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Dirty-South Blues Harp forum: wail on! > AGT Harmonica Brothers, Must see!
AGT Harmonica Brothers, Must see!
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966 posts
Jul 01, 2020
11:43 AM
Worth checking out for sure!

Search Youtube Brothers Gage surprise the judges.

Some reason I couldn't post the link?
2831 posts
Jul 01, 2020
7:17 PM
Well Choreographed!
6728 posts
Jul 01, 2020
7:47 PM
Funny. Winslow said that when he performed with Tin Sandwich group auditioning for AGT, Simon Cowell* remarked something like 'at the end of the day, harmonica is just an annoying instrument'. (*actually it was Howard Stern, not SC, as WY points out in a post further down this thread)

You can bet that if WY was involved, the presentation would have been a lot more musically sophisticated than what i saw SC praising here, but i'm also pretty sure that musical sophistication is not the basis on which judging decisions on AGT are made.

Harmonica has such a bad reputation. these fellows are not the worst i've heard but personally i would not sit through, or even stand through, much of this sort of thing before i left the room. Thats just about my taste of course, not a judgement

Last Edited by SuperBee on Jul 22, 2020 3:15 PM
967 posts
Jul 02, 2020
5:12 AM
For me it was all about showing that the harmonica is not just an annoying noise maker.
Their young, but they got knowledge of the harp and can play.

Hopefully it will inspire the younger generation

My guess is their next appearance will be better choreographed.
227 posts
Jul 02, 2020
5:58 AM
I was not impressed with their playing but was impressed by their youthful enthusiasm. I think the way to knock out the judges in this kind of setting would be to play classical music similar to what Buddy Greene did at the Grand Ole Opry.
Wailing ptarmigan
19 posts
Jul 02, 2020
7:36 AM
The performance was what AGT seems to like - youthful, some back story etc, however the actual playing was a bit uninspired. The best thing about harp is how it can be an extension of the voice and/or grab you by the guts. This performance did neither, but then this TV show is not known for musical inspiration, though I did see an amazing r&B/soul singer a few weeks ago that really gave me the goosebumps.
2140 posts
Jul 02, 2020
9:45 AM
I have heard superior harmonica played by some local players, though I have also encountered playing in various places that is not up to their skill level.

I am not a fan of the stereotypical in-and-out chord chugging heard sometimes in their performance, but some listeners enjoy that approach. I thought I heard a little Ozark Mountain Daredevil style of playing in there. There were some good lead parts. They swapped harps to modulate, which shows some skill. Some players find that difficult...

I am not a fan of backing tracks except for practice, not in live performance, but I understand the use of a self produced track in this setting.

I would enjoy this as a one-off harmonica centered song at a gig they were playing, but they would have to bring more music to the show for me to stay for more than a few songs.

In the end AGT seems to focus on entertainment value, and they entertained and had a lot of energy. Maybe their other musical playing and singing skills will help them continue on AGT.

Doug S.
593 posts
Jul 02, 2020
10:33 AM
I don't like posting negativity but,

This act and the guy from Italy, did nothing for me. Certainly not bad playing, but a bit "TOO CUTE".

"Closets full of harmonica's"
---Id rather listen to the person playing on the corner for tips. Hoping they can afford to buy a decent harp.

The general public can be fooled by;
1] the fact that yr a famous actor and play harp
2] Jumping around stage
3] making intense faces and dramatic hand motions

I'd rathur watch "John Lee Hooker" vamp on 1 chord through an entire song, knowing;
He paid his dues to get there and
He lived it.

Jump around all u want. but the playing should be up to the hype. MANY times its not
968 posts
Jul 02, 2020
10:46 AM
Wow, tough crowd! I think many are not seeing the positive side. Anything that could inspire young people and show harmonica in a positive way is a win win in my book.

Maybe Adam will jump in? I'm curious what he thinks.
597 posts
Jul 02, 2020
11:20 AM
Thats true as well hopefully it will inspire----I'd rather be positive than negative-----usually keep my negative things to myself, as I myself am not the shiniest apple that fell from the tree,
241 posts
Jul 02, 2020
11:58 AM
What an encouraging group...15 and a 17 year old getting roasted on a harp page
2142 posts
Jul 02, 2020
2:46 PM
I hope I didn't sound too negative about them above. I certainly did not intend to "roast" their performance.

They played a good segment and there were some cool lines played! They are young and DID set a good example for harmonica for young people. They were entertaining.

On a world stage like AGT I expected that I would be blown away by the level of any of the performances. I don't watch AGT, so maybe I didn't understand the expectations for their performance.

Some performances at SPAH blow me away, but not all, even some acts that are playing far above my level of skill.

