm, lead, and slide guitarist. Jason has been slangin' the blues for the Project since March, 2010. The last 3 years have given me the opportunity to learn slide guitar from one of the most talented players in the area, and I'm happy to bring you the story of Jason Carter, in his own words.

I've always wanted to play slide guitar. It came natural to me. One of the first instance of music was Austin City Limits and I saw a guy playing with a slide. I think it was Ry Cooder. It looked easy.

My family played acoustic and electric guitar, fiddle, mandolin, and piano. I can remember as early as 5 years old the family jams on old Hank Williams and Bill Monroe tunes, as well as several others. I started playing Trumpet by the 5th grade (10 years old) and was the soloist until I stopped "marching band" in 8th grade.

I picked up guitar around 16 and my dad showed me E, A and B bump rhythm and I took it from there. I grew up listening to all kinds of music but looking back, everything I listened to from Hank Jr. to Creedence was steeped in the blues. I was buying hair band and classic rock tapes before I was 10 and the liner notes talked about their influences. I traced them back and found Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, Howling Wolf, Son House, John Lee Hooker...etc. I started buying their tapes and loved the fact that they all came from Mississippi. No wonder it all made sense...I grew up around it.

By the time I was learning, Hwy 61 was coming on MPB 89.5 FM, and I was getting a huge dose of blues on Saturday nights when driving around town (when people could afford gas).

By the time I learned to switch chords and sing, I was learning Jimmy Reed, Muddy Waters and Allman Brothers records. I just took it from there and added in country and funk to go with it. Playing in several different bands over the past 10 years has helped me out the most though.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Moreland Diamondback Amp

The newest creation from Moreland Amps, the Diamondback was custom built for Monte Allums in Olive Branch, MS. I will be posting a review of this 35 watt beast in the coming weeks. Out of respect for Monte, I'm giving him time to play around with the amp before I post my review, but I do want to post this pic to serve as a teaser.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Booze, Bluez, & BBQ: Live In Tupelo

Booze, Bluez, & BBQ: Live in Tupelo
As I'm sure you've noticed, work on the new Live+ album is underway, and is going really well. The mix is almost right, which leaves me with the mastering before we send it to press. "Booze, Bluez, & BBQ: Live In Tupelo" features Chris Fooshee on drums and newcomer Blake Miller on bass, with a special guest appearance by "The Emfamus" Skip Oliver, and was recorded live at the 41st Annual Tupelo Hog Roast on May 18, 2013. "BB&BBQ" contains some of your favorites from "Lost In Mississippi" as well as new material written over the course of the last 2 years. I've "released" 3 of the tracks for your enjoyment on SoundCloud as well as ReverbNation and at We're shooting for a mid to late August release date, so mark your calendars or check the site regularly.

Oh, did you notice the + by the word Live in the first line? No, that wasn't a mistake. I'm calling this a Live+ album because you'll also get 3 studio recordings as a bonus! These are songs written and recorded for the next studio album, but I decided to go ahead and release them on this album anyway. They include the same core musicians on the live album as well as our good friend and band-mate Jason Carter, who wasn't able to make the Hog Roast show due to a previous engagement. 

"BB&BBQ" contains 12 tracks at a run-time of just under 1 hour and will be available at all the usual online stores (iTunes, Google, Amazon, and on Spotify). Pricing has yet to be announced, but as soon as I'm made aware of it, I'll let you know. We will also have physical copies at the shows for as long as they last and are in the planning stages of a CD Release Party. I will announce the details of that as soon as I nail it down.

Shameless Plug: If you haven't already, take the time while you're here and signup for the Kevin Waide Mailing List. You'll get all your Project news first AND be able to download goodies that aren't made available to just anyone. See, we know how to make you feel special. :-)

Friday, June 7, 2013

You say you're in the mood for something different, something new?

Tonight, at Romie's Barbecue in Tupelo, MS, it's the debut of the John West Band, with Gavin McGee on bass, Corey Bell on drums, John on guitar and vocals, and yours truly on lead guitar. This is not the blues thing you're used to hearing me do, nor is it the usual from John, but is something completely different. I've been hinting at this project for a few months now, and have even posted a clip or two for a tease, but tonight, you'll get to hear it for the first time, and I'm really excited about it.

