Sunday, February 01, 2015

2015 Winter NAMM Show: Kenny Howes at Rickenbacker, DigiTech, MUSIC WORTH BUYING episodes, more!

As many of my regular readers know, I am often juggling my duties as co-host of MUSIC WORTH BUYING, while penning concert reviews for The Orange County Register as well as providing album reviews and other coverage for Music News Nashville, Desert Star Weekly and this site.

So it's no surprise while covering the 2015 Winter NAMM Show in Anaheim, CA, a few interesting things somehow didn't get into either my print-bound or video coverage I was juggling over the course of the (National Association of Music Merchants) NAMM Show last month. Here is a final recap of my 2015 journey to NAMM…

In the past after covering Media Preview Day on Wednesdays and subsequently surviving 12-15 hour marathons on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, I tend to skip Sundays so I can work on writing and posting that day (while giving my feet a break too!). Because I felt I didn't actually get to get out on the floor and actually check out enough of the great gear and instruments this year, I I did spend about eight hours at NAMM on Sunday (Jan. 25).  So now, FINALLY, I will try to fully catch you up on some last-minute news and notes from the show that drew an estimated to the Anaheim Convention Center last weekend.

Kenny Howes at Rickenbacker
Photo: Robert Kinsler
While hanging out at Rickenbacker International Corp, I got to talk to talented singer-songwriter-guitarist Kenny Howes, who is also a substitute bassist for The Smithereens. Based in Atlanta, GA, Howes is one of the leading proponents of the current power-pop scene. I may well be in the minority of music critics, but I believe that The Smithereens were one of the best bands to emerge during the 1980s. Lead singer Pat DiNizio and company would get my vote for a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

In addition to playing part-time with the Smithereens and playing solo shows, Howes told me he is working on a new album too. His last album, 2012's wonderful Tornadoes Here & Past featured special guests Marty Willson-Piper of The Church (another band I love) and aforementioned DiNizio.

"I worked with Rickenbacker for so long and developed tons of friendships," Howes told me during our brief chat. "It's great to reconnect with all those people and see all the fun new stuff. And I make a mini-vacation out of it."

On the last day of NAMM, the day kicked off with the annual "Best in Show" event, and indeed, there was plenty to celebrate via a number of cool products highlighted. 

The DigiTech TRIO Band Creator pedal not only received a "Best In Show Award" but proved to be a lot of fun when I saw the device used up-close by my MUSIC WORTH BUYING co-host TJR on Sunday afternoon. It may sound crazy, but the device allows a guitarist to create the sound of playing along with a bassist and drummer. "Users simply need to plug a guitar into TRIO, press the footswitch to teach TRIO the chords and rhythm, then press the footswitch again to start playing with a customized personal band," according to the accurate description on a media release issued by US Music Corporation on Jan. 25, 2015.

“TRIO is like no pedal ever created – it’s an entirely new type of musical accompaniment device,” said Tom Cram, Marketing Manager, DigiTech. “With TRIO, one musician can now sound like a full band. It’s an incredibly creative and useful performance tool for solo artists, or just a great way to have fun while practicing and jamming.”

The TRIO Band Creator Pedal will be available in March 2015. No band? No problem...

Finally, a special thank you to the aforementioned TJR and Kathy Barrett for their work with me on our four episodes providing a pretty good tour of our NAMM experience. You can watch all episodes via the embedded links below!


1 comment:

Bobbofallenstar said...

Great NAMM Article. Love me some Kenny Howes.