It would be oh so tempting to say the music impresario Skip Heller has found his niche with Songs With Memories: Skip Heller and Friends Play Floyd Tillman but with his next recording, more likely than not, he would prove that statement ludicrous. Heller's 2012 Fakebook II: That's Entertainment (Weatherbird) was a sequel to his 2004 recording of standards" Fakebook (Hyena Records), the two bookending a number of recordings documenting Heller's curious musical evolution to where we are now. Fakebook II: That's Entertainment was very much a precursor to the present recording and equally different from the ...read more
Skip HellerFakebook II: That's EntertainmentWeatherbird Records2012 Fred Steven Skip" Heller is one of those musicians with a gravity great enough to create his own universe. He is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger, bandleader, producer and writer with an all-encompassing musical knowledge, interest and vision that is readily witnessed in his All About Jazz column Hardly Strictly Jazz. He is a stylistic moving target playing guitar- organ trio before moving on to Americana and ultimately to being what Jana Pendragon calls, America's most confusing country singer." Whatever Heller might be, he is wholly ...read more
Meet Skip Heller: Grew up in Philly, enticed by all kinds of improvised music--jazz, bluegrass, blues, rockabilly. Played with Yma Sumac, Phil Alvin, Les Baxter, Wanda Jackson, DJ Bonbrake, Cannibal and the Headhunters, NRBQ, Karen Mantler... get the idea?Instrument(s): Guitar.Teachers and/or influences? Mose Allison, Willie Nelson, Bill Evans, John Hartford, Roger Miller, Bacharach/David, Doug Sahm, Hank Jones, The Beatles, Ahmad Jamal, Johnny Mercer, Merle Haggard, War, Bob Wills, Jethro Burns, Bing Crosby, Nick Lowe, Jack Teagarden, Uri Caine. I knew I wanted to be a musician when...read more
Skip HellerFoolish MeWeatherbird Records2012 Fred Skip" Heller is a hip musical polymath from Philadelphia, living on the West Coast, where he burns through musical styles like there is no definition. He has a major, and unapologetic, jones for John Hartford and Roger Miller and an encyclopedic knowledge of American music, of which he continues to be a student, teacher, shaman. Mention any name from anywhere in the history of New World music and Heller will have something to say about it. His personal discography reflects this similarly. Musically, Heller ...read more
Guitarist Fred Skip" Heller has spent much of 2004 to 2009 burning through the American soundscape searching for the the heart of these United States. In 2004, Heller released Fakebook (Hyena). Considered the pinnacle of the guitarist's organ trio period, Fakebook sheltered hints of Heller's musical restlessness in his inspired readings of Grant Green's The Yodel" and Eddie Harris' Cold Duck Time."
Already back to basics, Heller was to distill his vision of American music further with Mean Things Happening In This Land (Ropeadope, 2006) and, before that, Along The Anchorline (Ropeadope, 2004).
Evolving completely out of organ-trio orbit, Heller ...read more
Philadelphia favorite son and Los Angeles uber-musician Fred Skip Heller has been busy since my sighting of him last October at the Arkansas CD & Record Exchange. He was then touring to promote Mean Things Are Happening In This Land, currently available as a digital download at Ropeadope Records. After the Arkansas junket, Heller and his working trio were heading for Memphis, Tennessee. Not just Memphis, Tennessee, but 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee, home of Sun Studio--those fabled four walls that at one time rang with the voices of Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash. The ...read more
Meet Skip: Born and bred in Philly, played bar mitzvahs, weddings, top 40, country and whatever else. Came up in the wake of giants like Uri Caine, Bootsie Barnes, Shirley Scott, and others. Very traditional on some levels, but a full-on cultural expeditionary on any number of levels.Instrument: electric guitar.Teachers and/or influences? Grant Green, Heath Allen, Satchmo, Johnny Hodges, Cannonball, Marc Ribot, Link Wray, Johnny Guitar" Watson, Dave Alvin, Eddie Lang.I knew I wanted to be a musician when... I saw John Hartford on the Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour.Your sound and approach ...read more