I’m soo in love with this guitar!!
I remember playing an AMI guitar for the first time at Summer NAMM in Nashville and loved the feel and the well balanced tone in the acoustic setting.
Then I got one, and it got even better.
The fullness of sound I got out of the box it was shipped in was flawless. Then I plugged it in, and as a performing artist and songwriter, I just knew that “Scarlett” (that’s what she has been named) was going to be such a huge asset to each performance. Taking her to venues performances, compared to the guitar I used to tour with was night and day. Like I said, the fullness of tone from top to bottom is super balanced. Yet, even better was each compliment I received from sounds guys, other guitar players and fans who all thought the guitar was not only “beautiful” but sounded and played great. They say that every guitar has a song and a story, I can’t wait to see what journey this AMI AG200 takes me on.
Born in La Grande, Oregon, Morgan Alexander is a native of the Pacific Northwest. He grew up in the Willamette Valley, in Albany, Oregon; and it was here that it all began.
Morgan’s musical journey started in the public-school system at North Albany Middle and West Albany High. Under the teachings of Frank Kenny (band) and James Angaran (choral), he learned classical and jazz standards, including training on the clarinet, bass clarinet, percussion, piano, bass, and vocals.
After high school, Morgan attended the highly acclaimed vocal jazz program, “Soundsation” under the direction of Kirk Marcy at Edmonds C.C. in Seattle, Washington. While there, he began to grow in a highly competitive, rigorous performance program, while studying the art of music theory.
At 19, Morgan took a job in his hometown as a radio personality at KXPC-FM. In his time at the station, Morgan wore many hats, including: on-air personality, production director, jingle writer and more. After a few years of learning and developing knowledge in this radio region, he moved to Portland’s KWJJ-FM where he performed similar duties. In Portland, he also resumed his love of entertainment and took the position as music director for the famed Ponderosa Lounge. In that role, Morgan was responsible for booking and coordinating the in-house live music. He also introduced the first “Battle of the Bands,” which still hosts bands and artists year after year. In 2005, a local guitar player, Allen Jones first introduced Morgan to playing a guitar. He, along with many other bands, provided Morgan with instruction that eventually led to his first song “More Baby More,” featured on his American Soul album.
After that, Morgan continued to gain momentum in the world of live performance and had the opportunity to open for Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, Eric Church, John Michael Montgomery and various touring acts that came through Oregon. These opportunities ultimately led to Morgan’s decision to move to Nashville, Tennessee in 2009. Once in Nashville, he performed his first song on the famed stage at the Bluebird Cafe, and shortly after began working at WKDF-FM and Cumulus Media. Years later, Morgan still works as an on-air personality and producer for the various stations affiliated and owned by Cumulus; but music was his calling and true passion. To engage in the local music scene, Morgan began playing at various writers’ rounds, festivals, and Nashville’s famed honkytonks on Broadway.
These experiences led Morgan to write with numerous, gifted writers across various genres. These artists include: Stephanie Quayle, Two Way Crossing, David Shelby, Crystal Shawanda, Jessica Rose, Ayla Brown, Carrie Cunningham and more.
Since 2014, Morgan has performed nearly 150 shows each year locally and throughout the country. He has been featured on radio stations all over the world, including the famed 650AM WSM. In 2017, he also had his first radio release “Breaking My Heart,” which was number one for three weeks on the Country Internet Charts.
Morgan’s time in Nashville has also allowed him to continue to share the stage with some of country’s biggest talents. Collin Raye, Kellie Pickler, Stacey Mitchhart, Love and Theft, A Thousand Horses, Two Way Crossing, Stephanie Quayle, David Shelby, to name a few.
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I’m absolutely loving my AMI SJM AG45 Guitar! The tone is so even and balanced across the spectrum. From small theaters to large outdoor venues, It plays in tune, stays in tune, and sounds fantastic! It is a pleasure to have out on The Little River Band tour! Thank you AMI for making such a great instrument.
