Vintage Guitar - December 2016 - Open - 91

Sam Palladio
with a '67 Gibson
Country Western.

Photos: Mark Levine.

Actor Mark
Collie with a
Gibson J-200.

Pulling it off is quite the process.
"For every song performed, Buddy
(Miller, the show's Executive Music Producer) has to submit three to the network.
Then they'll go back and record it, and
that's where they figure out sound and
instrumentation. Then, engineers send me
photos from the sessions. At that point, I
know what I'll be renting."
And, for each character who plays, the
crew tries to establish an instrument of
choice as part of the story.
"We have to consider, 'Is he old school, is
he new school?'" Rowe said. "The hardest
part is when I'm listening to the session
before they've been able to send photos;
but I know they have a million things on
their plate, too."
Just as crucial is a convincing performance.
"T-Bone (Burnett, the show's former
music producer) wanted me to work with
the cast on-set so they could really learn
to play the parts, and not fake it," said
Linden. "I supervise the shoots and not
only notate for errors, but work with the
cast and bands to play - exactly - the parts
we did on the recording. We never want to
dumb-down the music so the actors 'get'
it - and they don't want us to.
"For instance, if there's a part that Sam
Palladio's character, Gunnar, is supposed
to be playing, Sam will move heaven and
earth to learn it."
"The actors work their behinds off
learning parts - alternate tunings, capos,
whatever it takes," Rowe adds. "It's more

than just some guy with his head buried in
his lap playing this intricate voicing. We've
had Brian Setzer, Doyle Bramhall II, Kenny
Vaughan, and all kinds of heavyweights
here to cut stuff."
That quest for realism and accuracy even
extends to the on-screen backing bands.
"Everybody who plays in a backing band
on the show is a full-time professional
musician," Linden said. "A lot of them play
with Carrie Underwood, Toby Keith, and
other bands that are out regularly touring.
Casting always confers with us to make
sure the parts are right for the people and
the people are right for the parts."
For Linden, that means getting into the
characters' heads.
"Colin is absolutely phenomenal," says
Rowe. "When he's in the studio recording
an actor's guitar part to teach them later,
he takes the time to really understand how
they play, then records it in that manner.
He's not in there playing as Colin Linden
- he's thinking 'How would Avery Barkly
play this? How would Deacon Claybourne
play this.' Then, during rehearsal, I'll
watch the actors pick up the guitar part
with Colin helping; 'Here it is from the
mirror of how you play.' That is mindblowing to think of, on a TV show. It's not
just, 'Hey, I banged out this great part.' It's
'Hey, I banged out this great part that you
probably would have played.'"
"The different worlds collide to a degree," Linden says of the process. "There's
what Charles Esten would do versus what
his character, Deacon, would do. And of
December 2016

91

VINTAGE GUITAR

course, storyline is key. In season two,
Deacon was recovering after a car accident,
and he could barely play. Callie Khouri
(series creator) suggested that since his
problem was his left hand, maybe he could
get back into it by playing slide. So I started
playing Deacon's slide on the goldtop.
Charles wanted to learn everything about
it. He gets into the weeds so much. Really,
though, they all dig in deeply, and that's
what I am trying to do with each of the
characters."
As developing musicians, the actors
blend their own style to make the roles
their own.
"When Layla Grant, who is played by
Aubrey Peeples, started playing guitar
on the show, I asked Aubrey how she'd be
most comfortable," Linden recalled. "She
asked, 'Would it be okay if I played without
a pick?' I said, 'Of course' and asked how
she would strum through something and
she said, 'Well it's kind of like I'm holding
a pick - I put the two fingers together.' So
whenever I play her parts, that's what I do;
I play it in a style that she would, and then
I teach her the parts. There have been a
couple of times when she's been given a
solo, and she just rises to the occasion."
Choosing guitars for a character is given
the same consideration as casting for a role.
"We feel like an old guitar says something about the uniqueness of a character's
aesthetic, so we really try to keep that in
mind every time we choose an instrument
for someone," Linden says. "Willie Nelson
has Trigger, and when you think of Wil-


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vintage Guitar - December 2016 - Open

Contents
Vintage Guitar - December 2016 - Open - Cover
Vintage Guitar - December 2016 - Open - IFC
Vintage Guitar - December 2016 - Open - 1
Vintage Guitar - December 2016 - Open - 2
Vintage Guitar - December 2016 - Open - 3
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Vintage Guitar - December 2016 - Open - Contents
Vintage Guitar - December 2016 - Open - 9
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