Gregor Hilden is one of those Bluesman who — once you hear a single chord he plays — forever owns your sense of what’s good and your definition of what makes The Blues intrinsically real and beautifully human. I’ve never met Greg proper, but I feel as if I’ve known him forever — merely because I drink in his daily GregsGuitars videos on YouTube. Four days ago, I couldn’t bear my secret delight in his talent any longer, and I posted my very first comment on a video in my long history of using YouTube:
Here’s Greg’s YouTube video that spawned my effervescent fawning:
In case you can’t read the tiny text comment in the screenshot, here’s what I said:
You are incredibly gifted. Your videos are the highlight of my day. I see you have several albums on iTunes.
Can you give us an ordered list of which of those albums are most like what you play here?
I’m interested in buying your music, but I want to hear you play The Blues without much else behind you. I want your guitar out front and center.
Here was Greg’s quick and kind reply moments later:
@bolesblues Thanks man, I think you would like the “Blue In Red” CD – “Golden Voice Blues” and “Sweet Rain”
I appreciated Greg’s winnowing down of his three most important albums. Doing an iTunes search on “Gregor Hilden” brings up 12 albums in reply. With Greg’s help, I at least had a solid starting point for appreciating his work beyond YouTube.
I immediately leap onto iTunes and purchased “Blue in Red” — and it is certainly just what I asked for: It’s Greg on YouTube — but in audio only and in a much longer musical format. His playing is great throughout.
My favorite songs are “Blue Clouds” and “More Today Than Yesterday” and, of course, “Blue in Red.”
The next album of Greg’s I bought on iTunes was “Golden Voice Blues” and when I saw that killer Les Paul goldtop on the cover, I knew I was in for a mighty delight. Greg did not disappoint. His playing is smooth and practiced and utterly eventful in the most unexpected moments.
“Gold Voice Blues” rings through your soul while “Late Rent Shuffle” speaks to a lament all too many artists have had to face a few times in their lives. “Earth Blues” also blew me away as a slow and sloggy muddling through of humankind against the elements.
Finally, I bought and downloaded “Sweet Rain” and, it too, is a ripe, Bluesy, nugget.
“The Ghetto” defines the unique groove of the urban core. “Little Funky Thang” brings home a funkified, stinging, bite of life. “’59 Blues Affair” is packed with a terrible and undefinable sadness that you only understand through your own suffering. “Ode to Billy Joe” is a haunting cover of that magnificent Bobbie Gentry classic. The 19-song strong album concludes with a pounding rendition of “Harlem Stomp.”
I highly recommend all of Greg’s albums. You will be pleased with any of the three I reviewed for purchase.
Greg lives in Germany and his current batch of almost 1,200 YouTube videos are captivating because, for a couple of minutes each day, he improvises The Blues for you while demonstrating a wide variety of guitars he has for sale.
If you pay close attention, you can get some great tips on fretboard fingering and picking styles just by watching and letting his music wash over you.
Here’s Greg playing a 90’s Fender Stratocaster. He gets great sound out of a chunk of wood:
Here’s my all-time favorite of Greg’s playing — so far, at least — he’s demoing a 2006 “Tom Murhpy” aged 1959 Gibson Les Paul Historic and the yearning and the sorrow in his playing is just stunning in all of 4:38 of a Pure Blues experience:
If you decide to subscribe to GregsGuitars on YouTube, and hope to one day place a comment on one of his videos, beware of a few things:
1. Don’t ask Greg where he got the Blues backing tracks for his videos. He “doesn’t remember” and I don’t blame him. Keep your proprietary finds to yourself.
2. Don’t ask Greg what sort of nail polish he’s wearing. He isn’t “wearing any” even though it might look like he is… Greg’s light-colored fingernails are perfect for watching his fretboard fingerings, so pipe down about the nail polish, and enjoy the stunning lesson in nimble fingers.
3. Look for the Teddy Bear microphone stand in every video. No GregsGuitars video is complete without one darling shot of that plumpness of goodness and fun!
Gregor Hilden is a SuperGenius SuperStar and he proves it every single day in every YouTube video.
One of the great things about YouTube is in its ability to leaven greatest against the masses — and being able to watch Greg, playing live-on-tape in Germany, every single day with a new guitar — is one of the few pleasures you’ll ever unearth in your daily human longing for a mark of living that sparks you into the next, rising, dark day.