"I myself am not the shiniest apple that fell from the tree"

I would certainly apply this principal to me and my playing. I have a workman's approach to my performances and do what I do the best I am able...

I would not consider competing on any widely televised performance competition doing anything.

Doug S.
837 posts
Jul 02, 2020
2:56 PM
>>What an encouraging group...15 and a 17 year old getting roasted on a harp page

Yeah, very disappointing to see.
They could have played any instrument it seems, but they chose to go with harp.
More power to them.

Paul Cohen aka Komuso Tokugawa
HarpNinja - Learn Harmonica Faster
Komuso's Music Website

Last Edited by Komuso on Jul 02, 2020 2:57 PM
3240 posts
Jul 02, 2020
3:09 PM
At 17 I had just barely begun to try to strive to learn to do something- ANYthing- on a harp. I am also at best a 2 trick pony- harp and vocals. I guess I could squeeze on more trick out since I've written some songs and gotten them recorded.

Those guys showed some courage to bring harps out and not the several other instruments they play. It was good play off of each other and they wrote a good piece there.
I generally don't watch the talent shows on networks mostly because I don't like the sort of achievement mill mentality I see there. Guy like Taylor Hicks wins Idol some years ago and is instantly on a production line with tours and big expectations to produce hit songs. But maybe I'm mistaken, those 2 brothers could use the attention they've gotten to further a fulfilling music career.

As for Snowman's jumping around comment I can relate. I used to be a jumper on stage and at one point saw people pointing at me and laughing at my antics, and not in a nice way. I dialed it back. For the past 12 years or more I've sat on a chair to play and sing since my partner has to sit to play guitar. In a way it's made a big difference. People respond to the music much more, or sometimes they don't. But to me it's much closer to the bone.
Music and travel destroy prejudice.




6734 posts
Jul 02, 2020
5:16 PM
No need to spread it quite so thick fellas.
No one is being roasted or asking for ‘encouragement’ here.
These young men have not posted a video and asked for feedback.
Nor are they being ridiculed or even criticized.
The majority of comments which could even be construed as mildly negative are really in contrast to the expectation created in the thread title “Must see!”
10280 posts
Jul 02, 2020
6:47 PM
I'm wondering a bit about how much 'modern' people are embracing here. Once upon a time if you wanted to listen to music you had to find a musician to play it for you, then came wax cylinders, then records and then tapes, CDs, MP3 players... now music is the background sound that is constantly playing in the background.

You also have the whole musical literacy thing. The more music education you have the more complex music you are likely to enjoy. Most people aren't musicians. When I listen to these two what I hear is something that people will listen to. It's got enough rhythm to stop your foot too.

In a longer performance maybe they'd develop the themes more, but they needed a quick hook for a short performance.

In other words, I suspect they are going to connect with a young, hip audience better than most of us (myself included), even if they don't wow us with their technique.

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First Post- May 8, 2009
3241 posts
Jul 02, 2020
9:09 PM
Nate said- "In other words, I suspect they are going to connect with a young, hip audience better than most of us (myself included), even if they don't wow us with their technique."

And who is to say that they will not help in a big way to carry the torch of live music to the next occupants of the cafes and joints and halls?
Music and travel destroy prejudice.




2832 posts
Jul 02, 2020
10:51 PM
I wonder if these lads are related to Dan Gage . . .
969 posts
Jul 02, 2020
11:04 PM
I made the mistake thinking most would appreciate something fresh.

I forgot I was dealing with a bunch of grumpy old farts.
102 posts
Jul 03, 2020
8:06 AM
I did appreciate it, a couple of kids having fun by far the best AGT harmonica act yet.
184 posts
Jul 03, 2020
9:31 AM
I'm not going to bust on the boys, I'm going to bust on Simon Cowell for his look of total disdain when the boys said "harmonica." Obviously he's never seen the likes of top-notch players and what the instrument can do. I guess that reflects the attitude of the general population who can only picture Chuck wagon Pete sitting around the campfire with his tin sandwich chugging out an old cowboy favorite. Sad...and annoying when there are so many talented harp players creating phenomenal music.
970 posts
Jul 03, 2020
10:52 AM
Raven you said it all! I think the whole panel felt the way Simon did.

This is why I thought it was good advertisement for the harmonica.

FYI, I just turned 59, so I'm an old fart myself. Just trying to not be so grumpy.
228 posts
Jul 03, 2020
12:36 PM
LD Miller was on this show when he was really young, maybe 13. I think he made the semis or maybe better.
357 posts
Jul 03, 2020
12:55 PM
Gnarly - the lads are Dave Gage’s offspring

2145 posts
Jul 03, 2020
4:18 PM
I have listened to it a few times more and it is growing on me. I should have slowed down and not posted until I had listened more and understood the context of the performance. I think I had incorrect expectations about their performance on the show.