Colin Whinnery is a member of The Little River Band, an accomplished Nashville musician, songwriter, and engineer. He has toured as a guitar player with Wynonna Judd, Lonestar,
Bryan White, and Savannah Jack, On bass, he’s worked with Carolyn Dawn
Johnson, Billy Gilman, Bryan White, and Tim Rushlow from Little Texas. His
songwriting credits include cuts for Triple Scoop Music Licensing, and have
been placed in many TV shows, including The Young and The Restless, All About
Us, Huff, One Life to Live, and All My Children. In stark contrast, he has
engineered sessions for many artists including Willie Nelson and Jamie O’Hara, to name just a few. He brings this wide range of experience to the stage as a member of The Little River
Band, adding a fresh energy to the rhythm section, to the vocal stack and as lead singer, as well.
For more information visit: www.littleriverband.com/colin-whinnery
Born in 1958, the son of famed blues harmonica player Carey Bell, Lurrie Bell picked up his father’s guitar at the age of five and taught himself to play. He was clearly gifted. In addition, he grew up with many of the Chicago blues legends around him. Eddie Taylor, Big Walter Horton, Eddie C. Campbell, Eddie Clearwater, Lovie Lee, Sunnyland Slim, Jimmy Dawkins and many more were frequent visitors to his house. They all helped to shape and school him in the blues, but none as much as his father’s long-time employer Muddy Waters.
At seven years old, Bell left Chicago to live in Mississippi and Alabama with his grandparents. During this time he played mostly in the church, immersing himself in the passionate expressiveness of the gospel tradition. At fourteen he moved back to Chicago and continued to play in church as well as forming his fist blues band while attending high school.
By 17 Lurrie Bell was playing on stage with Willie Dixon. In 1977 he was a founding member of The Sons of Blues with Freddie Dixon (son of Willie) and Billy Branch. The band recorded three standout tracks for Alligator Records’ Grammy nominated Living Chicago Blues series. In 1978 Bell joined Koko Taylor’s band and stayed for several years, honing his chops and learning the ropes of being a traveling musician. He continued to work with his dad as well, recording the 1984 Rooster Blues album, “Son Of a Gun” and several other titles for UK’s JSP Records. Not only was Bell recognized as an exceptionally talented guitarist and musician, his knowledge of different blues styles, his soulfulness and his musical maturity delivered write-ups in publications such as Rolling Stone and The New York Times.
Battling and defeating a series of personal demons kept him out of the studio and off the road for a long spell in the 1980’s, but Bell persevered and re-surfaced in the mid-1990’s with a succession of four highly acclaimed records for Chicago’s Delmark label.
Since the onset of the new millennium, Bell’s profile has been steadily rising. 2002 saw the release of the CD “Cutting Heads” and in 2004 Alligator Records released “Second Nature”, an acoustic duet record with his father Carey Bell that was nominated for a WC Handy Award Acoustic Record of the Year by the Blues Foundation in Memphis.
In 2007 Bell started his own label Aria B.G. Records and released “Let’s Talk About Love”, which has been called his most accomplished, deeply heartfelt album yet. On the strength of this record, he was voted Most Outstanding Guitar Player in the 2007 Living Blues Magazine’s Critic’s Poll, and in 2008 and 2012 he was named the magazine’s Male Blues Artist of the Year. Since 2007 he has received multiple Blues Music Award nominations as Best Guitarist and Best Traditional Male Blues Artist by the Blues Foundation.
2009 found him pairing up with Billy Boy Arnold, John Primer and Billy Branch on the recording “Chicago Blues: A Living History”, which garnered him his first official Grammy nomination for Best Traditional Blues Recording. In 2011 a follow-up was released, Chicago Blues: A Living History (The Revolution Continues) featuring Buddy Guy, Magic Slim and Ronnie Baker Brooks.
