Thanks for checking out my website.  In case you were wondering ‘what the heck is with the whole country and jazz thing mixed?’ let me tell you why.

Jazz and Country?!?!

If you trace back different styles of American music to its roots you find a ton of common ground.  I figured this out when listening to Charlie Christian for the first time in years.  I thought, man he sounds like he could be in a Western Swing band, a blues band, and the good ole Benny Goodman Band.  So he became sort of the linchpin that spun off this whole project.   Other guitarists started to emerge from the landscape that each have a unique blend of these styles.  Players such as Bill Frisell, Jim Campilongo, Danny Gatton, Johnny Smith, and Brent Mason each have a foot in both doors.

What am I doing then?

  1. Exploring the roots of different American music styles-jazz, country, bluegrass, blues, etc.
  2. Taking you to the source of these styles and provide you with great instruction based on what these guitarists actually played, not theory or any other source.

What’s in it for you (the reader)?

Well, interesting, free stuff!  If you have any interested in the combination of jazz and country, or if you would like new ideas for your guitar playing, you will find it here.  You will find many in depth articles and transcriptions as you explore the website.  None of it is theory heavy though, as I take you directly to the greats in each style.  I publish about once a week and publish a transcription about once a month.  There are already a ton of great resources here, so follow along and you will definitely be rewarded with some great content.

I love comments and connecting with readers.  You can get in touch via social media (up to the right), email, or comments.  Sign up for my mailing list too.  You will receive a free eBook on 6 Surefire Ways to Improve Your Guitar Playing and a special Wes Montgomery eBook, along with my newsletter and discounts to any of my products.

If you’re not sure where to start, go to my Getting Started Page for a list of some of the most popular articles.  Here’s a quick rundown of some of my favs here:
Kenny Burrell’s Blues
Brent Mason Chicken Pickin’ Licks
Mick Goodrick Guitar Player Articles
Johnny Smith Style


Sam Smiley is a Chicago-based guitarist who is searching for the meeting place between different American music styles and approaches. He has spent considerable time working with the jazz and country music traditions, finding a meeting place in his recent project, Shikane. He has been described by world class guitarist, Fareed Haque, as a blend of Bill Frisell and Hank Garland.

He also leads the band, Shikane which is scheduled to release their first album in 2012, That Would Make Some Sense.

As a freelance guitarist, Sam has performed with and recorded with a variety of bands. He has also had the opportunity to travel the US and Europe for performances. He has written articles for Just Jazz Guitar Magazine, Making Music Magazine, and Mel Bay’s Sessions. His second eBook, Blues Language is a study of contextually applying phrases from the blues masters.  His first ebook, I’ll Be All Smiles Tonight,was released in the fall of 2011. It is an exploration of Luther Perkins’ guitar style (Johnny Cash’s guitarist).

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