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Jimmy Ruelas & the Resonator Guitar

Jimmy Ruelas, from Linda Vista, plays a resonator guitar made by National Steel. Those kinds of guitars always sound vaguely out of tune to me, but then, it is old technology that dates back to 1927. Resonator guitars are for the most part those shiny metal acoustic instruments that are often played with a slide. They were built not to be out of tune but to sound loud in the era before amplifiers were invented. Generally, music historians, vintage romantics, or blues men use them, which pegs Ruelas as a throwback himself, but he’s not. If anything, Ruelas is the indie rocker of the current resonator guitar generation. And although I’ve never been to one of his performances, I suspect that he sounds a lot like a tent revival, especially when he leaves the stage and caroms around an audience, sing-yelling and mashing out chords on that old National Steel. It’s a high-energy gig.

Past Event

Jimmy Ruelas

  • Saturday, March 29, 2014, 8 p.m.
  • Seven Grand, 3054 University Avenue, San Diego

Ruelas once said that musical inspiration not only comes to him from ancient recordings but from character studies of “broke and bent people singing songs about how good life can be and how fucked it is the rest of the time.”

For the most part, he performs alone and he’s not especially well known here. He has busked in Europe and last year he self-released his first CD, I Shall Not Be Moved. He’s a clever writer. If I had to corral his stuff into a reader-friendly genre, I’d say the record is an alt-country blues collection. But with Tom Waits’s sense of humor and reveal and standard Blind Lemon Jefferson turnarounds. Lou Curtiss, owner of Folk Arts Rare Records, called Ruelas a cross between Kurt Weill and Son House. But I’d say don’t fixate on the bluesy image; I think the old guitar is a tool that opened a door in his head and allowed Ruelas’s imagination to ramble.

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Jimmy Ruelas, from Linda Vista, plays a resonator guitar made by National Steel. Those kinds of guitars always sound vaguely out of tune to me, but then, it is old technology that dates back to 1927. Resonator guitars are for the most part those shiny metal acoustic instruments that are often played with a slide. They were built not to be out of tune but to sound loud in the era before amplifiers were invented. Generally, music historians, vintage romantics, or blues men use them, which pegs Ruelas as a throwback himself, but he’s not. If anything, Ruelas is the indie rocker of the current resonator guitar generation. And although I’ve never been to one of his performances, I suspect that he sounds a lot like a tent revival, especially when he leaves the stage and caroms around an audience, sing-yelling and mashing out chords on that old National Steel. It’s a high-energy gig.

Past Event

Jimmy Ruelas

  • Saturday, March 29, 2014, 8 p.m.
  • Seven Grand, 3054 University Avenue, San Diego

Ruelas once said that musical inspiration not only comes to him from ancient recordings but from character studies of “broke and bent people singing songs about how good life can be and how fucked it is the rest of the time.”

For the most part, he performs alone and he’s not especially well known here. He has busked in Europe and last year he self-released his first CD, I Shall Not Be Moved. He’s a clever writer. If I had to corral his stuff into a reader-friendly genre, I’d say the record is an alt-country blues collection. But with Tom Waits’s sense of humor and reveal and standard Blind Lemon Jefferson turnarounds. Lou Curtiss, owner of Folk Arts Rare Records, called Ruelas a cross between Kurt Weill and Son House. But I’d say don’t fixate on the bluesy image; I think the old guitar is a tool that opened a door in his head and allowed Ruelas’s imagination to ramble.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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