Guitar Hero for real

Disney and Washburn Guitars have announced at CES 2009 that they will release a Guitar Hero-type video game that uses a real guitar. The idea is that you can really learn to play the guitar through this computer game (PC and Mac) due for release this summer. This is cool – a video game that helps you learn something. Reasonable price too: $200 with guitar included. Other versions will be also come out for keyboards and vocals.

The drawback? Being a Disney property, it is being aimed at kids. The guitar that will come with the game will be 3/4 scale and be aimed at the “tween” demographic with ties to Hannah Montana and other Disney properties (although any guitar should be able to work with the software). Looks like this means that the songs will be mostly Disney songs from the current stable of Disney shows.

Disney is missing out here. While there are young kids that are playing Guitar Hero, it is older audiences (teens and 20s) that have spent the bulk of the billions of dollars raked in by the Guitar Hero/Rock Band games. They aren’t going to want Hannah Montana songs to be the first they learn to play on guitar.

I’d even be tempted at picking it up if the game wasn’t filled with tracks from “High School Musical 3” like the demo video. I’d guess that Disney will quickly see the demand and versions for older audiences must surely follow.

I bet that in the next 10 years, we’re going to see a popular musician who first learned to play on Disney Star Guitarist.

Buck Owens

Buck Owens died today. I expect my boss will not be in the office next week as I’m sure he’ll be taking time off to mourn his favorite country music singer.

Buck Owens was country music back in the 60’s and 70’s. I remember watching the TV show Hee Haw with my grandparents back in the day. Who could forget that red, white, and blue guitar?

Buck Owens even crossed political boundaries. When an avowed liberal like my boss and proud conservatives like the Powerline guys both love Buck Owens, what could be more American than that?

God bless Buck Owens.


Leigh Nash is funny

I mentioned not long ago that Leigh Nash has a spot over at MySpace. She is one of the few artists who seems to contribute regularly to their web site.

When she decides to retire from the music business, she should be able to find a job in comedy writing. At least her blog post about how to beat up an ostrich is funny.

iPod additions

Just updated the iPod with Death Cab for Cutie, Mazzy Star, and Steve Taylor.

Death Cab for Cutie is one of those 10-year overnight sensations. That is, they’ve been putting out indie releases for years and have just had their first release on a major label.

The Mazzy Star album is “So Tonight That I Might See” released in 1993 – easily their best. If you like a psychadelic style, you need to check them out. I had the cassette tape when it first came out but never got around to buying the CD. Well, thanks to an iTunes gift card for Christmas, it was time.

The gift card also got me the Steve Taylor “Meltdown” album from 1983. Steve Taylor was a “Christian” act. He had a long solo career spanning into the late 90’s. He is certainly a Christian but he never was an evangelizer. His music was generally social commentary from a Christian perspective with a lot of humor thrown in. His biting wit frequently targeted so-called Christian beliefs he disagreed with. For instance his “I Blew Up the Clinic Real Good” from the album I Predict 1990 mocked abortion clinic bombers. (If you know where I can get a copy of that one on CD, let me know.)

Meltdown was his first full length album. Taylor was “alternative” before alternative was cool. Probably why I’m such a fan of the genre.

Hootie lives!

OK, there is no “Hootie” in the group, but Hootie & the Blowfish have a new album out. I got it last week. As always Darius’ voice is great, I think re-emphasized on this album. The harmonies are quintessential Hootie.

Now for those of you who are skeptical, go see them live. They are a band that made it big by touring endlessly before they got signed to a major label. While good on CD, they are a completely different experience in person. You won’t find any recorded help at the concert. These guys are real.