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About Josh Smith's Blue Highways
Interactive Video Masterclass for Blues Rhythm & Lead Guitar
”When most kids his age were learning to finger paint, Connecticut-born Josh Smith received his first guitar at three and was fed a fret-board feast of blues records by Muddy Waters, Albert King, and T-Bone Walker, thanks to his father’s music collection. The child prodigy’s first album at age 14 (Born Under a Blue Sign) followed eight years later. Now 38, with 15 years of experience on the LA studio scene, and eight studio albums under his belt, Smith is considered one of the most respected blues guitarists in the business.”

At 12 years old, Josh Smith was already playing out at blues jams in South Florida. At 14, he was the lead guitarist in The Rhino Cats, the house band at Club M sitting in with the likes of Jimmy Thackery, Tinsley Ellis, Kenny Neal, Lucky Peterson, Matt “Guitar” Murphy, Johnny “Clyde” Copeland, Double Trouble, and other top artists playing the venue. Today, Josh “continues to forge his legacy as one of the most vibrant, versatile, and sought-after players in all of contemporary blues.”

We’re thrilled to welcome Josh to the family with his first TrueFire course, Blue Highways. You will likewise be thrilled as you join Josh on this multi-faceted, highly engaging blues learning journey.

”I’ve been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to play and record professionally from a very young age, and to do so with so many great musicians, across so many diverse styles. These experiences helped me develop my own sound, which while rooted in the blues, is also heavily influenced by jazz, country, rock and pretty much everything in-between.”

Josh organized Blue Highways into two sections. In the first section, he passes on 11 key concepts and techniques that comprise his singular style and approach to blues guitar: The Basics, Phrasing and Time, Honoring and Disregarding Heroes, Roadmaps, Goals for Blues, Working Towards Goals, Exploring Outside The Pentatonic, Melodic Minor, Rhythm Approaches, The Right Hand, Building a Vocabulary, and Your Personal Style.

”Finding your own personal style as a soloist should be your goal early on. All of the key concepts and approaches in Blue Highways will help you find what makes you “you.” We’ll talk about the head, the hand, and the heart. These are the building blocks and basics needed for building your skill as an improviser: knowledge, technique, and soul!

I’ll show you ways to get outside the pentatonic box and start adding new ideas to your improvisations. We’ll examine phrasing and time, which I think is what separates a good player from a great player — critical elements in telling your story as an improviser.

Rhythm is the most overlooked but important aspect of music and guitar playing. It's hard to play anything if you can't play good rhythm. I’ll demonstrate a variety of versatile and economical shapes, which help make your rhythm playing sound great.”

In the second section of the Blue Highways, you’ll play your way through a series of 8 soloing performance studies, across a variety of blues feels, keys, and tempos. Josh will overview the backing track and feel, and then solo over the track. After the performance, Josh breaks down the solo emphasizing the approaches and techniques in play.

Minor Funk in D
”This minor funk track in D features an eight note pulse and a dominant 4 and 5 chord, but a minor 1 chord. I'm digging in hard and using many of the ideas that we talked about in the first section of the course.”

Walkin' Shuffle in A
”A good old school walking bass line shuffle in A. This is an essential groove to be comfortable soloing over! Let’s get our BB King on and lay hard into the shuffle! I’ll break down some of my thinking on this shuffle. In this performance study, we’ll move from a traditional approach to more of my own style halfway through.”

Slow Blues Eb
”A slow blues in a tough key of Eb to not only working on feeling and expression but work on being comfortable all over the neck. In this performance study, I'm showing you how to solo on a slow blues and how to deal with keys that aren't always immediately comfortable. The idea here is to be as direct as I can possibly be. Feeling comfortable in Eb all over the neck is something to work towards.”

Nola Bb
”This performance study is a syncopated New Orleans style groove in Bb. Syncopated grooves create so many rhythmic possibilities. Really work your way in and out of the groove/beat. Dig the way I’m pushing and pulling the time. Play from the heart here, playing what you really hear and feel. We’ll be moving in and out of the beat over this syncopated groove.”

Garage Blues in E
”Garage blues is like a 2 beat. You can impart country feels and hybrid picking here in this performance study. I'm really laying into this 2 beat, using hybrid picking and a real rhythmic approach. Lots of double-stops, trills, open strings, etc. This shows a whole other side of my playing - dig in on the double-stops and hybrid picking!”

Rockin' Blues in A
”We’ll have some fun on this performance study! I'm rocking out on the strat with a fuzz. Sometimes it's OK to just let it all fly. We’ll talk about how tone and gear inform your playing and how to approach soloing over a heavy rock blues track. Let it all go here!”

Ray Slow Blues in A
”Blues with changes baby! This is in the style of Ray Charles. These are Gospel type RC style changes. Listen and go slow, feel it. I'm really trying to highlight the chords here and play like a singer or horn player would. These changes are essential to blues and soul music. Make them changes!”

Bb Jump Blues
”A good old fashioned swing in Bb — my favorite! We’ll take a look at how to approach soloing over a jump blues in Bb. There are lots of things happening here, but don't be afraid to just play the blues. Work those chromatics, turnarounds and diminished licks!”

Josh will explain and demonstrate all of the key concepts and approaches along the way. You’ll get standard notation and tabs for each of the performances. Plus, Josh includes all of the backing tracks for you to work with on your own. In addition, you’ll be able to loop or slow down any of the videos so that you can work with the lessons at your own pace.

Grab your guitar and let’s head down the ‘highway’ with Josh Smith!

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