Taken in the context of being a quick harp sampler for the brothers to show musical skills, versatility, and showmanship to the judges, it is pretty effective. There is some pretty sophisticated and challenging playing going on in the lead parts. The sections of the piece seem a little disjointed to me, but when you try to show a lot in one brief song, that can happen.

I guess I DO want to hear more music from them.

If there are more interesting clips from them on AGT, please post them. I don't want to start watching the whole show.

Doug S.
2833 posts
Jul 03, 2020
10:10 PM
@Sundancer Well, that makes sense!

So yeah, we would be well served to give these guys our support. They are part of our tribe.
1519 posts
Jul 08, 2020
7:54 AM
I watched the video. Here’s my take. Collectively, we are a bunch of harmonica snobs. That’s not a slight. That’s a term of endearment. We are people who pour a lot of our energy into the harmonica. We know more about the instrument, how to play, theory, gear -you name it. And not the least of all – we have been exposed to world class talent. It is hard to measure up to our Harmonica Heros. It is one of the reasons why, even though I have been playing for almost 50 years, I don’t post videos of myself playing. I am humbled by the people who are mega-talented.

Assuming they stick with the instrument, these two young men will one day look at this video and cringe. They will get better. But for now, it was a good story. They are very nice-looking kinds, respectful, well-spoke and enthusiastic about the harmonica. The audience enjoyed them. The judges were kind to them. We all know that they have zero chance of winning, but they got their five minutes of fame. That’s cool. Did it help “Our Cause” – the mission we all share to have the harmonica treated with respect and as a serious musical instrument? Probably did more good than harm. Maybe some other kids will be inspired to take up the instrument. Maybe someone with a little more experience will be encouraged to get up on AGT and show the world what the harmonica is really all about. I’m not sure what the qualifications are to be on AGT. There must be some sort of restrictions against professional musicians competing otherwise we would see more established artists than unknowns.

Tom Halchak
Blue Moon Harmonicas
Blue Moon Harmonicas
108 posts
Jul 08, 2020
9:42 AM
I watched the video expecting to see two clowns in spandex leotards leaping around in fright wigs. What I saw was two polite, presentable guys skillfully delivering a piece of music that was completely appropriate for AGT.

As John Lee Hooker was invoked earlier, can you imagine the savaging he'd get on AGT?
"You're just going to sit there?" "Quit mumbling!" "Can't you count to twelve? That was a thirteen and a half bar verse!" "It doesn't even rhyme!"
1696 posts
Jul 16, 2020
9:34 PM
One thing to be aware of - a first-time performer on AGT has 90 seconds and no more to play their piece. You don't have time to develop much in that amount of time.

I managed to shoehorn the salient bits of Heart's "Barracuda" and the opening theme to "The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly" into Tin Sandwich's audition piece, and then GBU (again, at the producer's insistence) and "All About That Bass" (with brief bass harmonica solo) into 90 seconds for our on-camera appearance.

And it was Howard Stern, not Simon Cowell, who made that remark about the harmonica being an annoying instrument. Cowell wasn't on the panel at the time; it was Stern, Heidi Klum, Victoria Beckham (aka Ginger Spice) and Howie Mandel.

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Last Edited by WinslowYerxa on Jul 16, 2020 9:39 PM
599 posts
Jul 16, 2020
10:14 PM
C'mon these endless 'talent' shows are a PITA(ss).
The judges aren't musicians nor "Talents' themselves.
They are just 'Celebrities'(whom most of i personally have never even heard of)

Their 'OMG' over the top reactions are always followed by the camera focusing on Simons Doubting look.(Hey we have build tension)
Down here in NZ the TV weather reporter is a 'Celebrity'going by the reaction when he came into a restaurant we were in.People were straight onto their
Cellphones saying OMG guess who has just come into the restaurant!!

It is junk television personified.
186 posts
Jul 22, 2020
1:15 PM
Right on the money, Indigo! And that's why I refuse to watch any of the singing, dancing, or so-called talent shows of today's TV. Everything has to fit into the mold and forced into the time slot. It's much the same way the boy bands, the girl groups and the Nashville stars are created. You can have all the talent in the world, but today's entertainment is all about the "packaging." Anybody remember watching Ted Mack's Original Amateur Hour back in the fifties? Probably most of us old goats do. A crosscut hand saw and a violin bow got you a spot. Used to enjoy watching Jerry Murad's Harmonicats back then.

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