J. Scott Moore | Longmont, CO USA | 08/06/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Steve James certainly knows how to play the guitar. He may be one of the best players you never heard of...but don't let that stop you from buying this DVD. The songs he covers here aren't the run-of-the-mill standards, which is a nice change from most videos.
Proof that James is a master of technique is evident immediately as he spices up the first song, Sugar Babe. I've been playing this song for a long time and always thought it needed something more, and James showed me how to make it jump a little more. Granted, it's not exactly how Mance Lipscomb played it.
The material does get more challenging as the video goes on, but James presents some really nice turn arounds, again, not typically seen. I should mention that the manufacturer of this DVD rates this as Level 3, Early Intermediate; you have been playing a while and can play without too much difficulty. The instructor still covers the material in detail, but there are more challenges. That's pretty much right off their website.
With that in mind I want to point out that the last two songs on the DVD are slide guitar songs. This really isn't the best video for learning slide guitar if you are a complete novice. James doesn't say it specifically, but he expects the viewer to know the basics of slide guitar. He just breezes through the basics.
The only criticism I have is that James is often squirming in his seat when talking and not playing. His nervous demeanor is distracting, and at times he is so uncomfortable talking that he strums inanely during his explanation of the part he is about to play. All in all, it is a minor thing.
As the title states, this is all about roots and blues and James can teach you a thing or two. Also, if you get a chance to see him live, don't miss it!