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Last Week First

Summer is officially upon us in the Northern Hemisphere. Which means, I’ve been taking my acoustic guitar down to the local town square and pickin’ some blazing bluegrass tunes. You might say I’m “Sitting on Top of the World” when I’m working my right hand playing “Nine Pound Hammer.” But enough of my shameless tune-dropping. Let’s get down to business and take a look at the music and guitar-related news you might have missed last week.

John Mayer embarks on a summer tour with Dead & Company. If you haven’t heard, John Mayer, along with Oteil Burbridge (Allman Brothers) and Jeff Chimenti, have joined Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann (of the Grateful Dead) on a summer US tour. It’s time to break out the tie-dye and, if you can, make it out to see one of their shows. I can tell you this. I saw them play 2 sets to close out Bonnaroo and John Mayer blew me away with his tasteful licks and improvisation, especially with all the brilliant tone coming out of his signature PRS guitars.

Appalachian music pioneer and banjo virtuoso Ralph Stanley passes away at 89. After a long battle with skin cancer, Ralph Stanley (of Stanley Brothers and Clinch Mountain Boys fame) has died. Revered by generations of musicians for his clawhammer banjo technique and distinctive voice, Ralph is perhaps best known for appearing on the soundtrack to O Brother, Where Art Thou?, where he sings “O Death” and “Angel Band.”

Steven Tyler reveals that Aerosmith will stage farewell tour in 2017. In an interview on Howard Stern’s SiriusXM show, Steven Tyler has confirmed that Aerosmith will play their last tour in 2017. This puts to rest rumors that the band was on the brink of a breakup and likely never performing together as a band again. In the meantime, you should be on the lookout for Steven’s new country album We’re All Somebody From Somewhere and check out his Out On A Limb tour.

Converse releases new All-Wah sneakers. If you’re a fan of Converse’s legendary Chuck Taylor and stompboxes, then there’s a new shoe for you. The new All-Wah sneaker combines classic styling with an integrated wah circuit that tracks the flex of the sole to deliver inspiring wah tone that any guitarist can be proud of. Look for it coming soon to your local music retailer.

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