In 50 years of being a musician, the two main threads in my musical life have been American soul music (Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, Booker T. And the M.G.s, Al Green, Sly and the Family Stone, Earth Wind and Fire, all the Motown artists) and English progressive rock (YES, Genesis, Gentle Giant, ELP, Jethro Tull, Moody Blues.)
They may seem like opposites, but to me they’re exactly the same. Beautiful melodies, smart arrangements, hot playing and most importantly, a transcendent spirituality. Put it this way: the notes are cool, but the space between the notes is where God lives. And come to think of it, those two streams certainly have their headwaters in the church, don’t they? American gospel and English high church! What a celebration.
Side note: I also really love those rootsy sounds from the old timey country world. Dobros and Martins. They have such a resonance, both sonically and culturally. Paddle faster if you hear banjos, though.
Side note #2: Oh, yeah, the Beatles!