Canadian Musician - May / June 2018 - Page 51

CG: I first picked up the harp guitar after hearing the likes of Michael Hedges, Stephen Bennett, and Andy McKee and mainly because it looked like a guitar from another planet that sounded unlike any instrument I had ever heard! While learning, I got some really good advice from Stephen Ben- nett. He explained that where you would play a bass line on an acoustic guitar on the lower two strings, the harp guitar allows you to have a lower octave of bass note with open strings covering a broader scope of sound and opening up other possibilities that wouldn’t be available on one guitar. This was a turning point in my learning curve and although it took a lot of work to get it down and to eventually learn to sing on top of it, learning “Billie Jean” was definitely the best lesson I’ve ever had in multitasking! CM: Tabula Rasa features a mix of vocal and instrumental tunes. When you’re writing songs or just coming up with new ideas, how do you figure out whether a given mel- ody or progression would lend itself best LONNY EAGLETON to an instrumental track or if vocals would enhance it? CG: Every song is different. Working out all the parts to a guitar arrangement – bass, rhythm, melody – can be very dense on its own, and in this case, I’m able to “say” everything that needs to be said without lyrics. On the contrary, when the musical accompaniment is a little more sparse, it tends to invite a vocal melody on top of the guitar part for a more complete sound altogether. Lyrics tend to be more direct, whereas instrumental music leaves more room for interpretation. have toyed around with. How do you trans- late what you’ve learned on the guitar onto those different but related instruments? Lonny Eagleton is a professional session and touring guitarist who can be heard on countless movie soundracks, TV commercials, studio albums, and singles. He tours regularly with Canadian pop star Shawn Hook and has also shared the stage with Hailee Steinfeld, Vanessa Hudgens, Jimmy Rankin, and many others. CM: Give us a breakdown of your go-to live rig these days. LE: The majority of my touring work lately has been with Shawn Hook, so my current rig is sort of tailored to his music; however, what I use lends itself well to most situations. My main guitar is a Paul Reed Smith, which I use for the majority of the show. In addition to that, I also carry a Les Paul for drop-D tuning as well as a Stratocaster and Telecaster for different tonal flavours. Effects wise, I use a pedalboard with nine boxes: a wah-wah, compressor, tuner, overdrive, fuzz, solo boost, volume, delay, and reverb. So far, I’ve been able to get any sound I need out of that combination, and if I ever need tremolo, I just do it manually with my volume pedal. As far as amps go, I use an Orange AD-30 head, plugged into an Orange PPC212 closed back cabinet. A lot of people tend to associate Orange with metal tones, but they actually deliver a killer clean sound that’s great for pop music. For strings, I use D’Addario NYXL 10-46s on everything. CM: How did you first break into the session world? What were some of your first projects as a “hired gun,” and how have you grown that reputation since? LE: I put a band together with a few of my closest friends [in the seventh grade]. None of us could really play yet, but we would jam all the time, we recorded, we sold merch, and we even booked a few local gigs. After a couple years of this, I got an offer to play as a sideman for a local singer/songwriter and never looked back. That gig opened me up to the world of session work, and I absolutely loved it. It allowed my strengths to shine through in ways that playing in a band never did and made me realize the potential for a career in music as a sideman, which seemed far more attainable than mak- ing it big as a “rock star.” I followed the sideman route hard, taking every gig I could get, hauling my heavy rig on public transit, making sure my living expenses were as low as possible so that I could put all my time into music, hoping that one day I would eventually land a gig with a major artist and get to play high-profile shows. I wanted to tour arenas. I wanted to be in music videos. I wanted to be able to call up my parents and say, “Hey, I’ll be on TV next week if you want to tune in.” One gig led to another, and after several years of hard work in the Vancouver indie scene, I was lucky enough to score the job as Shawn Hook’s new guitarist, which I have kept to this day. We have been fortunate enough to perform on sev- eral international TV shows such as Jimmy Kimmel Live, Today, the MMVAs, twice on The Juno Awards, several large scale tours, platinum-selling singles… It’s truly been a dream come true. CM: How do you make sure you’re staying