And in 2012 came the arrival of his second CD on Aria BG Records,” The Devil Ain’t Got No Music”, a collection of acoustic blues and gospel songs that recollect the music he often played with his dad and at church in Mississippi and Alabama as a child. In January 2013, “The Devil Ain’t Got No Music” was honored with the Prix du Blues award from the prestigious French L’Academie du Jazz for the Best Blues Recording of 2012 and the title song (written by producer Matthew Skoller) received a nomination from the Blues Foundation for song of the year.
In 2013 Bell re-signed with Delmark and enlisted famed Chicago producer Dick Shurman to make the record “Blues In My Soul”. For this project he wanted to get back to the solid foundation of Chicago-styled traditional guitar blues. “Blues In My Soul” features three new Lurrie Bell originals plus songs by Little Walter, T-Bone Walker, Jimmy Rogers, and Big Bill Broonzy and others. In 2016 Bell returned to the studio with Dick Shurman for his next Delmark CD, “Can’t Shake This Feeling”.
At last count Lurrie Bell has now appeared on 50+ recordings either as leader or featured sideman. Lurrie Bells’s elegant and intense guitar playing and passionate vocals have made him a favorite at clubs and festivals around the world and have earned him a repuration as one of the “leading lights” in the future of the blues.
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He's taller than you'd expect.
I mention that after he enters the room with a big smile, as he shakes my hand.
"Chubby dudes always look short on TV," he responds with a chuckle. "And skinny guys always look tall... I met some guys I assumed were giants and they were tiny. TV perspective fools us all, I guess."
It has been years since Mr. Sligh has really done interviews. He left the music world, and a major label record deal, back in 2011, after his daughter was born and he felt "called back to full-time church ministry". He spent six and a half years working for three churches across America, working his way into being the creative lead for two of the top 100 (one hundred) largest churches in America, culminating with his last job as creative director for a church of 8000 (eight thousand) outside Chicago.
I met Chris back then and the years seem to have changed him. He is still intense, with a razor sharp wit and the ability to intelligently discuss anywhere conversation takes us; but he softer now. Kinder. Warmer.
"I look back at the 'Empty Me' days, and I was so out of touch with what was happening inside of me, emotionally. I could write a song like 'Empty Me' and truly believe that I was living it, but deep down I was looking for confirmation that I was good - no, that I was great. I needed confirmation, to feel like this thing that I had chased and fought for and given up relationships for was worth it, and it was only worth it if people knew my greatness... I had mistakenly come to believe my legacy was my art, my work, my music, and I wanted to leave a mark. I wanted to be known as great. "
Now, I'm not sure how much I think that matters."
"Well, it seems like such a cliche, but... love. Love matters."
Chris Sligh does not typically barter in cliches. He's an award-winning songwriter and screenwriter. Words are his medium. He works hard to say things precisely and with clarity. So when he uses a cliche it stands out.
"I grew up in legalistic Christianity. When I left it, I probably let too much of it go; or maybe I held onto stuff I shouldn't have. I would've told you seven, eight years ago that I loved people, but that love was a judgmental, condescending kind of love, it was 'tough love', it was an arrogant 'I can help you be better' or 'I can show you better' kind of love... and I'm not so sure anymore I think that's really love"
So - what is it?
"Well - I think that when you look at Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, he gives this list in chapter 13 that is considered to be the best explanation of real love. But what most people don't catch or forget is that I Corinthians 13 is basically the fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5 with more explanation. Same words, same basic list.
"So I have come to really believe that living love is to live out the fruit of the Spirit. When I am kind, I show love. When I am patient, I show love. When I have joy - not just the joy that comes from giving someone a hard time (like I used to, a lot), but - real joy that comes from living in the love of God, then it expresses love to those around me.
"So I have come to realize that the work isn't all that important. Like - I want to be a great songwriter and producer, but while it was once and obsession, now if anything is that, it's trying to love people."
