In a world of increasing homogeneity and gratuitous eulogising of the mediocre by the media simply for what appears to be the sake of having something to talk about, it’s a rare sight to behold aberrations to the normal especially in the form of unique and uncompromising talent.
When the marketing machine itself seems to become more a part of the product it promotes than the product itself, when the inherent qualitites of individuality have been crushed under the weight of commercialism and when all the corners have been knocked off, rounded down and filed into a useless dust by the “machine” then what is there left of real, intrinsic value?
Luckily some artists are born with a respect for their art and instrument and a no holds barred approach to quality control,
When it comes to modern acoustic fingerstyle guitar Paul Ubana Jones is one of the highly regarded champions, perhaps even a pioneer, of a unique and highly expressive, soulful approach to acoustic guitar that he effortlessly combines with song.
Paul fuses a bold approach to tunings, percussive harmonics, and melody with a highly fluid picking technique and soulful intensity to deliver a wonderful mixture of an almost funky, Hendrixy and blues-rock approach to the bass end of the groove with European flavoured folk and progressive classical motifs, leads, lines, hybrid arpeggios, blues picking styles and more. It`s a very modern and expressive mix of technique, soul and talent.
Born in London and playing guitar by the age of 11, Paul graduated from a London music college, where he studied guitar and cello, and began to forge the solo acoustic style that he has stuck to and developed over the years.
In the late eighties Paul and his family moved to New Zealand, which is still their permanent home. He has continued to perform internationally, to growing acclaim. Concert performances include opening for the likes of Bob Dylan, Patti Smith, Taj Mahal, Keb Mo’, Tuck and Patti, and Crowded House.
Understandably Paul’s “off the hook” skills aren’t something that’ll come to you overnight, unless you’re friends with the devil, but, to compliment the awesome Blind Blake style fingerpicking lesson from Jim Bruce, Paul’s approach to fusion expands upon an already eloquent vocabulary.
So, here is Paul discussing one of his clawhammer thumb picking patterns.
Whilst this may be out of your playing depth technically Paul describes some helpful techniques in approaching fingerpicking such as focusing upon a relaxed hand and extracting and concentrating upon the the rhythm of the left hand – it`s well worth spending some time in trying to apply Paul’s advice to your own picking practice regime.