ThreeShots is a blues band

As another Colorado Blues Society’s (CBS) International Blues Challenge (IBC) preliminary round comes and goes leaving us in its wake it’s time to reflect. I want to say congratulations to the bands that made it to the finals. All of the bands that played that day were top notch. As ThreeShots puts another IBC to rest we can’t help but look back at this and previous years with a slightly precarious, frustrating and confusing expression. (I have no idea what that would actually look like)
ThreeShots is a blues band, period.

Do we play the same ol’ canned blues that came about 60 years ago? Nope. That doesn’t mean we are not blues. The genre that is blues is massive, due largely to that fact that blues has influenced so many genres. Just like all forms of music though blues has evolved and grown over the years.

Without getting too technical blues is traditionally made up a 12 bar progression based off of the I, IV, and V chords, utilizing the blue notes (flatted 3rd and 7th notes), paired with a walking bassline and call and response lyrics.

This is where it started; it has evolved into so much more than that. Elvis (rock and roll), Muddy Waters (Chicago blues), Robert Johnson (delta blues), T-Bone Walker (jump blues), John Lee Hooker (boogie-woogie blues), Stevie Ray Vaughan (Texas blues), Cream, Lonnie Mack (Rock-blues) just to name a few, all of these and many more subgenres are notably different but they are all blues.

ThreeShots is no different, we have taken the music beyond where we found it and still hold to the conventions that would, to the discerning ear, still classify us as blues. Our selection of cover songs and originals bounce in and out of several sub genres all of which fall under blues.

Some like Chicago blues, some like Texas blues, Swamp blues, or maybe jump blues. There are so many different subgenres of blues it is hard to count. ThreeShots falls well within the definitions of electric blues, blues-rock, and Roadhouse R&B.

Yet without fail as if looking for a reason to vote us down, we get ‘feed back’ stating that we are not a blues band. So the musician in me can’t help but look to the theory behind what makes blues definitively blues. Traditionally, as I mentioned above most blues consist of a I, IV, V progression, usually in a 12 bar format. Rhythmically blues is clichély a shuffle and lyrically it is standard to have a call and response sort of a thing. I would argue that if you have a song that consists of all of these elements you would be hard pressed not to have a blues song on your hands. With that being said, it only makes sense to expand the genre and not just play the same ol’ things that we have heard for the last 60 years. ThreeShots has done our part to expand the genre. Several other notable bands have done the same. I really do believe that aside from their noted fame that Hamilton Loomis and Samatha Fish would be bitch slapped and told they aren’t blues based off of what I have seen year after year. Yet they are at the forefront of the genre respectively. Yes they both play standard/traditional blues from time to time but for the most part they are by no means conventional blues.

Some like us, love us, and some can’t stand us. That doesn’t change what we are: good. This year we had a ballot of straight 6s. This year was also hands down the tightest performance in all aspects that our show has been. While in the past I remember seeing straight 10’s (Thanks Dan King). Without fail we get judges at this competition who from their position of superior knowledge, or so I am assuming this is why they were made judges. Surely they aren’t just blues enthusiasts, or weekend players but I could be wrong. This judging pool of blues aficionados can’t help but think we are not a blues band and find that it is their duty to inform us that we are actually a rock and roll band. Even if that were the case (which it is not) and we were to lose points in the ‘blues content’ section, surely the instrumental, vocal talent, stage presence, and originality section should grant us enough points to carry us forward.

Also, if I am correct all the judges ballots are used to figure out the winner, which means if one judge doesn’t like your act, you are out of the competition. It would seem to me that the lowest and the highest scores should be tossed out and the remaining scores be averaged. This would remove positive and negative outliers.

Name That Album

So as ThreeShots joins the rest of the money makers in the music industry we are going to stop  giving our first album away. As we enter the realm of digital distribution we are going back and adding art work and a title to the first ThreeShots release. We want your help. We found the cover art through happenstance, local photographer Rachel Chaplin, and want your help naming it. So comment below with your ideas, the band will suss out the bad ones and place the remainder in a poll, letting the ThreeShots community vote and go from there. So here it is:

By Rachel Chaplin

If you are looking to pull inspiration from lyrics within the songs on the album check out the album here: ThreeShots Name that Album

There will be a follow up post once we have ruled out the blatantly bad names.

Hello, Hello Kitty!

So Tom is the band’s resident tech head (Tekhedd) and every time someone in the band gets a new piece of really cool gear (My new amp). He has to go and (with the help of his wife) play the one up game. Throw on a Carhartt shirt learn a few Willy Nelson tunes and look out open mic nights… Tom’s newest addition:

KittyKitty1

 

Cranknstein

First show of the year! The night was long but oh my God did it feel good, we started off strong and rode the pocket all the way to closing. Seriously, I haven’t had this much fun at a gig for some time. I can’t thank the beautiful and talented Emma Sloniker enough for joining us on a few numbers. Not to forget the energetic Erick ‘Ski’ Moskalski for bringing a great stage presence to the night. It was a night of firsts for sure, it would seem the plan is to keep having guest players join us when we can, mixes things up a bit.

A few highlights:

 

crankcover

 

 

 

Cranknstein has been a great place for us to play, some say it is a little small… I say intimate. Really though they have an amazing staff and it’s really nice to have a place to play in our home town. They seem few and far between. It really allows us to make a connection with our new found fans:

 

 

 

 

Point of inquiry:

One thing I have begun to notice is that our news letter sign up goes from gig to gig with little to no new additions… is email dead as a means of informing the masses about live music? You tell me. I have seen an increase in our FB likes for what it’s worth 🙂

The Hunt For Perfect Tone…

Lets kick off the blog with some gear talk. All guitar players I know have spent a good portion of their careers looking for the perfect combination of guitar/pickups, amp/head/speaker/tubes, and FX pedals to find the perfect tone…  I (Andy) have been using a Fender Super 4×10 for years, a real work horse and a real pain to tour with! Sounds great and all but it just weighs a ton and takes up a lot of space come travel time. So after years and year of only having this amp to fall back on I put a call out to my tech savvy people for a new amp. It took some times but thanks to Tom (Bassist) the search is over and I have given up my Fender Super for the Mesa/Boogie Subway Rocket Reverb:AndyBoogie

‘‘A grab and go, fire breathing tone monster, loud enough to overpower any drummer’’

When I read this personal review I was sold but the proof was in the pudding… so to speak. I went and played the thing and was stunned. I would have never thought a 1×10 could be this ballsy. Some assembly required, trouble shooting the metronome like popping sound this amp uttered after a few minutes of playing (bad tube) with Tom’s help and I was sold. I couldn’t walk out of the store with this in arms fast enough. I am sorry I ever doubted you Mesa/Boogie. I still like to think of myself as a Fender man but to get the right tone out of the Super I had to really crank it up… and I do my part not to be like every other guitar player on the planet. I like low stage volume. Well this gets to that tasty distortion/saturation point at lower volumes but can sort of fall apart if you get it loud enough. It can get loud though, holy hell! I like my amps like my women? Short, loud and with warranties? I dont know, all I do know is I can’t wait to get this out and see what it can do. New year, new gear… 2015 is going to be epic.