The new outlook on life doesn't change the fact that Mr. Sligh has had more success than the average musician, as an artist, as a producer and as a songwriter. The list of musicians who can boast of writing a number 1 song in a genre not their own, while writing multiple top 10 songs of their own is not incredibly long comparatively. But Chris wrote the #1 "Here Comes Goodbye" for Rascal Flatts (along with songwriter and producer Clint Lagerberg), and for a handful of years he was a mainstay on Christian radio, with hits ranging from Soft AC/inspirational to CHR.
But he also left the business after a highly successful major label debut Running Back to You and the middling success of his sophomore album The Anatomy of Broken, and spent the last six and a half years away from the spotlight, working in the church world.
"I needed to get away. For my own sanity. For my marriage. For my kids." He takes a deep breath, thinks through the past several years. Then, "I had to learn the lessons I learned while I was away. I had to learn to love; that the work isn't the important thing; that people are more important than success, whatever that may be in any given situation.
"I had to actually believe those things, not just have them be intellectual theories I had head knowledge of; they had to be ingrained on my heart.
"I gave up my music career back then. I laid it on the altar. I never thought I'd do this again. But then... God brought it back around."
In 2016, Sligh released his first new album in six years, Mighty Roar / Healing Flood. The album's reception was a surprise to Sligh, becoming one of 2016's better reviewed CCM pop albums. Jesus Freak Hideout said, "This is a great 'sit-down-and-listen-though' album"; CCM Magazine said, "Sligh has been proven as a gifted songwriter and vocalist, and both remain very clear on Mighty Roar… even as he enjoys exploring new influences"; New Release Today said, "It seems the almost four year wait for new music was exactly what Chris Sligh needed to produce an album unlike any he's ever released before. The electro-pop vibe runs from beginning to end, even in the more worship-focused tracks, which creates a diverse listen and shows his growth as an artist since the last release."
And over the past year, Chris began to dip his toe in the touring waters again.
"I have to admit, I was scared of touring. I can be an intense dude. I don't typically do things half-way. Back when I did it before, it consumed me, and it was hard to be married and I don't know how I could have been a father then.
"But over the past year as I've gotten back into touring I have realized that it's the angle you take on it that changes the experience. Before it was about the work. Now it's about the people.
"When I go into a church now, it's a totally different experience. I want to know these ministries. I want to know these pastors and worship leaders. I want to do more than just do a good concert and get out of there. It's far more taxing emotionally, but also far more rewarding. And honestly making it about relationship reminds me constantly that my most important relationships are at home."
"I want to do something different now. I believe my legacy in the end will not be the albums I make or the songs I write or the shows I play. My legacy will be the relationships I foster, the service I render to those around me, the way I am remembered to have loved.
"So if you see something different in me, maybe that's it? The value has shifted from the work to love. Sounds simple, I know. But man did it take a lot of work."
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I’ve been playing music since I was 14 years old. I’ve played the pawn shop guitars and I’ve played the high dollar “big name” brands. But I have never had a guitar like my AMI Guitar where the craftsmanship, playability and sound represent an instrument in a class far beyond the affordable price. I was a Gibson man but after getting my AMI Jumbo, I was hooked. AMI is a brand that I’m proud to have on stage with me every night.
Country artist Jake Bush is a native son of Texas, through and through. He was born in Pasadena, spent the majority of his life in Clear Lake City and served his time in the U.S. Army at Ellington Field in Houston. He leads and writes for his Jake Bush Ban and has been playing music for over 10 (ten) years. For 3 (three) of those years he has toured constantly, playing over 250 (two hundred fifty) shows a year. Jake has shared the country stage with many well-known artists, including Big & Rich, Cory Morrow, William Clark Green and Jake Worthington, to name a few. He has already had 2 (two) top 30 Texas Radio Singles and is currently touring in support of his latest tracks, “Don’t Drink My Whiskey” and “If These Walls Could Talk”.
For more information visit www.jakebushband.com