It may shock you to know that blues is not the only thing I can do. I started my "guitar career" playing 80's hair metal in a band I started out of high school called Little Dreamer. We had a pretty good run of it, off and on for around 12 years, but it wasn't really where my heart was.

Little Dreamer broke up, and I joined another band called Novus Jove, which was basically an alternative band when I joined. I had no use for Alternative at the time and quickly started rearranging the songs to make them more "mainstream," at least to my mind. We became what is now referred to as a "Heavy Metal" band, a category I really didn't like and tried hard to remove myself from. I've always considered myself a blues-based player, and Heavy Metal was full of those technical players, you know, the "wheedley, wheedley" type players. But we had a really good run, with 2 full length albums and pretty constant touring, even with all of us having day jobs! I played with Novus Jove for 5+ years before we all went our separate ways.

John and I have played shows together off and on for the last 4-5 years (time sure does fly by when you're old!) and have even made attempts at putting together a full band, but it wasn't until February of this year that the lineup solidified into something substantial and we began rehearsals. With Gavin and Corey as a rhythm section, and John's songwriting ability, the music just flows out and hits you right between the eyes! The show tonight starts at 9:00 pm and we will be playing until midnight. Come on out and check out the John West Band at Romie's Barbecue, 206 Troy St., Tupelo, MS.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Addicted to Technology?

For the last 3 weeks, my Internet connection has been spotty at best. I've spent most of my time on the road doing this or that and spent time with my parents at their home in the county. Even a cell phone connection is extinct in the area I grew up, so I've been disconnected from the world. I try to enjoy these times of disconnect for the "detox" effect they create in my mind, relieving me from the constant distractions of technology and every day life in general. Over the last three weeks, I've even gotten in the habit of NOT grabbing my phone when I went to the bathroom! Progress! 

When did we become so addicted to technology? I can remember, not so long ago, if I wanted to share something with someone, I had to wait until they were at home to either call or go by. Then I would call, hoping the line wasn't "busy" (gasp!), and share whatever it was that "couldn't wait." Next came answering machines and call waiting and all the "conveniences" they offered. Oh, how saying, "Hold on, I've got someone on the other line," made me feel so important! Caller ID made me realize the true use of the answering machine! 

My first cell phone was a massive bag phone from BellSouth Mobility. This thing had to be plugged into the cigarette lighter of the car and connected to an antenna on the back glass. The phone itself cost more than the car did, but you could get in touch with me no matter where I was, as long as I had signal (which wasn't very good in those days). My next cell was a slightly smaller hand-held, battery operated unit that only cost .65¢ a minute to use. The price you pay to be connected.

Enter the Internet. For the cost of a computer and a monthly connection subscription, I could stay connected permanently in my home. E-Mail, Chat Rooms, Instant Messenger, VoIP, and Video Conferencing had become a reality. Smaller laptop computers came along and helped usher in the WiFi age, where I could sit in a coffee shop and connect wirelessly to the shop's wifi connection. It's important to be connected when you have your morning coffee!

We're now in the age of smart phones, which are really just small cellular computers, and we've finally reached full connectivity, 99% of the time. I say 99% because there are always those times we find ourselves looking for enough signal to make a call (if your carrier is AT&T, we'll adjust this number to around 70%). We're constantly checking our phones, looking to see if we missed something in "our world." Look around you when you go out and notice the number of people sitting at a table together with their faces in their phones. Chances are, they are conversing with each other over text message or Facebook. I have sat at these tables and even participated in this bastardized form of communication, so I'm not pointing fingers, just trying to help raise awareness. We, as a society, have grown addicted to staying informed of every little thing that is "important in our world."

During my "21 Days of Disconnect" I've gone to visit some friends I haven't seen in a while, talked to some friends I haven't talked to in a while, and just enjoyed the company of others. No phones, no Internet, just real, old fashioned conversation. I plan on doing it a lot more. Not that I don't like being connected, but because I crave the interaction. I don't think I could ever completely unplug, but at least I know I can go for a short time disconnected. More Progress!