MP3 American Hot Club Band - False Prophets (maxi single)
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3 MP3 Songs
ROCK: 60's Rock, POP: Beatles-pop
Based in Maryland, The American Hot Club Band is a four-piece guitar-oriented band that follows the pop/rock musical legacy of 60's bands like the Byrds and the Beatles. Many of their originals have that soulful Bryds/Tom Petty feel with the close vocals and jangly guitars. The band features veteran guitarist and singer Dave Sharp, who is also a fan of 50's rock 'n' roll artists like Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Carl Perkins, Eddy Cochran and the Everly Brothers.
"If an artist was inspired by the Beatles or the Byrds," Sharp explained, "then on a creative level, you can't simply imitate their sounds. You have to learn the music that inspired them to create those beautiful sounds in the first place. That was Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly, and on and on. If you think of rock 'n' roll and pop music as a tree, then these 50's artists are the trunk, and the Beatles, the Byrds and artists like myself are branches connected to that trunk."
Sharp cites other musical influences as guitarists Eric Clapton, Duane Allman, Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck. In fact, his first major accomplishment as a rock guitarist was learning note-for-note Clapton's renowned guitar solos in Robert Johnson's "Crossroads," which Clapton recorded live with Cream at the Fillmore in the late Sixties.
Besides rock music, Sharp has also studied jazz guitarists Django Reinhardt and Charlie Christian, two renowned musicians from the 30s and 40s who inspired a broad range of guitarists such as Chuck Berry, Jimi Hendrix, Willie Nelson and Wes Montgomery, to name a few. Sharp's approach to learning jazz was to copy and memorize solos note-for-note by jazz greats like guitarist, Django Reinhardt; saxophonist, Charlie Parker; guitarist, Charlie Christian; guitarist, Wes Montgomery and more.
The American Hot Club Band formed in May 2005 when Sharp began jamming with local musicians at weekly open mics in the vicinity of Rockville, Maryland. The jam sessions quickly evolved into bona fide gigs as musicians recognized Sharp's talent and joined his evolving rock ensemble.
Over the past year, the band underwent personnel changes but maintains a nucleus of top-notch musicians. Besides Sharp, regular players include Stoney Johnstone (bass) Mike Lessin (guitar) and Jay Dennis (drums).
Sharp was inspired to write an anti-war song, False Prophets, recently released as a maxi single by the American Hot Club Band. False Prophets follows the musical tradition of the Byrds, with a dominant 12-string electric guitar throughout. Lyrically, the song is a statement of opposition to the United States' invasion of Iraq. Sharp wrote the music, but the lyrics are an adaptation of the words of Jesus of Nazareth extracted from the Gospel of Matthew. The message is to judge people by their deeds, not by their words, and not to be misled by people of influence simply because they tell us what we want to hear. Sharp says the song was inspired by people who claim to be Christians, but endorse virtually any war launched by the government under which they live, for virtually any reason.
"The electric 12-string guitar really fits this type of song," Sharp explained. "I like it because it's soothing but has an edgy sound. When I think of songs about peace, I always hear a Rickenbacker 12-string in my head."
Regarding the Christian message, Sharp had this to say. "I admire the teachings of Jesus, but I'm not a Christian in the traditional sense. I prefer the Jefferson Bible (written by Thomas Jefferson) which tells of the life and teachings of Jesus without the miracles. The lyrics to the song False Prophets are, for the most part, direct quotes from Jesus per the Gospel of Matthew. Judge people by their actions, not by their words. That's the message of the song. That is one of Jesus's teachings that is often overlooked, but is one of the most powerful, in my opinion. If every Senator and Congressperson on Capitol Hill would have followed that rule in the fall of 2002, when they gave President Bush authority to use military force in Iraq, we would not be at war in that country today. Bush and his crowd preached the gospel of war and they fed the public false, misleading information. They were, in effect, false prophets. And the real irony is they also claim to be Christians. They forget that Jesus said 'blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.' Apparently President Bush, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robinson never read that part of the Bible."
Sharp has his own ideas about other issues as well, like the music industry for example. He believes independent artists should go back to the SINGLE concept (as opposed to long-playing albums) like they did in the 50's and early 60's. "It's easier to sell one, two or three songs to the public from an unknown artist," Sharp said, "but trying to sell an entire long-playing album is extremely difficult without the backing of a major record label. I believe if independent artists would start pushing smaller amounts of songs at a time, they would have more success overall. And it would make the recording process a lot more fun. It's less stressful to record two or three songs at a time than it is to record twelve or more for a long-playing album. The old vinyl record format itself made a lot of decisions for record executives. A vinyl single had two sides and enough space for a song on each side. Those are tight restrictions. With CDs, the mindset is to use all the space on the CD because technically, there is no difference between a CD single and a long-playing CD. They both have the same amount of audio time, about 80 minutes. So it's considered wasteful to release a single CD when there's enough space available for an entire long-playing album. But in my opinion, that way of thinking leads to pushing too much new music on the public before it's ready. The solution is to put two or three songs on a CD and sell it for half the price of a long-playing album CD. People should not allow technology to drive critical marketing issues like pushing singles versus long-playing albums."
During live performances, Sharp is known for getting different "colors" from his guitar, an effect he achieves by frequently switching guitars between songs. He typically alternates between an Alvarez acoustic-electric, a Gretsch Country Classic electric, and a Rickenbacker 350 12-string electric. He also plays harmonica, usually incorporating the classic sixties-style harmonica holder which enables him to strum the guitar and play the mouth harp simultaneously. Sharp also plays bottle-neck slide on electric and acoustic guitars.
Sharp has written numerous songs and released two CDs over the years. He has played the Washington, DC blues circuit with Blind Date (also known as Problem Child), expressed his inner child with the originals rock band Dave Sharp and Enemies of the People, played in party band Cartel, played the Southern Maryland beach music circuit with Teezin With Fred, and played in a folk duo (The Dave Sharp Duo) with bassist Scott Harlan. As a teenager his band, The Golden Fleece, won first place in a battle of bands in Culpeper, Virginia.
The American Hot Club Band released False Prophets as a three-song maxi single. Two additional songs are "The Lies" and "Alone Today." The songs were released by Odessa, an independent label, and published by Odessa Paul Entertainment ASCAP.
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