Guitar legend Les Paul dies in White Plains, NY

Today the world lost a real guitar hero and tremendous influence on the world of recording when Lester William Polsfuss, better known as Les Paul, succumbed to complicarions from pneumonia in White Plains, NY.

Les Paul was born in 1915 and was one of the most influential guitar players and inventors. He was a pioneer in developing the solid-body electric guitar and developed recording techniques such as overdubbing, delay effects, phasing and multitrack recording which have shaped the world of audio recording and are still being used today.

“RIP and thanks for all the wonderful memories you have left behind for generations to come and enjoy. Your contributions to the music world are invaluable and will continue to serve as an inspiration to future generations of musicians and music professionals all over the world.” – DiBlanco

For more information on Les Paul, please visit: Wikipedia

Meet Nashville’s Couture Cowboy: Manuel

Here is a very interesting article by Jan Duke I found on the internet (http://nashville.about.com/od/nashvillesfamous/a/manuel.htm), that I wanted to present to everybody:

For the last several decades, in Nashville and across the world, he is simply known by the single name of Manuel (pronounced man-well).

Manuel was born, Manuel Arturo José Cuevas Martinez, on April 23rd, 1938 in Michoacán, Mexico, and was the fifth of eleven children of Esperanza and José Guadalupe Cuevas.

Manuel was taught to sew at the age of seven, by his older brother and tailor, Adolfo. He has made his own clothes ever since. During this time Manuel mastered a wide scope of the clothier’s art, including leather working, hat making, silver working and boot making.
Manuel then attended the University of Guadalajara majoring in psychology before leaving his native Mexico for Los Angeles in the mid 1950s.

In Los Angeles, Manuel he took on several low wage jobs and eventually landed a job with master embroiderer, Viola Grae. Manuel was working for Viola Grae when he met Nudie and Manuel joined Nudie as his head tailor at Nudie’s Rodeo Tailors in the early 1960’s.
Manuel worked along side Nudie for fourteen years. While at Nudie’s shop, he quickly became head designer and primary creator for many of Nudie’s clientele, he also became Nude’s son-in-law when he married Nudie’s daughter Barbara.

After Manuel and Barbara divorced, Manuel left Nudie’s employ and opened up his own business in North Hollywood in the mid-1970’s.
Soon after opening his shop, Manuel purchased a dozen or so machines from the infamous designer, Nathan Turk. Turk had just closed up his business, Turk of Hollywood, due to health reasons. In a generous gesture, Turk never cashed Manuel’s check for those machines. Manuel has always admired Nathan Turk and has given credit to Turk for some of his inspirations. Manuel, himself has also been known to be generous in giving a few of his creations away to some of the newer up-coming country musicians who otherwise would do without.

Manuel had found an unlimited outlet for his creativity working alongside great designers such as Viola Grae, master embroiderer, Nudie Cohn, the famous cowboy clothier, and Sy Devore, Hollywood Tailor to the Stars.
He found inspirations from such great clothiers as Rodeo Ben, Nathan Turk, and Nudie Kohn, all of which were immigrants to the USA, as he himself was, and all found fame in the world as clothiers as he had.

In the late 1980’s, Manuel moved to Nashville, Tennessee nearer to where many of his clientele, most of which were in the Country Music Industry, and opened his business, Manuel’s Exclusive Clothier’s.

His creations are truly a work of art and can be found in museums nationwide, including Metropolitan, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame and even the Smithsonian. Locally, in Nashville, you can find his works on display at the Country Music Hall of Fame and if you’re just lucky enough to know Manuel’s close friend, Marty Stuart, his closet is rumored to hold over 3000 pieces of Country Cowboy Couture that includes masterpieces from Turk, Nudie and, of course, Manuel.

Today, Manuel continues to craft western couture garments at his shop, Manuel’s Exclusive Clothier located at 1922 Broadway, Nashville, Tn. 37205, 615-321-5444. Most of Manuel’s custom-made outfits, all of which are sold as custom-made with Manuel’s direct involvement, will normally sell from $5,000 to $7,500, yet some can cost $20,000 or more. A buyer can also opt to buy from Manuel’s’ ready to wear line, Manuel Limited Collection is offered a lower cost across the country at only the finest of Western Wear Stores.

Manuel is an artist in the truest sense of the word, so make sure to stop by his shop and visit this Nashville Treasure on your next visit to Music City USA. You will recognize him by his big smile, signature scarf, charming and personable nature… he will also be the one charming all of the women within site.


© As published by Jan Duke at [url=http://nashville.about.com/od/nashvillesfamous/a/manuel.htm]About.com[/url]


DiBlanco’s personal note:

“I personally went on vacation and met Manuel around 1995 on a trip to Nashville, visited his store and was very impressed with his clothes and his presence. My wife at the time bought a jacket from him and received first-class service and a great product. We talked to Manuel for about 45 min and translated a german newspaper article about him for him. He just wanted to know “if they wrote something good about him”.

