Episode 81: Dave Gleason
Air date: 6.5.2013
Along with Les Paul, Leo Fender is widely known to be one of the two fathers of the modern electric guitar. Leo's Stratocaster model, still made today by the company that bears his name, is one of the most iconic designs in music history. But before the venerable Strat, Fender created the Esquire, which later changed names to the Broadcaster and eventually the Telecaster. Over the decades, this elegant but utilitarian block of wood and metal has become the standard issue instrument for country guitar players - so much so that hot country guitar players are commonly referred to as "Tele pickers." Dave Gleason is just this sort of picker who exemplifies today's brand of amped up, anti-establishment country with both style and substance. But there is more to this story - in the late 1960s, a couple musicians and tinkerers figured out a way to modify the Telecaster by routing out the backs of the instrument and installing a set of springs and levers that would allow players to bend strings and faithfully reproduce the lonesome, weepier pedal steely-style licks that are the hallmark of country and western music. With this invention, the B-bender Tele was born and with it a whole new style of playing. Gleason also is adept at this rare kind of Tele picking, and that puts him in high demand by country bands and audiences alike. He has a handful of solid albums that feature his writing and playing and he's always busy onstage. So, get out and see Dave Gleason play - and don't let that tear fall in your beer as you get up to hit the dance floor.