Have you been watching the Martin Guitar “Jam in Place” Series on Facebook? The revered guitar manufacturer has built up legions of fans in their long history. Their daily livestream series on Facebook has been supporting independent artists as well as featuring lots of marquee names. Seth Avett, Hunter Hayes, Don McLean and The Cars’ guitarist Elliot Easton stopped in to perform and chat just this past week.
This Memorial Day weekend features a couple of guitar greats: Rory Block on Saturday May 23 at 3 pm EDT and Matt O’Ree on Sunday May 24 at 3 pm EDT. Lara and Tom Johnston, vocalist and guitarist for the Doobie Brothers will round out the three-day holiday weekend on Monday May 25 at 3 pm EDT.
Rory Block has come prepared with a set list in advance! The six-time Blues Music Award winner plays a mean slide, recreating classic blues like “Preachin’ Blues,” “Frankie & Albert,” “Stones in My Passway,” all of which are on the set list. Block’s new album Prove It On Me is a tribute to the powerful female blues musicians who inspired her. The lead single and video “He May Be Your Man” is a slinky, walking blues filled with Block’s swaggering bravado and her declaration “He may be your man but he comes to see me sometimes.”
Matt O’Ree is a guitarist’s guitarist who’s earned the respect of Steve Cropper, Bruce Springsteen, John Popper and Pete Anderson. O’Ree’s first dance in the spotlight was winning the Guitar Center “King of the Blues” contest in 2005, with judges including B.B. King and John Mayer. In 2015, he shared guitar duties with Phil X in platinum-selling band Bon Jovi on their Asian tour. His 2016 release Brotherhood featured guest appearances from Bruce Springsteen, Steve Cropper and David Bryan (Bon Jovi). O’Ree’s weekly live streams with his wife and blues/soul singer Eryn and his Geartorial equipment rundowns on his YouTube page, which have been spotlighted here on American Songwriter, are a rabbit hole of guitar geek heaven.
Lara and Tom Johnston’s show on Monday promises to be a fun show filled with covers, originals and a classic or two. Tom Johnston is most noted, of course, as the guitarist and vocalist for the Doobie Brothers, who are to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this coming November. His daughter Lara follows right in his footsteps, raised on a steady diet of Ray Charles, Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin. Her husky, emotive vocals meld her love of classic R&B and soul singers into a pop sensibility.
Catch “Jam in Place on the Martin Guitar Facebook page here.