Many of his clothes have been topping my all-time favorite list (especially a lot of the ones cousin Marty Stuart owns) and I urge everybody to visit his store while in Nashville. If you like rhinestones and Western couture, you’ll absolutely LOVE Manuel’s.”

Steel guitarist Tom Brumley dies in San Antonio TX

Steel guitarist Tom Brumley, who played on classic recordings by Buck Owens and Rick Nelson, died early Wednesday morning (Feb. 4) in San Antonio, Texas, following a brief illness. He was 73.

The son of gospel songwriter Albert E. Brumley, who wrote “I’ll Fly Away,” he served as a key member of Buck Owens’ Buckaroos band during the ’60s. Touring and recording with Owens, Brumley played on such No. 1 hits as “Act Naturally” and “I’ve Got a Tiger by the Tail.” His work on Owens’ recording of “Together Again” is widely regarded as one of the finest steel guitar solos in the history of country music. After leaving Owens’ band in the late ’60s, Brumley became a member of Nelson’s Stone Canyon Band and helped the former teen idol gain respect as a serious singer, songwriter and performer. Brumley’s recordings with Nelson include the 1972 hit, “Garden Party.” More recently, he spent 15 years starring in his own music show in Branson, Mo., and appeared on albums by Dwight Yoakam, Sara Evans, Chris Isaak, Robbie Fulks and others. Brumley was inducted into the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame in 1992. With Brumley’s passing, drummer Willie Cantu is the only surviving member of the classic lineup of the Buckaroos. Guitarist Don Rich died in a motorcycle accident in 1974, and bassist Doyle Holly died in 2007. Owens passed away in 2006.


© As published on CMT.com, February 2009

Guitar-Picker/Entertainer Jerry Reed dies at age 71

Jerry Reed starred with Burt Reynolds in several blockbuster movies, recorded three No. 1 country singles, wrote one of Elvis Presley’s biggest hits and developed a fingerstyle guitar technique that other musicians are still analyzing to this day. When he died Monday (Sept. 1) at age 71, the entertainment world lost a genuine original who helped take country music and the country lifestyle to a larger mainstream audience.

Steel Guitar Icon John Hughey dead at 73

John Hughey, who made his musical reputation as a steel guitar player for Conway Twitty and Vince Gill, died Sunday evening (Nov. 18) in Nashville. The native of Elaine, Ark., was 73. According to details posted on his Web site, Hughey got his first guitar — a Gene Autry model from Sears — when he was 9.

In the seventh grade, he became friends with classmate Harold Jenkins, who would later adopt the name, Conway Twitty. Inspired by the sounds of Little Roy Wiggins, Eddy Arnold’s steel player, Hughey persuaded his father to buy him a lap steel. While still in high school, he and Jenkins formed the Phillips County Ramblers and briefly starred in their own radio show on a small local station. In 1953, Hughey joined Slim Rhodes & the Mother’s Best Mountaineers out of Memphis. For the next several years, Hughey alternated between playing in Rhodes’ band and performing in nightclubs. In 1968, Jenkins, by then appearing as Conway Twitty and aspiring to switch from fledgling rock star to country crooner, drafted Hughey into his band. Hughey toured and recorded with Twitty for the next 20 years. After that, he worked with Loretta Lynn for nearly two years before joining Gill’s band, where he remained for 12 seasons. He was inducted into the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame in 1996. In recent years, he was a member of the Time Jumpers, an ad hoc band of studio and touring musicians that plays each Monday night at Nashville’s Station Inn bluegrass club. An active session musician, Hughey’s work was also featured in movies, television series and specials, commercials and music videos.

“John Hughey was one of my absolute favorite steel guitar players,” says DiBlanco “Impeccable technique and a great sound were his trademarks. He will be sorely missed.”

DiBlanco celebrates 30 years in the music business

Robert DiBlanco celebrated 30 years of playing live on September 27th 2007 with a bunch of his closest friends at the Lone Star Club in Humble, TX. The surprise party was organized by Amy Floyd and featured appearances of Texas singer-songwriter Clay Farmer, Todd Fritsch band fiddle player Lee Mounger and his wife Ava, Frank Puryear Jr., friends Simon and Courtney Lee as well as representatives of the Humble Music Center.

The band that night consisted of guitar slinger Big John Mills, drummer Joe DeLeon, singer/songwriter Mark Zeus, Robert DiBlanco and keyboardist Drew Balog.

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One of the party’s highlights was the cake featuring a picture of Robert’s first public live performance on September 27th 1977 behind the drums at his school in Messstetten, Germany.

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Another highlight were the commemorative laminates celebrating the event, proudly displayed here by Clay Farmer and Robert DiBlanco

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“I was completely blindsided by this party – had no idea it was coming. I showed up to work at this open-mike jam in Humble and all of a sudden, a bunch of my buddies were there, a cake and all that cool stuff,” says DiBlanco of the event. “Thanks to everybody that showed up, called me, texted me and so forth for making this a very special night. The biggest thanks have to go to Amy Floyd who put all of this together and certainly made it a night to remember. Thanks for the cake (it went straight to my hips) and I especially love the laminates – what a cool idea. I am also looking forward to filling the new music scrapbook with more memories.”

