Friday, January 31, 2014

NAMM 2014 Roundup: Robby Krieger, JOHNNYSWIM, Blue Öyster Cult, Sony Music Video Recorder, Taylor Guitars Compact T5z, Rickenbacker W Series

Robby Krieger on the GoPro Stage.
Photo: Robert Kinsler
Every NAMM Show has its highlights, and the 2014 staging of the world's largest music trade show lived up that hype throughout its fast-moving run. Without exception the number of musicians, music manufacturers and music fans I spoke with throughout the four busy days I spent in Anaheim all found reasons to celebrate the mix of technology and innovations that were showcased at the trade show on Jan. 22 (Media Preview Day) and during the show's regular run (Jan. 23-26, 2014).

Last weekend and earlier this week, I posted some initial coverage, mostly related to the range of strong and sterling concert sets I caught throughout the daytime and evening hours, including Blue Öyster Cult, Jonny Lang, Otis Taylor and from legendary Doors guitarist Robby Krieger

But I also caught partial sets from a fantastic young Americana-styled duo JOHNNYSWIM at the Taylor Guitars booth on Thursday; because I didn't know much about the group or their music when I caught their set, I didn't write anything immediately; but when I happened to get a media release earlier this week about the band it was perfect timing since I then had a few details to layer atop my memories of JOHNNYSWIM's strong afternoon set.

JOHNNYSWIM performing at Taylor Guitars.
Photo: Robert Kinsler
Fronted by the husband and wife team of singer-guitarist Abner Ramirez and singer Amanda Sudano, JOHNNYSWIM featured songs off a 2013 EP titled Heart Beats and an upcoming full-length debut album Diamonds (set for release on April 29 on Big Picnic Records). Highlights from the group's set included the spirited uptempo "Diamonds" and tender acoustic guitar- and vocal harmonies-layered "Annie."

I would encourage everyone to learn more about this promising new duo that blends rock, soul, folk, blues and roots music by reading George A. Paul's more in-depth review of the show published on his Music Minded blog here.

Sony HDR-MV1 Music Video Recorder
A major part of NAMM continues to be great gear. Both my Music Worth Buying co-host TJR and yours truly were very impressed by Sony's HDR-MV1 Music Video Recorder. Although very compact, the video camera is designed for artists to "shoot and share every performance with superb" full high definition video quality and true studio-quality audio.

More specifically geared for musicians looking to chronicle and share their performances than the wonderful line of Sony bloggie cameras I've been using since 2010 or so, a band can record a performance and immediately distribute that content via their smart phone too courtesy of built-in Wi-Fi.  Boasting a 120-degree X-Y stereo microphone that captures recordings free of distortion, external mics or instruments can also be directly connected to the little device. What's even more amazing the HDR-MV1 retails for a suggested retail price of $299.99. Click here to learn more.

Taylor Guitars' new Compact T5z made its debut at NAMM
What would NAMM be without great guitars? Several caught my eye (and my hands, since the show affords visitors to play the instruments too, including Taylor Guitars' new Compact T5z.

Saturday morning I made it a point to get up to Taylor's booth on the second floor of the Anaheim Convention Center early so I could spend some time playing the new electric/acoustic hollowbody, the latest release in the company's T5 Series. The T5z has a 12-inch fretboard radius (compared to the T5's 15-inch radius), and proved to be significantly easier for me to play than the T5. 

For 2014, both the T5z and T5 are being released in a series of four models.

For more information on any of Taylor's fine guitars, visit

Rickenbacker's Model 360-12W
Another favorite new instrument I caught at the show was Rickenbacker's new walnut-made W Series. It's unusual for the company to release new instruments at NAMM; indeed, as company CEO John Hall noted in a chat at the show, the legendary, Santa Ana, California-based company focuses on making and selling the same fine instruments that first attracted the Fab Four to begin using the guitars more than 50 years ago. 

The new walnut Rickenbackers feature the same full, lush and warm tones that the manufacturer's instruments are known for, while "adding the strength and natural character of walnut polished with an oil finish." The full model lineup for the W Series includes the 330, 330/12, 360, 360/12 and 4003. All are outfitted with necks made of Maple. 

Visit Rickenbacker International's official Web site  at for more details.

Finally, here is a full-length performance by Blue Öyster Cult and Alex Skolnick performing (Don't Fear) The Reaper" at the Peavey booth on Jan. 23. Enjoy!

1 comment:

ida said...

That's a great photo of Robby Krieger. :-)