Gregor Hilden Plays the YouTube Blues

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:

Greg –

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.

Thanks!

db

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.

18 comments

  • You had me, of course, at teddy bear microphone stand. Kidding! I do love the stand but the music speaks for itself and is superb! Great music — thanks for the find, David!

    • I knew you’d love the Teddy Bear, Gordon! Everyone does. SMILE! It’s such a surprise when you first see it. Greg has a simple setup, but the camera work and the sound he gets for those YouTube videos is incredible and rich and deep. You feel like you’re right there in the living room with him.

  • Thank you for introducing us to Gregor. I love his music so much. The teddy bear is sure the cutest thing. I’m off now to buy the Blue in Red CD.

    • Right on, Anne! What I love most about Greg is that he’s a “Les Paul” guy and he’s singlehandedly bringing back the Blues every single day to that guitar. It’s a righteous effort!

  • Pingback: Strings Saga, Part Twenty: Back to Eleven | Boles Blues

  • Pingback: The Gibson Historic All Gold 1956 Les Paul Gloss Review | Boles Blues

  • Pingback: Dunlop Delrin 2.0mm Pick Review | Boles Blues

  • David, Gregor and his band are fantastic. If you haven’t already, buy his Live at Luna DVD and you can see Gregor and his great band in action. It’s too bad Gregor and his group don’t come to North America! But, his DVD is the next best thing. In fact, with the DVD we can have Gregor and his friends right on the big screen in our living rooms.

    • I don’t see that DVD for sale on iTunes. Where can one buy the concert?

      • Sorry about that. I looked everywhere for it and finally found it at Amazon UK. It was 18 Euros including shipping (about $28 US). I think it may only be available in Europe. If you don’t see it on Amazon perhaps it’s available on Gregor’s website. I sure hope you can get it as it is outstanding.

        • Thanks for the extra information. My concern is that if it’s a UK-only DVD, I wouldn’t be able to play it in my “region limited” DVD player here in the USA.

          • It works perfectly in my DVD player which is a Samsung. It’s not HD though. I think DVD has been standardized for several years now. I’m in Vancouver, BC, but I think our DVD players are the same as yours…they’re all made in China anyway, hence my notion of universality in the DVD market.

            Anyway, the site I bought it from was Amazon.co.uk. I ordered it on a Thursday and it was in my mailbox within a week. The DVD is called “Gregor Hilden – Live at the Luna Bar”. Gregor’s German band is fronted on a dozen songs (all written by Gregor) by fabulous American or English blues singers. By the way, another fantastic DVD is Eric’s “Sessions for Robert J”.

            Another “by the way”…you have a great website! I’ve just been watching the Mike Bloomfield docs…awesome, thanks so much. And while I’m at it, I read your note about D’Addario strings. I’ve used them for 10 or 20 years but recently switched to Elixrs; they’re awesome too.

          • Here’s more information on DVD regional restrictions:

            http://hometheater.about.com/cs/dvdlaserdisc/a/aaregioncodesa.htm

            I’m a big Greg fan — and I want to watch that concert! SMILE!

            It’s great to have you as a reader here. We appreciate your eyes and your comments!

            I love Bloomfield. His playing is inspired.

            I’m big into the Jazz sound now — archtops and all — so I’m exclusively using the Thomastik-Infeld Benson 114s on all my guitars.

  • Hi David, I just had a look on the DVD package, after looking at the regional restrictions site that you sent, and it says “Region Free”. So you’ll be fine with the purchase from amazon. The DVD package also mentions that the DVD is produced by Acoustic Music Records and is order number DVD 4009 from http://www.acoustic-music.de. All the best, Don.

  • Way to go David!!

    Have a look at Gregor’s LP. It once had three pickups! It’s so interesting seeing the greats with their guitars and the various idiosyncrasies they often possess.

    • Yes, it’s a great guitar. He has great taste in musical instruments. My favorite YouTube videos are the demos from his personal collection that are not for sale.

      Do a YouTube search for “Hilden Hot Jazz Club” and you’ll get some really great concert videos that Greg himself put online!

      Here’s a taste of that:

  • Pingback: The 1998 Gibson Custom L5 CES and Archtop.com Review | Boles Blues

Share Your Thoughts:

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s