Update: March 2007

Hey everybody;
here’s a quick update from yours truly.

Things have been really really busy lately and a lot of good stuff has been happening. We have had a lot of great shows lately: the show with the Fort Bend Symphony Orchestra was amazing and personally one of the most important events I have ever been involved with, the gig at the Houston World Championship BBQ Cookoff was a lot of fun, our show at the Astrodome in Houston TX was a real career highlight and Steamboat Springs sure will be remembered.

2007 has been very good to us so far and we are looking forward to a lot of exciting things in the nearer future: the release of the new Todd Fritsch album in April, support shows with Ronnie Milsap, Tracy Lawrence, Aaron Tippin and most importantly George Strait, a European tour in September and several appearance in Nashville (CMA Music Festival, etc.) throughout the year makes for a lot of fun.

The video for “What’s Wrong With Me” has received very good reviews but neither GAC nor CMT have felt inclined to include it in their programming at this time. The new album is full of good, real-country music and should do very well for us. Also, we have added a full-time FOH-engineer in Enrique Alvarado who has already made a big impact on the sound quality and makes our lives a lot easier (more on this in the nearer future).

As always, thanks for your interest
Robert DiBlanco

DiBlanco shoots Music Video with Todd Fritsch

Todd Fritsch and his band ‘Stampede’ finished shooting their first music video for the new single “What’s Wrong With Me”.

Directed by Robby Springfield, the production took 4 days and includes cameo apperances by ‘The Rocket’ Roger Clemens and country star Eddy Raven as well as live footage of Todd and his band.

The video was shot at various locations around Fayetteville, Texas and is expected to be released to GAC and CMT in early 2007. It will also be made available as a download at the website shortly after the official release date.

Apart from TODD FRITSCH himself, Robert DiBlanco wants to thank the following people for their invaluable contributions:

Cameo Appearances: ‘The Rocket’ Roger Clemens and Eddy Raven

Actors: Leah Hrachovy, Kristin Schutze, Steve Appelbaum, Bubba Haley and all the many extras

Production Crew: Director Robby Springfield, Jimmie Lou, Power 3 Productions, Steve Childress and his crew, Andrea Schutter (makeup artist), Chris Conway Construction

Musicians and Sound/Light: Joe DeLeon, Kenny Grohman, Allen Huff, Lee Mounger, Leo Thibodeaux, Brian Thomas, Enrique Alvarado & Ten 18 Sound Productions, Andre (songwriter) and Carol Boudreaux

For TF Enterprises: Doug Deforest (Management), Martha Moore (so much MOORE – Publicist), Matthew Hoyt (Austin Universal Entertainment – Booking Agent), Raegan Brockenbush, Betty Fritsch, Gary Fritsch, Bubba Fritsch, Brad Fritsch

Transportation provided by Tegeler Chevrolet and GM Motors – Catering provided by Joe’s Place in Fayetteville, TX – Accomodations provided by the Country Place Hotel in Fayetteville, TX and Grandma Bernadette.

Thanks to the City of Fayetteville, Texas and Russ Allen for providing the most beautiful locations for this video shoot and to all the wonderful people in Fayetteville, TX for their unbelievable support and patience while we invaded their hometown.

Robert DiBlanco re-united with former LONGHORN Band guitarist Joe Anslik

Robert DiBlanco was re-united with his buddy and fellow band member of almost 10 years, Joe Anslik from Cologne, Germany. After a lengthy stretch of 7 years apart, Joe and Robert worked together again at a recent gig of the Clay Farmer Band. They also shared the stage again at a local open mike hosted by none other than Big John Mills.

“It’s been great to work with Joe again. After 7 years of not seeing him I had almost forgotten how good he is – just kidding.” says DiBlanco. “From the moment I picked him up at the airport to the moment I brought him back it was nothing but good times. We had a ball talking about old times and road stories. Also, since he has accomplished so many things after the LONGHORN Band disbanded in 1997 he had a lot of very interesting stories to tell. Sharing the stage with him again was the icing on the cake and we both hope we don’t have to wait another 7 years to do it again.”

Joe Anslik was the lead guitar player for LONGHORN and The LONGHORN Band during the years 1988-1997. He moved on to become one of Germany’s most successful studio musicians whilst continuing to perform live in a wide variety of projects (i.e. The Nashville Music Company). Joe has been featured on several TV shows, countless records and has toured around the world. He frequently holds guitar clinics at the NAMM shows in the United States and big conventions in Europe as an endorser for various companies such as Behringer. He has also played the ‘holy church’ of country music, the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN with the creme de la creme of country music’s A-team players as well as recording in various studios around Music City USA for artists such as R.B.Stone.
“There’s a reason why his name is on my all-time favorite guitar pickers list and he has only gotten better over time. I considered him to be the best country guitar picker in Europe when we left Germany in 1997 and has excelled from there. What a talented individual he is – I am proud to call him a friend and I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with him in the LONGHORN Band for 10 years. He’s like a brother to both me and my wife. ”