Oatmeal, anyone? An Evening with Ottmar Liebert

When my daughter was small, she would refer to Flamenco guitarist, Ottmar Liebert as “Oatmeal”.  “Listening to Oatmeal again, Mom?”  she would ask.

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 10.36.40 AM© Stacy Alexander – 2015

Last night, we were treated to two hours of this graceful guitarist’s skilled execution of some of the most incredible music I have ever heard.  Liebert was joined by bassist, Jon Gagon and percussionist, Chris Steele.  They had definite chemistry, and put on an ideal show in an intimate Portland venue in the Alberta Arts District.

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 10.40.34 AM

© Stacy Alexander

Ottmar Liebert is what guitar playing is all about.  He is in tune with his craft to the point that it seemed, at times, that he and the guitar were one instrument.  He was graceful, and seemed comfortable in his own skin, playing, most of the time, barefoot, with his eyes closed, seemingly oblivious to his surroundings, riding the waves of his own creations.   I believe he was playing a small DeVoe guitar, but it didn’t have any markings on it that I could see, so I’m not certain that is what it was.

Since 1986 Liebert has lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In 1992 he purchased an “alt-ranchette” just outside the city, with an adobe guesthouse he built as a recording studio.  In May 2006 Liebert was ordained as a Zen monk by Dennis Genpo Merzel at the Kanzeon Zen Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.  He had a very strong presence….one of peace and goodness.  Both John and I sensed this immediately as we watched him.

(I couldn’t get the video of Luna Negra to embed.  This video (above) is an earlier performance.)

I have been unable to find a video of Jon Gagnon, his bassist, but will post one here, if i do later.  He  was simply put, rock solid in every way.  Jon had a huge presence and voice on a 4 string fretless which sang like an baritone opera singer…or, at times, a French horn.  I couldn’t figure out what one of his bass instruments was at all it.  The one shown here was huge, and had a EB-like headstock and a body shape of something like a JP and a morsh.   Its  tone was full of mwah, but soulful and crying. The  fretboard was  coated with something shiny. I’d not seen anything like it before.

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 10.54.47 AMThe drummer, Chris Steele, was not to be believed.

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 10.57.15 AMI did find a video of Chris playing, and I encourage you to watch it.  He is truly a unique player, and fantastically talented.

There is a video on YouTube that I couldn’t manage to embed here.  Please look it up.  It is called “Good Drums, Bad Turtleneck” by Chris Steele.  This is the video to watch to really see this man’s talent.  You can find it here:

The Alberta Rose Theater is a sweet little venue….very small and intimate, which was the perfect place to hear a trio such as this.  John and I ate the venue’s delicious  hand pies and sipped Perrier as we basked in the warmth and beauty that these musicians presented to us. We had such a nice evening.   These guys are  true professionals…plain and simple.  They were tight, knew exactly what they were doing, and provided the audience with an amazing show.  ’nuff said.  Well…no….NOT enough said, actually.

As I was sitting there watching these incredible musicians, I though about my dear friend, another musician, and felt so sad that his life has taken the path that it has.  It could have been him up there on that stage last night….but as they say…”When you lie with pigs….”  He has made some not-so-wise choices.   I’ll leave it at that.

Thank you…to my beautiful friend.

A special friend sent me this video this morning.  You can see his reflection in my glasses.

Rene Best musician                                       Rene Best guitarist



















Rene Best musician

50 Top Guitar Solos – What are YOUR top 50?



This whole thing is subjective….but here are my personal top 50….guitarists.  I am, of course, omitting one for reasons I cannot state herein…   🙂

1 – Texas Flood – Stevie Ray Vaughan

2 – All Along the Watch Tower – Jimi Hendrix

3 – Hotel California – Don Felder, Joe Walsh (The Eagles)

4 – Comfortably Numb – David Gilmour (Pink Floyd)

5 – Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers – Jeff Beck

6 – Bohemian Rhapsody – Brian May (Queen)

7 – One – Kirk Hammet (Metallica)

8 – Stairway to heaven – Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin)

9 – November rain – Slash (Guns ‘n Roses)

10 – Sweet child o mine – Guns ‘n roses (Slash)

11 – Voodoo Child (Slight Return) – Jimi Hendrix

12 – Johnny B. Goode – Chuck Berry

13 – Eruption – Eddie van Halen

14 – Always with you, always with me – Joe Satriani

15 – Little Wing – Jimi Hendrix

16 – Heartbreaker – Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin)                      Rene Best musician

17 – Layla – Eric Clapton, Duane Allman

18 – Cliffs of Dover – Eric Johnson

19 – Scar Tissue – John Frusciante (Red Hot Chili Peppers)

20 – Guitar Boogie – Tommy Emmanuel

21 – Free Bird – Allen Collins, Gary Rossington (Lynyrd Skynyrd)

22 – Sultans of Swing – Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits)

23 – Symphonie of Destruction – (Marty Friedman, Dave Mustaine (Megadeth)

24 – Flight Of The Wounded Bumblebee – Nuno Bettencourt (Extreme)

25 – Reelin’ in the Years – Elliott Randall (Steely Dan)                   Rene Best musician

26 – Highway 61 revisited – Johnny Winter

27 – Pride and Joy – Stevie ray Vaughan

28 – For the love of god – Steve Vai

29 – Surfing with the Alien – Joe Satriani

30 – Asturias – John Williams (Isaac Albeniz)

31 – Blues deluxe – John Joe Bonamassa

32 – The Thrill is gone – B.B. King

33 – Paranoid Android – Radiohead – Jonny Greenwood

34 – Covered in rain – John Mayer

35 – Mr. Crowley – Ozzy Osbourne (Randy Rhoads)

36 – Black Star – Yngwie Malmsteen

37 – Mediterranean sundance – Al Di Meola, Paco De Lucia, John McLaughlin

38 – Whole lotta love – Jimmy page (Led Zeppelin)

39 – Satch Boogie – Joe Satriani

40 – Get the funk out – Extreme (Nuno Bettencourt)

41 – Beat It – Michael Jackson (Eddie van Halen)

42 – Jerry’s Breakdown – Chet Atkins & Jerry Reed

43 – Floods – Pantera (Dime Bag Darrel)

44 – Alive – Pearl jam – Mike McCready

45 – Minor swing – Django Reinhardt

46 – Tender surrender – Steve Vai

47 – Jessica – Dickey Betts

48 – Sympathy for the Devil – Keith Richards (Rolling Stones)

49 – No More Tears – Zakk Wylde (Ozzy Osbourne)

50 – Know your enemy – Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine)

And there you have it!  My top 50 favorite guitarists!                            Rene Best musician

smiling stacy

Rene Best musician….Rene Best guitarist

Back in the Studio!

Finally! A chance to get started on my guitar installation!!!  Updates soon!