Leon Russell and Stephen Stills in Concert at Belly Up

| October 11, 2011 | 0 Comments

Stephen Stills, best known for his work with Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, and the first person to ever be inducted twice on the same night into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his work with both bands, makes a rare San Diego appearance in concert at the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach on November 21st. Stills was ranked #28 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s 2003 list of “The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.” Stills is also adept at playing bass, piano, organ, percussion and viola and can play some traps and banjo as well. For the eponymous “Crosby, Stills and Nash” debut album in 1969, fellow band member Graham Nash said about Stills: “Stephen had a vision, and David (Crosby) and I let him run with it.” Amazingly, Stills played every instrumental part on “Crosby, Stills and Nash” with the exception of some guitar by Crosby and Nash, and drums by Dallas Taylor. Musically speaking, the album was a Stephen Stills LP with backing vocals by Crosby and Nash.

Stephen Stills. Photo courtesy of Stephen Stills

From its inception, the band Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young was designed to allow the individual performers great latitude for their solo work, and following the recording of the group’s live LP “Four Way Street,” in late 1970 Stills released his self-titled solo debut. Sparked by the success of the hit single “Love the One You’re With,” the album, which featured cameos from Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton, was another smash, as was his 1971 follow-up “Stephen Stills 2.” In 1972, Stills began performing with a new band, “Manassas,” which featured ex-Byrd and Flying Burrito Brother Chris Hillman; both their self-titled debut and 1973’s “Down the Road” continued Stills’ long string of chart successes.

In 1975, he celebrated his signing to Columbia with “Stills,” followed a year later by “Illegal Stills.” In 1977, Stills reunited with Crosby and Nash for CSN, which sold over four million copies; the following summer the trio mounted an acoustic tour, and Stills issued the solo record “Thoroughfare Gap”. CSN continued their reunion throughout the early years of the next decade, teaming in 1980 for “Replay” and in 1982 for “Daylight Again,” which featured the huge hits “Southern Cross” and “Wasted on the Way.”

Stills’ guitar playing covers the gamut of rock and roll, blues and country music, as well as the simple chordings familiar in folk music. He’s known for his unconventional guitar tunings, especially when he’s playing acoustically. Stills’ playing has shown the influence of his good friend, the late, great Jimi Hendrix. Stills has always been bold and adventurous in his playing, once even soaking guitar strings in barbeque sauce and flipping the pickups on his electric guitar to mimic Hendrix’ playing a right-handed guitar left-handed. Playing his immediately recognizable guitar, a 1958 Gretsch White Falcon led to that company issuing a signature model of the White Falcon, and Martin Guitars also produced a Stephen Stills Signature Acoustic D-45, (which will set you back about $20,000 if you find one for sale.)

Tickets for the Stephen Stills show at Belly Up are $47.00 and can be reserved by going to www.bellyup.com. While you’re there, you might also want to reserve seats for the October 21 appearance of Leon Russell. Cited by Elton John as one of his top influences, Leon Russell played on, produced, arranged, and wrote some of rock and roll’s most successful and important records. George Benson’s cover of “This Masquerade” written by Russell, was the first song in music history to occupy the number one spot on the jazz, pop, and R&B charts. “This Masquerade” was also “Record of the Year” and won Russell a Grammy in 1976. He released four Gold Albums and had a hand in many other chart hits including “Superstar,” and “A Song For You.” Tickets for Leon Russell are $26.00 in advance and $28.00 on the day of the show.

Belly Up, 143 S. Cedros Ave, Solana Beach, CA 92075

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