Styles & Influences

Styles and Influences -In my own words---Stan Hirsch www.stanhirsch.com 

I love to play the guitar. That love has been with me thru thick and thin for fifty something years. The true constant in my life. 

I am a product of that most wonderful musical fusion of all time. Commonly called Rock & Roll--it was a mid 20th century musical revolution. One unlike any before, anywhere at anytime. The music of an emerging popular culture. The product of an incredible melting pot that was boiling over in the U.S.A.  

The label Rock & Roll was used as a marketing term, but a new classification was needed. All these musicians hearing other musicians then creating a different music for a different audience. The main “styles” that made up this Rock & Roll were Blues, Gospel, Folk, Hillbilly, Jazz and pop. (Each of these were made up of dozens of fused styles.)  

I would not classify myself as a rock and roll artist per se’, but as a fusion artist--a musician who has been influenced by most all those styles and sub-styles that are part of that same stew.  

The 1st. 45 record I bought was Marty Robbins-El Paso. Bought that because the Mexican guitar sound really moved me. Actually any "live" guitar playing I would have heard as a young kid would be the Mexican guitar (in restaurants, or mariachi in Old Town). And country music was everywhere (at the state fair and on radio). So it made sense that El Paso would catch my ear.  

That is my one of my "roots"-along with all the Blues and R&B that early Rock & Roll would have brought. In fact, the 1st 45 record I wore out (my dad's)was Rock around the Clock by Bill Haley. That was a 12-bar swing. One of my dads favorite songs was In The Mood by Benny Goodman(his favorite group), which was also a 12-bar swing. So that swing/shuffle was a feel that always came natural to me.  

Then my "roots" would have been THE RADIO! Between Elvis, Chuck Berry and Ray Charles---the Beatles, Stones, Dylan, Sam Cook, James Brown, Chuck Berry, on & on---(100's of other great songs and artists).  

Now, it was Instrumental "surf guitar" that I cut my teeth on (as far as actual "copped licks" I learned on the guitar go). I had already learned how to strum chords to standard folk songs etc...(I had this big book with all the chords and lyrics--old songs from the 1800's and turn of the century--camp fire cowboy songs--different songs from "around the world", whatever, like 100's of songs.  

Back then most folks knew 100's of "folk" songs. All the kids, parents and grandparents would know many of the same songs. That was before "pop" music had successfully split apart the tastes and sounds of the diff. generations(or decades as now).  

My "musical roots" are the sounds I was hearing and absorbing, the actual experiences--not the perceived cultural baggage. Not something your proud or not proud of--just what went into your ears by accident, circumstance or design.  

Now in the mid 60's I started hearing the old blues. The folk revival brought back Miss. John Hurt, and Rev. Gary Davis, and Lightnin' and Howlin' wolf, Muddy, Mance Lipscumb, Columbia re- issued the Robert Johnson stuff, Sunhouse was back performing, Sonny Terry and Brownie MaGee came thru town---many many others. My older brother, David, brought home the Muddy Waters Folk Singer album--(in the early 60's?) that really floored me! I could tell right away how this was the roots of all the much of the rock I loved. I could feel that shuffle groove and follow that 12-bar chord progression. (I really studied this stuff HARD man!) 

I guess that gives me another bid chunk of my mid-20th century American musical roots. That 30's, 40's, 50's and early 60's American stuff. What a great environment to be brought op as a listener and player!  

Then came the late 60's and early 70's, ---Wow! (Hendrix, Mike Bloomfield, Santana, Clapton, Page, Duane Allman on & on---man--I also really worked hard studying that shit!  

That said, over the past 50 years I have learned a great deal from many, many players and composers! Classical, Jazz, Hard Rock, Country, Flamenco, on & on---man, --there is just so much great stuff out there! ( And I love learning!) 

For the last 20 years, performing as a solo acoustic singer/guitarist. the term that would most closely fit my “style” would be Acoustic Blues . From fans and critics alike, that is the most used definition.  

In my blues I can always mix it up different ways. I have studied and "copped" most of the "standard blues" repertoire by the original artists, but, depending on my mood and the circumstances, I might turn a "Delta" song into a "who knows what"?...I'll do the slow shuffle and grind or I'll swing it, rock it, funk it - "Boogie" it, "jazz it up" or "country fry it" "Latin it", whatever---. !  

I love to play it all, but like I said--As an entertainer, Blues works the best for me cause it's snuck in there everywhere! You know, wherever those American grown "Roots" styles are, your going to find it, (and me). On my last "blues" CD I even threw in some "classical music" and "rap" and "Bebop" and Flamenco stuff. But, it was all blues to me---hey--whatever?  

Anyhow, I love it all! I would also like to take this opprotunity to thank all those who have taken an interest in my music. -Stan